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FEATURES | 9 out of 10
[Selec-Speed Control is] more like cruise control for extreme off-roading.
There are two four-wheel-drive types, called Active Drive 1 and Active Drive 2. Active Drive 1 is meant for highway driving in sloppy conditions while Active Drive 2 adds real hard-core off-road ability with low-range gearing.
Road & Track
all but the Sport are available with an 8.4-inch touchscreen interface that governs audio and phone functions
The newest iteration of Chrysler's UConnect system improves upon an already solid system that integrates infotainment and other controls. Even the voice commands were fairly easy to operate and came in handy when driving and trying to find the right song off an iPhone.
The 2014 Jeep Cherokee goes after a broad swath of crossovers with four trim levels: Sport, Latitude, Limited and Trailhawk, the "Trail-Rated" model in the lineup.
With the $23,990 Sport (all prices include $995 in destination charges), the Cherokee tackles some other basic tall wagons and hatchbacks. It's a four-cylinder model, with front-drive standard and with a simple Active Drive I all-wheel-drive system as an option. The Sport comes standard with LED running lights and rear taillamps; air conditioning; cruise control; 17-inch wheels with all-season tires; power windows, locks, and mirrors; cloth seats; keyless entry; an AM/FM radio; a USB port and an auxiliary jack; and Bluetooth with audio streaming. The audio and phone display is a 5.0-inch screen, with redundant information in a 3.5-inch screen located between the gauges.
Options include satellite radio; a rearview camera; aluminum wheels; and a cold-weather package with heated seats, a heated steering wheel, and remote start. A CD player is an option, and it mounts in the console, out of sight and out of mind--part of the long goodbye to that format, we think.
The $25,490 Jeep Cherokee Latitude takes that equipment and adds a fold-flat front passenger seat; LED ambient cabin lighting; a 115-volt power outlet; roof rails; and fog lamps. Options include the V-6 engine; Active Drive II all-wheel drive; a 506-watt Alpine audio system; a panoramic sunroof; cold-weather and towing packages; a convenience package with pushbutton start, satellite radio, tonneau cover, power driver seat, power tailgate, rearview camera, and remote start; and Uconnect with an 8.4-inch touchscreen and smartphone-app connectivity for Aha, iHeartRadio, Pandora, and Slacker. We continue to be impressed with the Uconnect suite of connectivity services, as much for its easily absorbed graphics and functions as for its quick responses.
All the Latitude's standard gear carries over on the $28,990 Cherokee Limited, which also gets power front seats; leather upholstery; heated front seats; pushbutton start; 18-inch wheels and tires; a 7.0-inch reconfigurable information screen in the gauge cluster; the Uconnect touchscreen radio; satellite radio; a rearview camera; remote start; and dual-zone automatic climate control. Options include the V-6; Active Drive I or II; navigation (available after the original purchase as a dealer download); Alpine audio; the panoramic sunroof; a wireless charging pad that uses Qi recharging standards and hardware; comfort and towing packages; a luxury package with Nappa leather, ventilated front seats, memory seating, and remote start; and a technology package with lane-departure and forward-collision warnings, adaptive cruise control, parking sensors, blind-spot monitors, and Park Assist, which lets the Cherokee guide itself into parallel or perpendicular parking spots.
Finally, the $30,990 Cherokee Trailhawk takes Latitude standard equipment and couples it with a Trail Rated badge--which comes with the ability to cross California's Rubicon Trail, Jeep's gold standard for off-road capability. To do that, the Trailhawk gets a tougher suspension with more ground clearance; its own front and rear bumpers; red tow hooks; skid plates; transmission and oil coolers; the most advanced Active Drive system with a locking rear differential; Selec-Speed Control, which lets the Jeep climb up grades at a consistent speed; and 17-inch wheels and OWL all-terrain tires. Options include the V-6 engine; navigation; Alpine audio; the panoramic sunroof; an open-air sliding glass sunroof; and the cold-weather, technology, convenience, towing, and leather packages.
The Cherokee's UConnect suite connects smartphones in a snap--and its off-road gear reaches typical Jeep heights.