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2014 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk Long-Term Update 6

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 5/20/2015 William Walker, Motor Trend Staff

I try to lead an active lifestyle: photo shoots during the week, hiking on the weekends, road trips — you get the picture. The Jeep is a great activity vehicle with off-road capabilities, the comfort needed for long trips, and enough room for the dog and gear. So when my wife and I finally bought a kayak, I knew the Jeep would carry it wherever we wanted to go.

We gave our friends at Whispbar a call, and they were gracious enough to send over a set of their Through Bar crossbars and two styles of kayak carriers to test and use. With aerodynamically designed crossbars and their QuickDock T-bolt accessory mounting system, these are incredible units. The Trailhawk comes with standard roof rails, and after some minor assembling of the bracket, the bars can be installed and removed quickly using a supplied Allen wrench. Once the bars are installed, you can swap accessories by placing the desired holder on the crossbar, pressing down the T-bolt into the SmartFill weather stripping channel, and turning the T-bolt locks to secure the carrier into place. Once secured the holders can be locked so people don't run off with them.

© Provided by MotorTrend Whispbar sent both the standard flat-load Saddle Roller carrier and the upright J-cradle carrier to test. For a single boat, the Saddle Roller is easy to load and keeps the kayak flat, reducing the height atop the Jeep, whereas the J-cradle allows two boats — or a boat and a bike — to be mounted in tandem. The best part is when they're not in use, both carriers fold down and become low profile.

Unfortunately, as of late, the Jeep has had some issues. During a recent late-season snowboarding trip to Mammoth Mountain, a trim piece fell off the rear driver-side door handle and allowed for the entire rear handle assembly to rip off the car in dramatic fashion, flying out of my hand and across the street. When I brought the Cherokee into the dealer, I had to debate with the service representative to get them to fix it under warranty. After speaking to the service manager and the dealer's warranty officer, they finally came around to my way of thinking, that a 1-year-old vehicle's door handle should not come off in its owner's hand. This isn't an isolated incident, either. I know of at least one other Cherokee that had a door handle fail and come off.

© Provided by MotorTrend It's not just mechanical pieces having problems. Occasionally the forward collision system will randomly turn off and give me a warning light and then almost immediately will turn back on. It doesn't affect the vehicle whatsoever, but it doesn't help my confidence in its long-term reliability. With only a couple of months left in the loan period, maybe one last trip to the dealer is required.

More on our long-term 2014 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk here:

2014 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk © Provided by MotorTrend

2014 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk
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