We’ve indulged long enough, driving our humdrum Jeep down sandy trails, through standing water, and along rocky two-tracks -- basically everywhere it isn’t built to go. We ordered a 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited 4x4 because it’s the anti-Trailhawk, the Jeep Cherokee for the masses. That’s why we’re leaving the unbeaten path behind to run errands and fight for parking spots.
“Everything about this crossover is tailor-made to appeal to mainstream car buyers,” says associate Web editor Joey Capparella. “Say what you want about abandoning traditional Jeep values, but this Jeep offers what people want in their cars these days.” In the Cherokee’s notebook, he calls it “one of the most consumer-oriented cars out there,” noting the simple ergonomics, softly padded interior, and quiet ride.
Associate Web editor Eric Weiner chimes in: “For general utility, the 2014 Jeep Cherokee gets high marks. It has a spacious trunk that’s easy to access, and everything you constantly interact with (pedals, steering wheel, shifter, seats, the like) feels solid and put together.”
Executive editor Todd Lassa says the 2014 Jeep Cherokee meets expectations and deserves its success much more than what he describes as the “disappointing” Ford Escape: “I used the Jeep to pick up and drop off four stand-up cocktail tables (unassembled). The seats fold down easily, and the cargo cover is easily removed. I also really dig that the front passenger seatback flips forward, too.”
This Jeep handles mundane tasks so well that you actually feel a bit mundane behind the wheel. Clearly that’s the Cherokee’s objective, seeing how it has features such as automatic parking, part of the $2,155 technology package, for people who would prefer to text rather than park.
Contrariwise, the ParkSense system makes your mind grind harder by going a bit haywire at times. “When backing into my driveway, our Cherokee slammed on the brakes, thinking I was going to somehow run into my own car, which was parked alongside,” videographer Sandon Voelker reports. “I drove forward and tried again, but same thing happened.” This writer tried using the system while enjoying my morning coffee. The system wigged out for some unknown reason, the brakes locked up, and I spilled the coffee all over my lap. (Of course, this is just what would have happened if I’d tried to park it myself.)
“This is a horrible car for drinking coffee,” senior editor David Zenlea says. “The transmission is so jerky that my cup of joe spilled everywhere. ‘Fluidity’ is the word that comes to mind when I think of the powertrain, because it’s totally absent.” Associate Web editor Jake Holmes shares Zenlea’s disdain for the “abysmal transmission and driveline, which clunks and lashes.” He continues by saying that the transmission is reluctant to ever shift -- either up or down -- making the Cherokee “feel unbearably slow despite its 271-hp rating.”
There’s a tech bulletin posted for the 2014 Jeep Cherokee that updates software for cars “experiencing inconsistent and/or harsh 1-2 or 2-3 upshifts.” We’ll get that checked out when the Jeep goes in for its first service in a few weeks, when it will also get swapped onto a set of winter tires from Tire Rack and upgraded with a few cool accessories from Mopar.
Before that happens, though, Capparella is taking this Jeep on a 1,100-mile road trip to Nashville. Check back soon to read about how his trip went.
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