ASSOCIATE EDITOR JAY RAMEY: After just a couple minutes behind the wheel of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk, I was completely sold. There are plenty of marque faithful out there for whom the redesigned Cherokee won’t be their cup of tea, but the evolution into this direction is something that was desperately overdue if Jeep wanted to remain relevant to the majority of the car-buying public. But this is a tremendously satisfying machine to drive that ticks all the right boxes, even if the exterior design is a little too avant-garde for some.
I spent a week driving the Trailhawk version, which starts at $29,495, and I found the interior ergonomics to be very well sorted, with a nice thick steering wheel, supportive seats, and plenty of expensive-feeling surfaces. Jeep has obviously spent a great deal of time making the cabin a special place to be, as they had with the Grand Cherokee, and it has paid off nicely for the smaller 4x4. There are plenty of small details throughout the interior to keep the eyes entertained, and the overall feel of the cabin is very solid.
ASSOCIATE EDITOR GRAHAM KOZAK: With the exception of a sprint in a Grand Cherokee SRT8, this is the first time I've spent more than a few miles on the road in this latest take on the Jeep classic. ...
The 3.2-liter V6 in my tester is nicely suited for an SUV in this size category, and the acceleration it provided always felt adequate. The new nine-speed automatic behaved in a very intuitive manner, never missing a beat and never being too slow to downshift. The 3.2-liter is the senior engine in this lineup, and I felt that any more power underhood was really for the Grand Cherokee, especially given the fact that some of the competition doesn’t even have V6s in its vehicles. The suspension was soft without being floaty or too prone to bobbing around, which was a good thing, and the nice fat all-terrain tires made for a comfy ride -- something that cannot be said of previous iterations of the Cherokee.
If there is one thing that this SUV lacks, it’s an opening rear glass hatch which could help stow some of the outdoor gear that vehicles in this class are always adorned with in press photos. But I know that an opening rear glass hatch went the way of the dodo a long time ago.
Even optioned out, this still felt like a lot of truck for the money.
The 2014 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk comes in at a base price of $29,495 with our tester reaching $38,170 after a few options.
ASSOCIATE WEST COAST EDITOR BLAKE Z. RONG: Jeep is nothing if not a company obsessed with its own heritage. The steering wheel says “SINCE 1941,” when we first needed a reason to produce Jeeps. The typeface on the gauges mimics Jeep gauges from the 1940s. Tucked in the middle of the windshield, near the bottom, is a silhouette of a Willys Jeep storming Iwo Jima, or at least a soccer field. When we activated the Cherokee’s perpendicular parking feature, the screen showed a replica Cherokee hunting for parking spaces between -- what else? -- two olive-drab Willys Jeeps. Lastly, what more evidence is needed that Jeep wants its heritage back than by resurrecting the name “Cherokee”?
Dynamically, the 2014 Cherokee is not that interesting. Toyota RAV4s and Ford Escapes will out steer it all day long; Honda CR-Vs feel like magic carpets under the tires. Put it in sport mode and the much-ballyhooed nine-speed automatic makes a sport out of hunting for gears -- it sucks the pep out of the 2.4- and 3.2-liter engines, forever upshifting when the pedal’s off, and then downshifting to maintain momentum. The key to this nine-speed is that when you upshift, you’re not actually selecting a gear but rather locking out any gears above it -- third might see you downshifting to second on its own, and so forth. It’s a bizarre, counterintuitive setup that can easily be nixed with some revised programming.
The typical crossover buyer will have glazed over his eyes long before he garners an inkling of care about “understeer.” Instead, they’ll care about how the Cherokee has little room for storage in the center console, how inexplicably high its rear load floor is and how the seats are puffy like sitting on a stack of pillows.
However, one of the best things going for the Cherokee is that if you get the optional technology group package you get advanced technology for cheap. Technology that works reasonably well like park assist, blind spot and cross traffic warning, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, advanced brake assist and automatic high beams.
The Cherokee Trailhawk can also offroad respectably, as evidenced by a previous drive some months ago where I hit the three-wheel motion over some offset moguls, prompting someone to utter the word “gnarly.” In true Jeep fashion, someone looking to immediately void their new-car warranty will have to overlook a lot of refinement and civility to do so.
The 2014 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk is certainly offroad capable.
2014 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk
Options: Technology group including park assist, blind spot and cross traffic warning, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, advanced brake assist, automatic high beams ($2,195); comfort and convenience group including backup camera, power liftgate, remote start, dual-zone climate control, power 8-way driver’s seat, automatic headlights, tonneau cover ($1,895); 3.2-liter V6 engine with dual bright exhaust tips ($1,495); leather interior group including leather bucket seats, heated front seats and steering wheel ($1,295); UConnect with satellite radio and navigation ($795); nine-speaker audio system with subwoofer ($395); black hood decal ($150)
Article Source: this factual content has not been modified from the source. This content is syndicated news that can be used for your research, and we hope that it can help your productivity. This content is strictly for educational purposes and is not made for any kind of commercial purposes of this blog.