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2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited - Snow Day

Automobile logo Automobile 2015-02-11 David Zenlea

2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited - Snow Day

ANN ARBOR, Michigan -- One of the surest symptoms of the onset of soulless adulthood is hoping that an approaching blizzard won’t actually affect your life. Another is driving a boring crossover. I have to pilot our 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited some 50 miles to a photo shoot Monday morning, so as I go to sleep Sunday night, I pray we won’t get the predicted 6-12 inches of snow.

My prayer is answered in the usual manner. I wake up to 18 inches. The University of Michigan has canceled classes on account of weather for only the second time in 37 years. But the photo shoot is still on, so I sleepily click the Cherokee’s remote-start button, make my coffee, shower, and brush my teeth. I spend 15 minutes clearing snow off the Jeep’s roof -- it has clogged around our ridiculous aftermarket luggage rails -- before pulling onto my unplowed street.

2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited Front End 02 © Provided by Automobile 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited Front End 02 In place of the array of differential switches you’d find in a hardcore off-roader, our all-wheel-drive 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited has a simple rotary selector denoting various conditions. Um, let’s try “snow.” It works. I keep my foot on the throttle, and the four driven wheels, shod in Bridgestone Blizzak winter tires, chew through the porridge of snow, sand, and rock salt. (You may be thinking winter tires are superfluous when you have four-wheel drive and plenty of ground clearance. You’re wrong.) The snow setting smooths out throttle inputs and starts off in second gear, which is fine since the nine-speed transmission is normally too jerky shifting at low speeds. The Cherokee’s traction control system knows better than most when to intervene and when to let the wheels slip to build momentum.

2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited Front Three Quarter 01 © Provided by Automobile 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited Front Three Quarter 01 Maybe it’s confirmation bias, but I notice that many of the other vehicles picking through the snow-covered roads are Jeeps. I start to wave to an old Cherokee on monster tires and think better of it. If Jeeps are one big family, this Alfa Romeo-based crossover is kind of like that sixth cousin who comes up to you at your bar mitzvah, drink in each hand, and informs you that she saw you last at your bris. 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited Front Three Quarter 02 © Provided by Automobile 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited Front Three Quarter 02

Not that I want to switch Cherokees. I’m guessing the older one doesn’t have a heated steering wheel. What would happen to my delicate fingers? I plug my destination into the Jeep’s ergonomically friendly touchscreen infotainment system and make for the highway.

2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited Rear Three Quarter 03 © Provided by Automobile 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited Rear Three Quarter 03 The interstate is slick with packed snow and glare ice, yet I feel comfortable enough to phone design editor Robert Cumberford, who comes through loud and clear via Bluetooth. He is about to enjoy lunch in his home in France, but he commiserates by recalling the time he drove a Chevrolet Corvette Z06 on summer tires through a snowstorm in Geneva.

2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited Rear End 01 © Provided by Automobile 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited Rear End 01 I arrive at the studio 15 minutes early. Guess what? Shoot’s canceled after all. Our office in nearby Royal Oak is likewise snowed in. Now I have eight free hours, which I should use to catch up on all my writing assignments. But who ever gets work done on a snow day? I drive back to Ann Arbor and, rather than fetch the old Flexible Flyer from my basement, I turn off stability control on the Jeep Cherokee and charge into an unplowed parking lot. The Cherokee bogs for a second but then claws its way through, spitting a fine mist of powder in its wake.

2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited Rear Window © Provided by Automobile 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited Rear Window As I dial in a bit of countersteer to catch a drift, I spot the little Willys Jeep silhouette at the base of the Cherokee’s windshield (see above). Maybe I’m not a soulless grownup quite yet. And maybe the 2014 Jeep Cherokee isn’t just another boring crossover.

Body style4-door SUV
Accommodation5-passenger
ConstructionSteel unibody
Base price (with dest.)$30,990
As tested$36,430

Engine24-valve DOHC V-6
Displacement3.2 liters (198 cu in)
Power271 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque239 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm
Transmission9-speed automatic
Drive4-wheel
EPA Fuel Economy19/26/21 mpg (city/hwy/combined)

SteeringElectrically assisted
Lock-to-lock2.7 turns
Turning circle38.0 ft
Suspension, FrontStrut-type, coil springs
Suspension, RearMultilink, coil springs
Brakes F/RVented discs/discs
Wheels18 x 7.0-inch
TiresPirelli Centurato P7
Tire size225/60R-18

Headroom F/R39.4/38.5 in
Legroom F/R41.1/40.3 in
Shoulder room F/R57.6/55.1 in
Wheelbase106.3 in
Track F/R62.7/62.7 in
L x W x H182.0 x 73.2 x 67.3 in
Passenger capacity103.4 cu ft
Cargo capacity (rear seats up/down)24.6/54.9 cu ft
Weight4044 lb
Weight dist. F/R57/43%
Fuel capacity 15.9 gal
Est. fuel range334 miles
Fuel grade89 octane (premium unleaded)

STANDARD EQUIPMENT18-inch polished aluminum wheelsJeep Active Drive I 4-wheel driveSelec-Terrain systemHill start assistTrailer sway dampingPassive entry and pushbutton ignitionRemote start systemRear backup cameraDual-zone automatic climate controlPower windowsUconnect audio system with 8.4-inch screenBluetoothSiriusXM satellite radio w/3-month trial subscriptionHeated front seatsHeated steering wheel8-way power driver seatCruise controlTilt-and-telescopic steering columnLED DRLs and tail lamps

Technology group - $2155Parallel and perpendicular park assistBlind spot warningRear cross-path detectionForward collision warning with crash mitigationLane departure warningAdaptive cruise controlAdvanced brake assistRain-sensing wipersAutomatic high beams
3.2-liter V-6 - $1495
Active drive II - $995Hill descent control
Navigation - $795HD radio1-year subscription to XM Traffic/Travel Link

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