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Jeep Cherokee review

Despite some strengths, the Cherokee misses the basics

Published: March 2014

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The Cherokee name was etched into SUV lore in the ’80s, when sport-utility vehicles were rapidly gaining popularity. That original model was a good off-roader, but it was also rough and cramped. For 2002 the Cherokee was replaced by the Liberty. Now  Jeep has resurrected the name for a new compact SUV that’s based on the same platform as the Dodge Dart sedan.

After Chrysler’s success in our road tests with other recent redesigns, such as the Chrysler 300, Ram 1500 pickup, and Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango SUVs, we expected more from the new Cherokee than it delivers. Though it has notable strengths, it comes off as a work in progress, failing to get a lot of the day-to-day basics right. Overall, the Cherokee didn’t score well enough in our tests to be recommended.

We tested two Cherokees: The first is a Latitude version with a 184-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, and the other is a more upscale Limited with a 271-hp, 3.2-liter  V6. Both have Chrysler’s new nine-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.

Though more gear ratios in a transmission usually improve fuel economy and response—most competitors have six-speed automatics— the results from our four-cylinder model were dismal. It took a long 10.9 seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph, which is about 2 to 3 seconds slower than competitors. And its gas mileage was a mediocre 22 mpg overall, 2 to 4 mpg less than most competitors.  

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