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Liberty Gone: Cherokee Returns

By Arv Voss, November 2nd, 2013

The famous Cherokee name is back in the Jeep brand. The 2014 Cherokee comes in four trims with two engine choices, three new 4WD systems and a new Jeep Selec-Terrain traction control system. Most significantly, Cherokee features the midsize SUV segment's first 9-speed automatic transmission.

The model range consists of Sport, Latitude and Limited, each available in either a 4x2 or 4x4 drive configuration. There's also a trail-rated Cherokee Trailhawk, which comes only as a 4x4. Base pricing starts at $22,995.

The 2014 Jeep Cherokee showcases a progressive exterior that's been designed for the future with global appeal. Cherokee's outside lines are fluid and sleek, highlighting the efficient, wind-splitting upper body. The tough, protective lower body conveys the legendary capability characteristic of every Jeep.

Up front is the waterfall hood with the iconic peaked, seven-slotted grille, which includes a crisp, horizontal snap -- a feature in many classic Jeep vehicles. The hood is clearly defined and separated from the front fenders in a modern twist of Jeep heritage. Advanced LED lighting technology is used throughout the all-new 2014 Jeep Cherokee.

Powering the Cherokee models are modern, state-of-the-art engines: a new 2.4-liter MultiAir2 Tigershark four-cylinder that produces 184 horsepower and 171 lb.-ft. of torque while achieving a fuel economy rating of up to 31 miles per gallon highway; and a new 3.2-liter Pentastar V-6 engine that makes 271 horsepower along with 239 lb.-ft. of torque. Both mate to the new 9-speed automatic transmission.

Jeep's available 4WD systems include the Active Drive I with a one-speed power transfer unit; Active Drive II with a two-speed power transfer unit and low range; and Active Drive Lock, also with a two-speed PTU, low range and a locking rear differential. All three systems feature an industry first rear-axle disconnect, improving fuel economy when 4x4 capability isn't needed.

Jeep's innovative new Selec-Terrain system provides up to five selectable modes that provide optimum 4WD performance for any road or weather condition: Auto, Sport, Sand/Mud, Snow, and Rock.

During the national press launch of the new Jeep Cherokee, I drove the 4x4 Limited with the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder, Latitude with the 3.2-liter V-6 priced and a 2.4-liter-powered Trailhawk.

The new Cherokee is as capable as it is good looking. It handles admirably both on- and off-road, with the Trailhawk providing the same prowess as the Wrangler in challenging off-road scenarios. Both engines deliver more than adequate power on demand and the new 9-speed automatic transmission operates smoothly while upshifting and downshifting.

Road-holding is stable and the ride quality is quite comfortable. The handling characteristics are sporty in nature, with good on-center feedback.

The all-new Cherokee's interior inspiration included exotic locations around the world. The interior is a blend of hand-sculpted fluid shapes, high-quality materials, innovative color and material choices, precision craftsmanship, state-of-the-art technology and thoughtful, clever features, making it inviting and comfortable.

Seats are ergonomically designed to support the contour of the body, and are trimmed with premium cloth or quality Nappa leather and are available with power adjustable, heated/ventilated seats with memory.

The suite of more than 70 available advanced safety and security features deliver a pleasing, confidence-building driving experience. Some of these include: ParkSense Parallel/Perpendicular Park Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control-Plus, Forward Collision Warning-Plus, LaneSense Departure Warning-Plus, and 10 airbags.

Specifications

Base price $29,995 (as tested: $35,535)
Curb weight 4,106 lbs.
Displacement 2.4-liter
Epa mileage rating 21 mpg city, 28 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 10.5 gal.
Horsepower (net) 184 at 6400 rpm
Motor type 16-valve 4-cyl. w/MPFI
Overall length 182.0 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 171 at 4600 rpm
Transmission 9-speed automatic
Vehicle type 5-passenger 4WD SUV
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