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The 2014 Jeep Cherokee was the first new Jeep created under Fiat's leadership, and it was examined minutely by critical Jeep enthusiasts. JP Magazine grudgingly admitted that it could tackle, unaided, the Hell's Revenge trail at Moab, roughly as well as the XJ Cherokee, though they felt a fixed 50/50 front/rear power ratio has to be added to make the car a credible off-roader. Most other reviewers wrote that the Cherokee was clearly superior off-road to the competition — and was also generally superior on-road.
Now, let's compare the specifications. While at first glance some of the specs (particularly weight) don't look good for Cherokee, one has to keep in mind that this is the only vehicle in the group that is really designed for off-roading, complete with extra chassis strength; that it has, by far, the highest towing capacity in the group (Honda and Toyota barely have any); and that it has the largest interior of the group by a fairly good margin. Ford's two optional engines are both turbocharged, adding to maintenance needs. The Jeep is also the only car in the group to have a locking rear axle and 4x4 with a low gear. The Cherokee's ability to match competitors (except, for city mileage, RAV4) in base-engine gas mileage is surprising, in this light.
City/highway mpg 4x2, base engine, EPA
As for off roading, the Cherokee remains formidable when compared with anything but, well, the 1997 Cherokee. The 4Runner is also tough competition, though 4Runner is a much heavier, pricier vehicle. (Yes, we have a different comparison list here, excluding CR-V, mainly because we haven't found the time to add CR-V yet.)
* Liberty approach angle is with the front fascia removed, on the Trail Rated model. Toyota does not publish breakover angles.
While comparisons to 4Runner are somewhat unfair (the Trail version of the 2013 Toyota 4Runner, which corresponds with Trailhawk, lists at $37,155), Cherokee Trailhawk suffers in approach angle and ground clearance, but does much better in departure angle; 4Runner's breakover angle is unpublished.
21/27 (AWD I/II)
The direct competitors to Cherokee are Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, and Toyota RAV4; none comes close in terms of off-road measures.
See more — 2014 Jeep Cherokee • Compared with XJ Cherokee
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