The 2014 Jeep Cherokee is an all-new replacement for the 2012 Jeep Liberty. The Cherokee's polarizing design is especially new and controversial. Jeep debuts a new ZF-sourced nine-speed automatic transmission in the Cherokee...more
The 2014 Jeep Cherokee is the most radical-looking production Jeep ever. About the only design cue the Cherokee shares with the rest of the Jeep range is the signature seven-slot grille and trapezoidal wheel cutouts. Purists, especially those who still love the 1984–2001 “XJ” Cherokee, may bemoan the fact that the new Cherokee rides on a modified Alfa Romeo platform and sends power to the front wheels most of the time, but that platform also gives the Cherokee more rear-seat legroom than the larger Grand Cherokee. We suspect that most crossover shoppers will appreciate the extra space inside more than they will care about which wheels are propelling the vehicle.
The 2014 Jeep Cherokee plots a new course for Jeep. Instead of wrapping itself in history and committing to another rear-wheel-drive-based 4x4, Jeep is leveraging its relationship with Fiat and using an Alfa Romeo platform to bring its crossovers into the modern era.
Jeep offers one of our favorite infotainment systems in the 2014 Cherokee with Uconnect. The available 8.4-inch touchscreen system controls everything from navigation to stereo to climate-control functions, but there are still (convenient) redundant physical controls for volume, tuning, and climate control.
Of course, the top-of-the-line 4x4 model can tackle the Moab trails that remain Jeep's spiritual home. The 2014 Jeep Cherokee relies on electronic systems for its off-road prowess instead of the old-fashioned mechanical solutions that the Wrangler employs. Instead of air lockers and short gearing, the Cherokee embraces hill-descent control and a Selec-Terrain system that comes with different modes for snow, sand/mud, rocks, and sporty driving. With the electronics deployed, the Cherokee essentially brings cruise control to the world of off-roading, as we discovered in Moab during our first drive.
During our brief test drive, the 2.4-liter I-4 engine, dubbed Tigershark, felt too overworked pushing around the 2014 Jeep Cherokee. The main reason to consider the Tigershark engine -- and its mediocre 184 hp and 171 lb-ft of torque -- is if fuel economy and price are your sole concerns. For most buyers, the 3.2-liter V-6 makes a lot more sense. With 271 hp and 239 lb-ft of torque, the Pentastar V-6 is much better suited to the heavy 4x4 Cherokee's needs.
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