How does the 2014 Jeep Cherokee match up with the old one?

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Answered by: Peter, An Expert in the Test Drives Category
The Cherokee name is an icon for Jeep. It was originally released in 1984 as a rugged, boxy, go anywhere and do anything SUV. The old Cherokee had a practical style that was supremely American, it didn't care about looks or miles per gallon, it just wanted to get a job done. Looks, style and economy didn't matter. The old Cherokee was an original American truck, built for a utilitarian time when muscle and power mattered. The Jeep Liberty came along in 2001 and the Cherokee nameplate was absent until now.



The 2014 Jeep Cherokee replaces the old truck-style ride of the Jeep Liberty with a crossover platform. The Cherokee was designed to go after the industry leaders, popular compact utility vehicles like the Honda CR-V, Hyundai Santa Fe, Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape and the Chevy Equinox. Jeep is bringing the Cherokee name back, but it looks and feels much different. We have to ask, can the new Cherokee with its 21st century style and size match the practicality of rugged and reliable SUV we always knew?

Underneath this machine with a quintessential American name is an Italian Fiat designed modular Compact U.S. Wide platform . The same platform is used for the Dodge Dart and the Chrysler 200. The ride is smooth. The 2014 Cherokee looks and feels more like a car than a truck, a trait shared with most of the vehicles in the crossover market. On the outside, the Cherokee looks a lot like the Grand Cherokee from recent years only the rough edges are buffed out to make it blend in with its crossover competitors.



Jeep offers eight combinations for engine and drive system of the Cherokee that all share a nine speed transmission. You can get an advertised 25 mpg combined from the best performing combination, a FWD model with a 2.4L four-cylinder engine, or 20 mpg combined with the least efficient combination, the Cherokee Trailhawk 4WD with a 3.2L V6. The nine speed transmission should help increase fuel efficiency on the highway, but the efficiency estimates of the Cherokee don't impress compared to some other crossovers.

The responsive, kind driving style of the Cherokee makes it easy to handle on the road in all conditions although a four wheel drive option definitely improves cold weather and off road driving experience. Rear seat room is just enough to squeeze an adult in but adequate for a child and 25 to 29 cubic feet of cargo space in the rear is enough for most day-to-day applications. Styling inside and out is modern and sleek. The interior radiates a confident luxury that was lacking in the Jeep Liberty.

The 2014 Jeep Cherokee isn't the 1980s do-all and go anywhere SUV that last carried the Cherokee nameplate. It's a new car for a new crossover dominated market. Competitively priced, it should compete well with other crossovers in the market. It is sad to see the rugged do anything boxy mentality of the Cherokee we once knew go, but this is a car for a modern market with more modern concerns.

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