Vital Stats

Engine:
3.2L V6
Power:
271 HP / 239 LB-FT
Transmission:
9-Speed Auto
Drivetrain:
All-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
4,106 LBS
Seating:
2+3
Cargo:
54.9 CU-FT
MPG:
18 City / 25 HWY
I got a text message from Editor-In-Chief Sharon Carty one afternoon proclaiming that her new favorite SUV is our long-term 2014 Jeep Cherokee. And she's not alone. I'm not sure if anyone else on staff would go so far as to use the "favorite" descriptor, but after just over a month of honeymooning with our new long-termer, it's safe to say that the Jeep is quickly finding its way into the good graces of a number of Autoblog staffers.

There's good reason for all that praise, too. Thus far, the Jeep has proven itself to be incredibly competent and comfortable for daily life – it's functional, quiet, and packed with a host of amenities that make it easy to live with. It's been wholly trouble-free (with less than 4,000 miles on the clock as of this writing, it ought to be), but even nitpicks have been few and far between.
Jeep Cherokee

The design is somewhat less offensive here and more purposeful in Trailhawk trim.

We're still in the very early going of our time with the Cherokee, but so far, it's proving to be a great package. But that design is certainly polarizing. After seeing the deep red Jeep in our driveways day in and day out, its funky look has really started to grow on much of the staff, and even those who still aren't enamored think it's somewhat less offensive and more purposeful looking in butch Trailhawk trim. "When I first saw the 2014 Jeep Cherokee, I thought what everyone else thought, that it is hideous," admits associate multimedia producer Chris McGraw. But when you're behind the wheel, it doesn't matter, and that's where the Jeep has really won us over.

As you'll recall, your author recently put 1,500 miles on a 2015 Chrysler 200 during a long round-trip drive from Detroit to New York and back. This was my first experience with Fiat-Chrysler's nine-speed automatic transmission, and while I mostly found the unit to be a smooth operator in my trek with the 200, I'm finding that I enjoy it much more when paired with the smaller 3.2-liter V6 here in the Cherokee. Sort of.

Jeep Cherokee

The nine-speed actually feels a bit more refined here in the Jeep.

The nine-speed is geared for efficiency, first and foremost. And while that's easier to overcome in the 200S thanks to its larger 3.6-liter V6 and the transmission's paddle shifters and sport mode, that efficiency-first mindset is more clear here in the Jeep. The 3.2-liter V6 produces 271 horsepower, compared to the 3.6's 295, but our Cherokee has a full 633 more pounds of heft to lug around with that reduced power (compared to the all-wheel-drive 200S). Off the line, the Jeep has enough grunt to get you going, but if you aren't more assertive with the throttle, the transmission will quickly jump up a few gears, keeping your revs low and impeding forward progress. Around town, for light-throttle acceleration and passing, the Cherokee can often feel sluggish, but again, if you really get on the thing, it'll move just fine.

That said, the nine-speed actually feels a bit more refined here in the Jeep. It's less noticeable, and doesn't seem to hunt for gears as much as the version I experienced in the 200. And when you don't need the power, the 9AT is helpful from a fuel economy perspective. The EPA rates the 2014 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk 4x4 at 18 miles per gallon in the city and 25 mpg highway, and we're averaging a solid 22.3 mpg in a pretty even mix of driving scenarios. That's not a particularly impressive figure if you look across the compact CUV class, but to be fair, the Cherokee is far more capable off-road than rivals, and that extra ability adds weight in the form of 4x4 componentry and drag in the form of brawny tires. Besides, the engine on this thing is still relatively green – just 3,660 miles as of this writing – so we'll see if those numbers can improve. As of now, the best we've been able to hit on a highway jaunt has been an even 24 mpg.

The Jeep is easy to drive, and has tackled several soft-road duties with ease. It's actually sort of neat to see the Cherokee covered in dirt and mud every now and then, though admittedly, we haven't taken it on any serious off-road trails just yet. So far, it "didn't even bat an eye when tasked to get unstuck from the shore of Lake Michigan," McGraw notes.

Jeep Cherokee

We appreciate the clever organization of the center console up front.

As for what we've experienced thus far, all drivers have praised the Cherokee's UConnect infotainment system, with its high-resolution graphics and easy-to-use, responsive interface. Our tester's higher-end sound system is excellent, and we appreciate the clever organization of the center console up front to keep our phones, beverages, keys, and miscellanea organized on trips. We've had no complaints from passengers about seat comfort or spaciousness, too, but there's no doubt that the cargo area is smaller than many competitors.

With summer now in full force, there's a lot more planned for our Cherokee – the schedule on this baby is booked. So far, we're loving the little Jeep, and hope those thoughts don't fade. We may be enjoying this honeymoon phase, but remember, there's still a long way to go.

