The 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited Is An Acquired Taste

Front 3/4 view of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited
The 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited.

Having written recently about the best cars being works of art, the 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited presents me with a dilemma.  Perhaps it is a Picasso and I just don't see it.  That troubles me, because I believe I can discern between a Jackson Pollock original and a wall that just happened to get in the way of a paintball fight.

Much has been written about the styling of the new Cherokee.  It does, as noted by many, look better in person than it does in pictures.  But it still does not, to my eye at least, look good. The odd angles, the way the lamps (which are the headlamps and which are the daytime running lights? You will never know until you see one in motion) make it appear like it came from a Japanese studio in the bad old days of the early 70s when so many of their cars seemed to be inspired by Godzilla movies as much as anything else.

Rear 3/4 view of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee
The 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited.

But appearance is subjective.  If you like the look (and enough people do that the Cherokee is considered to be a good seller...perhaps it is the inoffensive rear view), the next question becomes what it does and how well. It is "Trail Rated", Jeep's longtime standard for off-road capability earned by the ability to travel California's Rubicon Trail. It is reasonably smooth and quiet for a smallish SUV.

Interior view of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee
The 2014 Jeep Cherokee Interior.

The interior is appealing to the eye and comfortable to driver and passenger alike.The 3.2-liter Pentastar V6 engine produces 271 horsepower.  The EPA fuel economy estimates are 19 city/27 highway, with an average of 22. The six-cylinder is an extra-cost option.  The standard engine is a 184-horsepower four-cylinder.

And for the Limited 4X4's base price of $29,995, the standard features list is comprehensive, including Keyless Go, a backup camera, remote start, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats and steering wheel, and a seven-inch display, though satellite navigation will cost you extra.

And there were extras on our test vehicle. A technology group adds parking assist, blind spot detection, adaptive cruise control, advanced brake assist, rain sensitive wipers and automatic high beam control. The luxury group includes premium leather-trimmed seats, the front ones ventilated, and a power liftgate. And there was also an upgraded audio system with the missing satellite navigation.

Those options and a $995 destination charge added up to an as-tested price of $37,425. For that money, a decently but not lavishly equipped Grand Cherokee can be had with a more powerful V6, close to the same fuel economy, more room and styling that, even if you like the Cherokee's looks today, is a much better bet to age well. In fact, last July, Michael reviewed one that cost six thousand dollars less than this Cherokee Limited.  Admittedly, it was two-wheel drive, not four, and more modestly equipped, but apply the six thousand to the options list on the Grand Cherokee and you could come up with a much better all-around choice.

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