Legendary Jeep Cherokee reliable as ever
By Eric Mathes
2014 Jeep Cherokee

Through the test of time, some vehicles like the Jeep Cherokee remain as a standard for performance and reliability on the road.

The Cherokee is perfectly sized to meet every road and trail with a strength of character that delivers ultimate all-weather confidence. Engineered and built to excel on all types of terrain, it’s hard not to feel adventurous when getting behind the wheel for a test drive.

As I pulled out of Central Garage of Chilton, I couldn’t help but wish that nothing but mountains and trails would somehow appear before me to give this Jeep the ultimate test.

Realizing I was only driving through Wisconsin’s dairy land, I settled for the rural countryside, but took every sharp turn as if I was on the edge of a cliff somewhere out West. It doesn’t hurt to hang onto a little slice of imagination; it definitely makes a test drive experience more fun.

For the die-hard Jeep fan, or a newcomer to the line, the new Cherokees take 4x4 capabilities to the next level for those who desire the distinct advantages of an all-weather, all-terrain vehicle. The Jeep 4x4 has become a standard for off-road prowess, arriving at destinations of which other vehicles only dream. For many, a journey is about the experience and the Jeep Cherokee is built to deliver.

Four-season readiness

As any Wisconsin native will tell you, being prepared for the changing seasons with a reliable vehicle is a must.

For northerners, four-wheel drive isn’t only an option, it’s a necessity. Throughout the brutal winter months, trail rated traction helps maintain controlled forward motion on snowy back roads and icy bridges.

On rough terrain, when one or more wheels are elevated, the Jeep 4x4 system helps the other wheels maintain ground contact longer to help move steadily ahead by maximizing flexibility, axle articulation, and wheel travel.

With Selec-Terrain traction management, Jeep delivers five settings that adjust throttle control, transmission shifting, traction control, and more. Drivers can choose from five available modes—auto, snow, sport, sand/ mud, and available rock.

The Cherokee adjusts for ultimate performance in snowy weather by maximizing vehicle stability and minimizing over-steering.

For a more adventurous ride, drivers can select the sport mode which adjusts to a more aggressive driving style for better handling on those winding back roads.

The Cherokee also adjusts for muddy and sandy areas by maximizing low-speed traction, allowing additional wheel slip via chassis controls, differentials, and transmission ratios.

Drivers can feel confident behind the wheel of Jeep Cherokee as the reassuring maneuverability and precision steering allow for expert navigation at all times.

Nine-speed capabilities

Setting a standard takes forward thinking which has created an all new class-exclusive nine-speed automatic transmission in the Jeep Cherokee.

This feature helps Jeep continue to dominate its class with strong performance in luxury, efficiency, and strength, giving drivers everything they have come to expect and more.

Winding through a few back roads during my test drive, I felt confident in the stability of the Cherokee’s ride. It navigated in and out of sharp turns smoothly, without jerking me around in my seat.

A true all-terrain vehicle, the Jeep Cherokee also offers best-in-class towing for anyone looking to haul a boat or trailer. When equipped with the 3.2 liter Pentastar V6 engine and Trailer Tow Group, drivers gain towing power with 271 hp and 239 pound-feet of torque, with an estimated 29 highway miles per gallon.

Advanced technology offered

On top of the performance, the Jeep Cherokee is also equipped with the newest technologies for drivers.

Let’s face it, not everyone can parallel park a vehicle, but that’s not an issue in today’s world. The active guidance system inside the Cherokee controls steering automatically using ultrasonic sensors that help drivers ease into tight parking spots. The Cherokee includes ParkSense technology, using front and rear park assist sensors for safety.

Central Garage salesman Stacy Schweitzer said, “It’s amazing what the technology can do in the parallel park assist. I can show people the features right here on our lot and it continues to amaze me.”

Adaptive cruise control settings also adjust to keep drivers safe on those long trips on the highway. The system takes the guess work out of keeping a safe distance from the car ahead while using cruise control and automatically adjusts cruising speeds to maintain a preset distance between vehicles. The system can even bring the Cherokee to a complete stop without driver intervention.

One of the features that I love inside newer vehicles is the lane detection technology that alerts drivers about their position on the road. Cameras and sensors provide visual and audible alerts should a driver drift outside of lane boundaries, keeping all drivers alert and aware of their position on the road.

The Jeep Cherokee features over 70 standard and available safety and security features including forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-path detection, and UConnect access with 911 and roadside assistance.

It’s easy to understand why the Jeep brand has garnered such a loyal following—the driving experience is truly unique. I enjoyed the chance to get behind the wheel of this vehicle and can say that it provided me with an exciting ride. Forward thinking continues to keep the Jeep Cherokee in a class of its own, giving drivers a unique vehicle ready to take on the most adventurous spirit.