2014 Jeep Cherokee Review: A Most Surprising Road Test

2014 Jeep Cherokee Review 1

I recently had the opportunity to road test the 2014 Jeep Cherokee.  Sometimes when I test a car, it turns out to be more or less what I expected.  For example, I knew the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray was going to blow me away.  And, surprise, surprise, it did.  But, there are other times when I’m caught off-guard.  Times when I fully expect a car to be lackluster, only to be proven woefully incorrect.  The road test of the brand spankin’ new 2014 Jeep Cherokee was one of those times.

 

The first time Jeep put the Cherokee name on an SUV was in 1974.  That go-round of the Jeep Cherokee held on until the bitter end in 2001 when Jeep replaced the long-standing Cherokee badge with the sad little Jeep Liberty (which, thankfully, has since gone to the great Fiat-Chrysler-Jeep dealership in the sky).  That first Cherokee was a really good SUV.  It was a capable, relatively inexpensive and dependable car for those who didn’t want a massive SUV like the Chevy Suburban and couldn’t afford a luxo like the Grand Cherokee, Land Rover or G-Wagen.  So, there are some pretty big off-road tires to fill.  Is the young Cherokee upstart up for the task?  Well, that’s what this 2014 Jeep Cherokee review aimed to find out.

2014 Jeep Cherokee Review 2

Before climbing into the car for my 2014 Jeep Cherokee review, I took a slow lap around it.  Taking the time to take in the most radically designed SUV in Jeep’s line-up.  Yes, it does have Jeep’s trademarked seven grill slots (one for each continent, BTW).  Yes, the 2014 Jeep Cherokee is “Trail Rated”.  And, yes it has an imminently capable four-wheel-drive system.  But, just by looking at it, the new Cherokee doesn’t exactly scream “Jeep”.  In fact, a lot of people I’ve spoken with say it actually screams “ugly”.

 

Actually, I was one of those people (I speak to myself with some frequency… Don’t judge).  When I first saw the 2014 Jeep Cherokee, I thought it was hideous.  But, you know what?  It has since grown on me.  I am now firmly to the point that I actually kinda like the squinty-eyed headlights and pointed duckbill-like nose.  It still looks nothing a Jeep, but I don’t think it looks bad.  Maybe my newly found appreciation of it’s concept-car looking, futuristic design is caused in part by the way the 2014 Jeep Cherokee drives.

2014 Jeep Cherokee Review 4

Like I said, prior to my 2014 Jeep Cherokee review test drive, I wasn’t expecting much.  I thought Jeep’s newest SUV was a Cherokee in name only and would turn out to be some bubblegum pop version of a real Jeep.  Boy, was I wrong.

 

My test car was a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder MultiAir (straight from Fiat) Granite Crystial Metallic gray 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited 4×4 with Morocco Black leather interior, a 9-Speed Transmission with Jeep Active Drive II, 18-inch shiny aluminum wheels, dual-pane panoramic sunroof, nav system, crazy amounts of apps and pretty much every conceivable gadget and gizmo.  As a matter of fact the sticker on the test Cherokee was $37,820, a far cry from the $22,995 base price.  Let’s just say it was loaded.  I didn’t really drive it long enough to test all of the gizmos, so I focused on actually driving the vehicle.

2014 Jeep Cherokee Review 5

Like I said for this 2014 Jeep Cherokee review, I drove a car equipped with the 184 horse and 171 pound-feet 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder (aka the Fiat MultiAir Tigershark).  For my first preconception, I thought the 2.4-liter wouldn’t have enough grunt to get the nearly two-ton SUV moving with any sort of exigency.  Yeah… so wasn’t right on that one.

 

While no one would call the 2.4-liter 2014 Jeep Cherokee fast, it was surprisingly sprightly, much more so than it’s 8.9 second 0 to 60 mph time would suggest.  I would imagine the nine-speed automatic transmission and 171 pound-feet of torque has something to do with that.  My second preconception was also erroneous.  On learning the new Cherokee had a nine-speed trans, I was expecting to feel the car constantly shifting, ever seeking the correct gear but never finding it.

2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited

Wrong again.  Flooring the go-pedal from a dead stop did create some fairly jarring up-shifts.  And, accelerating mid-stream (say from 50 to 70) did cause a few jerky down-shifts.  No surprise there.  But, it was the shifting during normal driving that caught me off guard.  Yeah, the 2014 Jeep Cherokee was constantly shifting.  But, it was doing so unobtrusively and intelligently.  Each shift was timed to maximize power, torque and fuel efficiency.  If I had to manually shift a nine-speed transmission, I drive myself nuts.  The automatic, however, did a brilliant job of it.

