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2014 Jeep Cherokee: Lacking in Looks, Gifted with Gizmos

If you don't mind its looks, the all-new Cherokee is packed with tech

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First Impressions

Everyone's talking about the new Cherokee's look, which couldn't be farther than its boxy namesake. We know beauty's only skin deep, and that's why we prefer to concentrate on what's inside. After a few minutes of hands-on time during its New York Auto Show debut, we think Jeep’s controversially styled new mid-size SUV deserves a second look for its tech alone.

The replacement for the worn-out Jeep Liberty is a completely new take on what a modern Jeep should be. It’s a mid-size crossover with a new infotainment system, new 4-wheel-drive systems, and exterior styling that will turn heads—not always for the right reasons.

Coming later in 2013, this new Cherokee seeks to pick up where the much-loved 1974-2001 model left off—as a smaller, but very capable and well-rounded 4WD wagon.

If the looks don't scream "Jeep," the interior does, with a steering wheel emblazoned with "since 1941." The updated Cherokee comes with Chrysler's Uconnect touchscreen system standard, featuring an 8.4-inch LCD and Bluetooth, optional SiriusXM, and voice recognition. Users of that system can opt to add navigation after purchase or tick the box on the upgraded Uconnect from the get go.

The Cherokee has some really unique standard features and some great options as well. The cabin has impressive touches like storage underneath the passenger seat bottom, and fans of astronomy will appreciate the CommandView panoramic glass sunroof. There's also a throwback "ragtop" sunroof too, that Jeep's calling Sky Slider.

Where this Jeep truly diverges from the mid-80s XJ Cherokee is when it comes to convenience and safety tech. It's got ParkSense Park Assist, blind spot detection, lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control with Stop and Go. Although these toys won't be useful to the off-road crowd, the Cherokee certainly comes with a blend of enough comfort and features to make a trip down the interstate uneventful as well.

Four trim levels will be available at launch: Sport, Latitude, Trailhawk and Limited. Where Jeep is hoping the hardcore brand aficionados will end up is behind the wheel of a Trail Rated Cherokee Trailhawk, the ruggedized version of the midsize Jeep. Two engines, a 2.4-liter Tigershark 4-cylinder that uses corporate parent Fiat's MultiAir technology, and a 3.2-liter Pentastar V6 will be available across all models, coupled to one of three 4WD systems. With the smaller Tigershark engine, the Cherokee is rated at 31 MPG highway, something that will be music to the ears of people who might cross shop with the Toyota RAV4 or Honda CR-V. The drivetrains have all been designed with fuel economy in mind, featuring rear-axle disconnect so that there isn't power going to all wheels unless needed.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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