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KL vs the world: 2014-17 Jeep Cherokee competitive comparisons

with thanks to RamMan

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.

trailhawk headlights

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.

  2014 Jeep
2013 Honda
Ford Escape
Toyota RAV4
Toyota 4Runner
Legroom, F/R41.1 / 40.341.3 / 38.343.1 / 36.842.6 / 37.241.7 / 32.9 / 29.3
Passenger volume103.5104.198.0101.9128.0
Cargo volume (seat up)49.537.234.338.447.2
Total volume153.0141.3132.3140.3137.0 / 144.5
Base engine hp/torque 184/171 185/163 168/170 176/172 270 / 278
Optional engines 271/239 none 178/184
none no
Automatic forward speeds 9 5 6 6 5
Highway mileage (Can.) 45 44 47 44  
Towing capacity (max) 4,500 lb 1,500 lb 3,500 lb 1,500 lb 5,000 lb
Standard airbags10678 

City/highway mpg
4x2, base engine, EPA

22 / 3123/3122/3124/3117 / 22
Opt. engine mpg 19 / 27 23/32, 22/30  
Base weight3,7753,3053,5023,4354,400

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.)

 2014 Cherokee201420132014201320111997
 Trailhawk4x4 I 4x4 II EscapeRAV4CR-V4Runner LibertyCherokee
Approach angle29.9°18.9°21° 21°29°28°33°39.1° *38°
Breakover angle22.9°
19.5°21.7°17.6° 16° 20.4°24 °
Departure angle32.2°25.0° 27.3°27.7°22°21°26°32.1°32°
Running clearance8.7"7.7" 8.2" 7.9"6.3"6.7"9.6"?10.2"

* 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.

Cherokees 1997 2014
I-4power 125 hp / 150 lb-ft 184 hp / 171 lb-ft  
Six-cyl. power 190 / 225 271 / 239  
mpg, 4 cyl 4x4 19 / 22 (old standards)

21/27 (AWD I/II)
19/25 (Trailhawk)

21/28 (AWD I)
21/27 (AWD II)
19/25 (Trail.)
mpg, 6 cyl 4x4 17 / 21 (old standards) 19/27 (AWD I)
19/26 (AWD II)
18/25 (Trailhawk)
20/28 (AWD I)
19/26 (AWD II)
19/26 (Trail.)
Weight, lb 3,111 - 3,153 3,811 - 4,106 3,811 - 4,106

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 CherokeeCompared with XJ Cherokee

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