- Brand new model, replaces the Liberty
- First nine-speed automatic transmission
- Four-cylinder or V-6 engine options
The 2014 Jeep Cherokee is a brand new vehicle with an old name that replaces the outgoing Liberty crossover. This is the first Cherokee since Jeep shut down the old model in 2001 and a lot has changed since then. The reborn Cherokee is now a crossover with a car-based platform instead of a truck-based architecture. Also different are the priorities of new car shoppers, with fuel economy and in-car technology much higher priorities than they were in the early aughts and Jeep thinks they have delivered on both of these fronts.
The Cherokee’s styling is a bold new direction for Jeep. They’ve never made an SUV that looked like this before, with a sleek angular appearance that does not mirror the boxy look and rounded headlights found on other Jeep models. A new seven slot grille adorns the front, flanked by thin headlight clusters with daytime running lights that sit at the top. 17-inch wheels are standard, while moving up the Cherokee’s four trim levels (Sport, Latitude, Limited, and Trailhawk) adds additional wheel options. The Trailhawk is the most rugged trim of the bunch; it gets unique side styling and front/rear ski plates, as well as additional ground clearance.
Under the hood, the Cherokee debuts Jeep’s first ever nine-speed automatic transmission which is linked to one of two available engines. The base engine is a 184-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder that makes 171 pounds-feet of torque. The optional engine is a smaller version of Chrysler’s well regarded Pentastar V-6; the 3.2-liter V-6 makes 271-hp and 239 pounds-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive is standard, but this being a Jeep, three different four-wheel drive systems are also available. Fuel economy figures top out at 22/31 mpg city/highway with the base engine and front-wheel drive, which represents a forty-percent increase over what the outgoing Liberty could achieve.
Inside, the Cherokee is well outfitted and stylish. The look is more sleek than rugged, with standard cloth seating while Nappa leather is optional. The flexible second-row slides forward and backward to open up more leg- or cargo room, and also splits 60/40 for easier storage of longer cargo. Chrysler’s UConnect infotainment system, one of our favorites in the industry, is standard with a 5-inch LCD screen. Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port for music or charging of devices, and an SD slot are standard. A larger, 8.4-inch center mounted screen is optional. Also available are extra comfort features like heated/ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, wireless charging pad for mobile devices and remote start system.
The Cherokee earned a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS for its performance in crash testing. Standard safety features include 10 airbags, antilock brakes, and an electronic stability system. The Cherokee’s technology focus extends from the interior to safety, with available features like enhanced adaptive cruise control, self-parking system, forward collision warnings, and a rearview camera.