 

The one thing I guessed right about before the 2014 Jeep Cherokee review test drive had to do with the suspension and ride.  Jeep has done a fantastic job of late building chassis and suspension setups that cope well on- and off-road.  And, I expected as much from the new Cherokee.  Let’s be honest, 99.999999 percent of people won’t be doing any real off-roading in this car.  The 4×4 is there mostly for snow, flooding or all around crappy weather.

2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited

That’s a good thing, since cars actually setup for real off-roading suck on roads.  Driving around Miami, the 2014 Jeep Cherokee coped impressively well transitioning from potholes to construction to smooth tarmac.  The ride was smooth without being boat-like and just firm enough to give you confidence that you won’t flip the thing.  I’m sure that if you took the Cherokee mudding, it would do just as well.  But, I haven’t had the opportunity to get one muddy yet; though I’d like to.

 

Inside, the 2014 Jeep Cherokee is quite lovely.  The black leather seats were very comfortable and the overall trim of the interior was really quite nice.  Initially, I was surprised by the quality of the interior, but the thing has a nearly $38k price tag, so it better have a nice interior.

2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited

So, the result of my 2014 Jeep Cherokee review… I like it, a lot more than I thought I would.  Keep the option list to a minimum and you could walk out of the Jeep dealer with a fully capable, nice driving and roomy 4×4 SUV.  Go crazy with the options list, and you’ll get a fully capable, nice driving and roomy 4×4 SUV with enough technology to launch the manned mission to Mars.  Either way, you’ll like the 2014 Jeep Cherokee.  Oh, and in case you’re wondering, below is the full specifications, features and options list of my test car.

