The Jeep Cherokee name is known the world over. Since 1974 Jeep has used it for various models, including the SJ-designated full size SUV and extremely popular XJ-designated compact SUV. Since the end of the XJ Cherokee in 2001, Jeep used the name for international models of the Liberty KJ and KK. In 2013, Jeep dusted off the old nameplate and introduced the world to the 2014 Jeep Cherokee, carrying designation KL. Based on a Fiat chassis, the new Cherokee shares many components with the 2013 Dodge Dart and 2010 Alfa Romeo Giulietta.
“The all-new 2014 Jeep Cherokee represents the pinnacle of innovation in the mid-size SUV segment,” – Mike Manley, Jeep President and Chief Executive Officer.
The KL Jeep Cherokee has been under heavy scrutiny by many for its “outside the box” styling. Retaining the classic seven-slot grille that Jeep is known for; it is the headlights that are the main focal point of the attention. Overall, though, the vehicle sports many impressive features. Offering an OE-production first 9-speed automatic transmission that is bolted behind either a 2.4L Tigershark inline-4 cylinder or 3.2L Pentastar V6 power plant.
Primarily a front-wheel-drive crossover (CUV), there are also four-wheel-drive models utilizing one of three Active Drive systems coupled with Jeep’s Selec-Terrain traction control system. The 106-inch wheel base and 18.9-degree approach angle, 19.5-degree break over angle and 25-degree departure angle make the vehicle fairly capable in stock form.
Another point of interest for reviewers is the independent suspension on both ends. Traditionally, Jeep is known for plunking straight axle awesomeness under its vehicles. Slowly, that trend is changing. The lack of forced articulation my hinder any would-be buyers and push them more toward the current JK Wrangler series. That being said, the “Trail Rated” suspension should be able to handle some dirt-loving fun.
“In addition to the breakthrough efficiency of its unique 4×4 system and the milestone introduction its 9-speed automatic transmission – a world-first – the Cherokee features a host of technologies that combine to deliver outstanding occupant protection. That kind of robust performance delivers on the promise of the Jeep brand.” said Mike Manley, Jeep President and Chief Executive Officer.
There are four different trim levels available: Sport, Latitude, Trailhawk and Limited. The base for each model uses the 2.4L engine; and the Latitude, Trailhawk and Limited are able to option up for the 3.2L. Active Drive Lock comes standard on the Trailhawk, providing a 2.92:1 ratio low gear range and locking rear differential to earn it’s “Trail Rated” Badge. All models feature four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and electric parking brake.
The interior of the rig is highly refined. Accompanied by many of the typical options available in the market today, this crossover also features an electronic vehicle information center, optional Dual Zone Control HVAC system and 7- or 8.4-inch display. All help to bump up the KL Cherokee a few notches from its predecessor. Integrated Voice Command with Bluetooth and a Remote SD card slot are standard on all vehicles.
Touting more than 70 available advanced safety and security devices including 10 standard-equipment air bags, the 2014 Jeep Cherokee is beyond cutting edge technology. After earning the highest possible score in four IIHS tests, the 2014 Cherokee is the 14th Chrysler Group vehicle to earn the Top Safety Pick name in the last year.
Despite its nay-sayers, the 2014 Jeep Cherokee is here to stay. It’s not exactly a replacement for the XJ Cherokee but it should find its niche, just like every other Jeep product has.