Be sure to follow this space to keep up with all of our long-term Jeep Cherokee updates, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more on-the-go impressions, as well.

Odometer: 3,660 miles
Observed fuel economy: 22.3 mpg
Days in service: 48
Days out of service: 0
Out-of-pocket repair cost: $0


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 95 Comments
      Greg
      • 5 Months Ago
      Although they cant admit it, I bet the designers hate every version of this thing except the trail hawk, which it probably how it looks in their sketches. Everything below the Trailhawk was designed by the marketers and bean counters. I personally love the Trailhawk and cant stand the other models, and I've never seen such a divide like that in other vehicles.
        foxtrot685
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Greg
        I really feel that jeep should make some sort of appearance package available on lesser trims to make them look more like a Trailhawk. I think it would sell very well to people who like the way the Trailhawk looks but could do without the price and the off road hardware.
      mikeybyte1
      • 5 Months Ago
      I hope AB does a lot of offroading with this thing. A fully loaded Trailhawk is not really the sweet spot for a compact CUV. I would have preferred to see a long term test on either a mid-level V6 with AWD or a mid-level 4cyl with FWD. I think those will be the top sellers. Although you will get to learn a lot about the Cherokee during the long term test, the truth is you bought the heaviest and most thirsty model. And the competition simply does not make anything that can compete with what you bought, given the offroad capabilities. With that said, I think plenty of people are buying the mid-level models that weigh less and perform better on road.
        rsholland
        • 5 Months Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        True, but the Trailhawk model is what separates the Cherokee from the crowd. Plus this is a *Jeep*. People want to know if this radical new vehicle can cut the mustard when it comes to doing stuff Jeeps are famous for.
      Chris Burns
      • 5 Months Ago
      I absolutely love this thing
      Revis Goodworth
      • 5 Months Ago
      I'll admit that when I first saw this in pictures I was nearly induced into projectile vomiting. A thing of beauty it is not. Nor will it ever be. But somehow in real life, this thing is homely enough to be forgiven for its obvious lack of aesthetic resume-material. Given that the damage to the vehicle is something you only notice when you approach the thing from the front you just learn to avoid that and the rest ain't so bad. You can't even say that about approaching Moochies Obama. She has no good angle.
      Tom C
      • 5 Months Ago
      I appear to be outnumbered but I want to be on record that this vehicle is obscenely ugly and I wouldn't drive a free one, never mind pay 38 thousand dollars for the privilege.
        ucfhall
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Tom C
        Well good news; you don't have to!
        rsholland
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Tom C
        "For the record"–what makes you think anyone cares what you think?
      gregg.jones2
      • 5 Months Ago
      As a Gay man, my design sensibilities are insulted to think that anyone would call this design 'Gay'. Clearly, this thing was designed by a heterosexual man...and the last time we let you design anything, we ended up with the fanny pack.
        engr00
        • 5 Months Ago
        @gregg.jones2
        Would you prefer a well placed hole in the tailgate?
        Edsel
        • 5 Months Ago
        @gregg.jones2
        @gregg.jones2 I'm laughing so hard I'm crying. You have a wonderful sense of humor and tenacity. Thanks for brightening up my day.
      • 5 Months Ago
      I love the front end styling specially the grill it's absolutely marvelous timeless design I won't think twice buying one. i am test driving @ dealer now :]
      Winnie Jenkems
      • 5 Months Ago
      June 2014: It still looks like an alien. Routine outings result in horrified children clinging to their parents as tears stream down their face. My dog will bark at it. Viewing the rear end elicits uncontrollable fits of laughter from the general public.
      steban
      • 5 Months Ago
      I recently saw one in the street. The sides of the car looks like they had been in an accident.
      sixsix
      • 5 Months Ago
      Most cars grow on me and eventually I abandon my foolishness and admit it...With the Jeep Cherokee, this is not the case. I am more perplexed and awed by people who choose to drive this than I am by anything, even the science behind our universe. No offense meant to any homosexuals here but "gay" comes to mind every time I see it. I'm still waiting for a real Jeep Cherokee.
      brhom
      • 5 Months Ago
      lol what the fak is that hideous thing u call that a car
      budwsr25
      • 5 Months Ago
      I what a trailhawk so bad but I can't look past the 30k starting price. Mine built with the 4cyl is 33k. The tester is a fully loaded v6. But it's not a bad people spending 40k on a wrangler.
        cololx6
        • 2 Months Ago
        @budwsr25

        The Trailhawk's actually a darn bargain if you can get past "but I only paid $18K for an XJ!" and recognize that was 18K in early 1990s dollars. That was 20 years ago.

        Once you account for inflation, the KL Cherokee is cheaper at every trim level. A lot cheaper, if you try to configure an XJ to match modern convenience.

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