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2014 Jeep Cherokee

By Gary Witzenburg

On Sale: Summer 2013
Expected Pricing: $25,000-$30,000

The all-new 2014 Jeep Cherokee unveiled March 2013 at the New York International Auto Show boasts best-in-class capability among mid-size SUVs, vastly improved fuel economy (vs. the aging Liberty it replaces), car-like on-road dynamics and an array of advanced technology features. Marking the rebirth of Jeep's once-popular Cherokee nameplate unused since 2001, the 2014 Cherokee offers sleek and controversial new styling.

The 2014 Jeep Cherokee will arrive in the third quarter of 2013 with a segment-first 9-speed automatic transmission and a choice of two new engines:

Standard will be a 16-valve 2.4-liter four-cylinder good for 184 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque promising an EPA-estimated 31 mpg Highway, which is 45-percent improvement in fuel efficiency over the outgoing Liberty.

Optional will be a 3.2-liter V6, a variant of Chrysler's Pentastar V6, that will deliver 271 horsepower and 239 pound-feet of torque, plus more refinement and 30 percent better fuel economy than the old V6, along with best-in-class V6 towing capability of 4500 pounds.

The 2014 Cherokee will offer a choice of front-wheel drive (not rear-wheel drive) or one of three available four-wheel drive systems, all with an automatic rear-axle disconnect that improves fuel efficiency when 4x4 capability isn't needed:

Jeep Active Drive I will use a fully automatic single power transfer unit (PTU) to seamlessly switch in and out of four-wheel drive at any speed while delivering yaw (skid) corrections as needed.

Jeep Active Drive II will use a two-speed PTU with torque management and a low range for severe off-road conditions and enhanced climbing. Cherokees with Active Drive II are one-inch higher in ride height.

Jeep Active Drive Lock, standard on Trailhawk models, adds a locking rear differential.

Each system will come with Jeep's Selec-Terrain traction control system with five settings (Auto, Snow, Sport, Sand/Mud and Rock) to optimize on- and off-road performance.

Four 2014 Cherokee models will be available: Cherokee Sport, mid-range Latitude, uplevel Limited, and Trail Rated Trailhawk.

Trailhawk will feature a rugged look, Active Drive Lock and Trail Rated hardware that should make it the market's most capable mid-size SUV. Unique front and rear fascia will give it aggressive approach and departure angles, while skid plates will protect it and signature red tow hooks will be there if needed.

All 2014 Cherokees ride on a MacPherson-strut front suspension with 6.7 inches of travel and an independent multi-link rear set-up with up to 7.8 inches of travel. Electronic power steering (EPS) will improve fuel efficiency and maneuverability with a turn radius of about 36 feet on front-wheel drive models, 38 feet on four-wheel drive models and 39 feet on Trailhawks.

Cherokee's all-new cabin will feature premium materials and loads of easy-to-use technology, with soft-touch door uppers, armrests and upper instrument panel, ergonomically-designed seats in premium cloth or available Nappa leather and 60/40 split second-row seats that adjust fore/aft for passenger and cargo flexibility. Two industry-exclusive open-air options will be offered: a new CommandView panoramic sunroof or a Sky Slider full-length open canvas roof.

Depending on the model, the instrument cluster will be 3.5-inch grayscale or 7-inch full-color reconfigurable to allow the driver to select from a multitude of information including speed, fuel economy, audio, turn-by-turn navigation, safety warnings, Adaptive Cruise Control-Plus and Selec-Terrain settings. The available 8.4-inch touchscreen multimedia command center and Uconnect system will allow control of audio, climate and more from the touchscreen, with voice commands or with redundant controls on the center stack. It includes Bluetooth connectivity, SiriusXM Radio, navigation, music, apps (Pandora, Aha, iHeart Radio and more), voice-to-text messaging and streaming audio.

The long list of standard or available safety-related features (some Chrysler Group firsts) will include ParkSense Parallel/Perpendicular Park Assist System, Adaptive Cruise Control-Plus, Forward Collision Warning-Plus, Lane Departure Warning-Plus; Electronic Stability Control with Roll Mitigation; Blind-spot Monitoring; Rear Cross Path detection; ParkView backup camera with dynamic grid lines; 9-1-1 assist call; and 10 standard air bags.


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