2014 Jeep Cherokee 4×4 Limited Technical Specifications, Options and Features

2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited

2014 Jeep Cherokee 4×4 Limited Specs, Features and Options

2014 Jeep Cherokee Features

2014 Jeep Cherokee 4×4 Limited Specs, Features and Options • 2.4-Liter I4 MultiAir® Engine • 9-Speed Transmission with Jeep Active Drive II Uconnect® 8.4AN AM/FM/BT/ACCESS/NAV • Selec-Terrain System • All Speed Traction Control Electronic Roll Mitigation • Morocco – Black Interior Color • Granite Crystal Metallic Clear Coat Exterior Paint • 18-Inch x 7.0-Inch Polished Aluminum Wheels 225/60R18 BSW Touring Tires • GVW Rating – 5,500 Pounds • 9 Amplified Speakers with Subwoofer • Luxury Group o Dual-Pane Panoramic Sunroof • Technology Group • Key Features o Brake Stability Control o Hill Start Assist o Trailer Sway Damping o Driver Inflatable Knee-Bolster Airbag o Passenger Inflatable Knee-Bolster Airbag Supplemental Front Seat-Mounted Side Airbags Supplemental Side-Curtain Front and Rear Airbags Supplemental Rear Seat Side Airbags o Jeep Cargo Management System Illuminated Front Cup Holders o Keyless Entry with Panic Alarm o 115-Volt Auxiliary Power Outlet o Tilt / Telescope Steering Column Bi-Function Halogen Projector Headlamps LED Daytime Running Headlamps o LED Tail Lamps o Deep Tint Sunscreen Glass o Leather-Wrapped Steering Wheel o Ambient LED Interior Lighting o Power Front Windows w/ 1-Touch Up and Down Feature Fog Lamps o ParkView(TM) Rear Back-up Camera o Remote Start System o Universal Garage Door Opener o Passive Entry / Keyless Go(TM) o A/C Auto Temperature Control with Dual Zone Control Exterior Mirrors with Turn Signals o Exterior Mirrors with Courtesy Lamps o Exterior Mirrors with Heating Element o Heated Steering Wheel o Auto-Dimming Rearview Mirror w/ Microphone Automatic Headlamps o Remote USB Port o Windshield Wiper De-Icer o Leather-Wrapped Shift Knob o Heated Front Seats • Multimedia o 8.4-Inch Touch Screen Display o Uconnect® 8.4A AM/FM/BT/ACCESS o Uconnect® Voice Command with Bluetooth® SiriusXM Satellite Radio w/ 1-Yr Radio Subscription Remote SD Card Slot o Audio Jack Input for Mobile Devices o Remote USB Port o 115-Volt Auxiliary Power Outlet o 6 Speakers • Seating o Leather-Trimmed Bucket Seats o Heated Front Seats o Power 8-Way Driver Seat o Power 4-Way Driver Lumbar Adjust Front Seat Active Headrests o 6-Way Manual Passenger Seat Adjust Front-Passenger Fold-Flat-Forward Seat Passenger In-Seat Cushion Storage Rear 60 / 40 Folding Split Recline Seat Rear Armrest with Cup Holder • Wheels/Tires o 225/60R18 BSW Touring Tires o Tire Pressure Monitoring Display • EPA est. MPG o 22 city/29 hwy • Interior & Exterior Additional Features • “4X4” Badge • “Jeep” Badge • “Limited” Badge • 1-Year SiriusXM Radio Service • 115-Volt Auxiliary Power Outlet • 12-Volt Auxiliary Power Outlet • 12-Volt Auxiliary Power Outlet in Instrument Panel 12-Volt Cargo Power Outlet • 140-MPH Primary Speedometer 15.8-Gallon Fuel Tank • 160-Amp Alternator • 2 Front Overhead Incandescent Map Lamps 3 Passenger Assist Handles • 6-Way Manual Passenger Seat Adjust 7-Inch Multi-View Display • 730-Amp Maintenance Free Battery • 8 Cargo Tie Down Loops • Accent / Body-Color Fascias Active Grille Shutters • Air Filtering • Ambient LED Interior Lighting • Anti-Lock 4-Wheel Disc Brakes • Audio Jack Input for Mobile Devices Auto-Dimming Rearview Mirror w/ Microphone Automatic Headlamps • Auxiliary Transmission Oil Cooler • Battery Run Down Protection • Bi-Function Halogen Projector Headlamps Black Headlamp Bezels • Black Lower Driver Cladding • Body-Color Door Handles • Body-Color License Plate Brow • Brake Stability Control • Bright Day Light Opening Moldings • Bright Exhaust Tip • Bright Side Roof Rails • Cargo Compartment Lamp • Cargo Net • Chrome Grille Surrounds • Compact Spare Tire • Conventional Differential Rear Axle • Cruise Control • Driver Seatback Pocket • Electric Power Steering • Electronic Park Brake • Electronic Range Select • Electronic Roll Mitigation • Electronic Vehicle Information Center • Engine Immobilizer • Engine Oil Cooler • Enhanced Accident Response System Exterior Mirrors with Heating Element • Fog Lamps • For Details, Visit www.DriveUconnect.com • For More Information, Call 800-643-2112 Front / Rear Climate Control Outlets • Front and Rear Floor Mats • Front License Plate Bracket • Front Passenger Seat Belt Alert • Front Seat Active Headrests • Front-Passenger Fold-Flat-Forward Seat Full-Length Floor Console • Glove Box Lamp • GPS Antenna Input • Headlamps with Turn-Off Time Delay • Heated Steering Wheel • Height-Adjustable Front Shoulder Belts • Hill Start Assist • Humidity Sensor • Illuminated Entry • Illuminated Front Cup Holders • Jeep Cargo Management System • Jeep Rack Kit • Keyless Entry with Panic Alarm Leather-Wrapped Shift Knob Leather-Wrapped Steering Wheel • LED Daytime Running Headlamps • LED Tail Lamps • Lock On Sync Tire Press Sensor • Locking Glove Box with Damped Door • Media Center Electronics Storage (USB, SD, Aux) NAV-Ready. See Dealer for Details • Normal Duty Suspension • Occupant Classification System • Overhead Console with Sunglass Holder ParkView(TM) Rear Back-up Camera Passenger In-Seat Cushion Storage Passenger Inflatable Knee-Bolster Airbag Passive Entry / Keyless Go(TM) • Power 4-Way Driver Lumbar Adjust Power Fuel Filler Door Release Premium Air Filter • Premium Interior Accents • R1234YF Air Conditioning Refrigerant Rear 60 / 40 Folding Split Recline Seat Rear Armrest with Cup Holder • Rear Reading / Courtesy Lamps Rear Seat Heat Ducts • Rear Window Defroster • Rear Window Wiper / Washer Remote Proximity Keyless Entry Remote Start System • Remote USB Port • Security Alarm • Selec-TerrainTM System • Sliding Sun Visors with Illuminated Vanity Mirrors Tachometer • Temperature and Compass Gauge Three Rear Seat Head Restraints Tilt / Telescope Steering Column Tip Start • Tire Pressure Monitoring Display Tonneau Cover • Trailer Sway Damping • Uconnect® 8.4A AM/FM/BT/ACCESS Uconnect® Access • Uconnect® Access 6-Month Trial (Reg Required) Uconnect® Voice Command with Bluetooth® Underbody Aerodynamic Treatment • Universal Garage Door Opener • Variable Intermittent Windshield Wipers Vinyl Door Trim Panel • Windshield Wiper De-Icer • Climate Control Options • A/C Auto Temperature Control with Dual Zone Control • Exterior Paint Procedures • Monotone Paint • Glass • Deep Tint Sunscreen Glass • GVWR Packages • GVW Rating – 5,500 Pounds • Mirrors • Body-Color Exterior Mirrors • Exterior Mirrors with Courtesy Lamps • Exterior Mirrors with Turn Signals • Power Multi-Function Mirrors with Manual Fold-Away • Sound System Components • 8.4-Inch Touch Screen Display • Integrated Voice Command with Bluetooth® • Remote SD Card Slot • Removable Short Mast Antenna • SiriusXM Satellite Radio w/ 1-Yr Radio Subscription Steering Wheel Mounted Audio Controls • Speaker Systems • 6 Speakers • Safety & Security Convenience/Security Options o Advanced Multistage Front Airbags o Child Seat Anchor System-LATCH Ready o Driver Inflatable Knee-Bolster Airbag o Heated Front Seats o Power 8-Way Driver Seat o Power Front Windows w/ 1-Touch Up and Down Feature Speed Sensitive Power Locks o Supplemental Front Seat-Mounted Side Airbags Supplemental Rear Seat Side Airbags o Supplemental Side-Curtain Front and Rear Airbags • Dimensions & Capacities Exterior Dimensions o Ground Clearance – at curb weight – Approach Angle: 18.9 o Ground Clearance – at curb weight – Breakover Angle: 19.5 o Ground Clearance – at curb weight – Departure Angle: 25.0 o Ground Clearance – at curb weight – Running Ground Clearance: 8.2 Overall Body Width: 73.2 o Overall Height: 66.2 o Overall Length: 182.0 o Overhang – Front: Not Available o Overhang – Rear: Not Available o Track – Front: 62.0 o Track – Rear: 61.9 o Turning Diameter – curb-to-curb – Left: 37.7 Turning Diameter – curb-to-curb – Right: 37.7 Wheelbase: 106.3 • Interior Dimensions o Cargo Capacity (Trunk): 29.7 Head Room – Front: 39.4 Head Room – Rear: 38.5 o Hip Room – Front: 53.8 o Hip Room – Rear: 49.9 o Leg Room – Front: 41.1 o Leg Room – Rear: 40.3 o Passenger Interior Volume: 105.4 Seating Capacity – Maximum Seating: 5 Seating Capacity – Standard Seating: 5 Shoulder Room – Front: 57.6 o Shoulder Room – Rear: 55.1 o Trunk Lift-Over Height: 30.9 o Base Curb Weight – Automatic Trans: 4044 o Capacity/Weights – Fuel Tank Capacity: 15.8 o Capacity/Weights – Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) : Not Available Payload Capacity – Standard: Not Available o Towing Capacity – Maximum: 4500 o Towing Capacity – Standard: 2000 o Weight Distribution – Automatic Trans – Front : 57.0 o Weight Distribution – Automatic Trans – Rear: 43.0 • Basics o Brakes – Front: Disc o Brakes – Rear: Disc o Driveline Configuration: 4WD Maximum Number of Doors: 4 Steering: Rack & Pinion Suspension – Front: Ind Suspension – Rear: Multi-Link Ind Tires – Aspect Ratio: 60 o Tires – Construction: R o Tires – Spare Tire Type: Compact Tires – Type: P o Tires – Wheel Diameter: 17.0 Tires – Width: 225 o Vehicle Type: Sport Utility o Mobility o Body Opening Width : 31.6 o Open Door Angle: 65 o Open Door Trim to Body: 3.0 o Seat Cushion Height from Ground: 28.5 Seat Cushion to Rocker Panel: 9.4 Step-Out Height : 3.4 o Step-Out Width: 8.8 o Step-Over Height from Ground: 17.8 • Warranty o Basic – Miles: 36,000 o Basic – Months: 36 o Powertrain – Miles: 100,000 Powertrain – Months: 60 o Roadside Assistance – Miles: 100,000 Roadside Assistance – Months: 60 Rust-Through – Miles: 100,000 Rust-Through – Months: 60
 

Author: Nick Glasnovich

Founder & Executive Editor of TickTickVroom.com.

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