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New 2014 Jeep Cherokee features up to 31 mpg highway, 9-speed transmission; driver assistance firsts

2014 Jeep Cherokee. Click to enlarge.

Chrysler introduced the new 2014 Jeep Cherokee mid-size SUV at the New York International Auto Show. The new Cherokee features a segment-first nine-speed automatic transmission, developed in partnership with ZF; fuel economy improvements of more than 45% versus the outgoing Liberty model; and more than 70 advanced safety and security features.

Powered by the choice of two new engines mated to the nine-speed, the Cherokee features expected highway fuel economy ratings of up to 31 mpg US (7.6 l/100 km) and a driving range on a tank of gasoline of nearly 500 miles (805 km).

The Cherokee is based on the Fiat Group’s Compact US Wide (CUS-wide) platform. The architecture comprises common, modular and interchangeable components and allows for modularity of the wheelbase, front track, rear track, front overhang, length and width across vehicle lines.

Nine-speed. The use of the 948TE nine-speed automatic transmission marks the first time a nine-speed automatic transmission has been used in the segment and is standard equipment in all models of the new Cherokee. The new transmission has a compact, modular design and is the first 9-speed automatic transmission developed for passenger vehicles with a front-transverse engine layout.

Its wide gear ratio spread of 9.81 over the nine stages enables smaller gear steps, offering greater ride comfort and ensuring that the engine always runs in the most economical speed range. Consequently, the 9 speed features contribute to reduced fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions versus a six-speed automatic transmission.

Packaging the 9 speed within the limited space of a front-transverse powertrain layout required a groundbreaking solution: four separate gearsets and six shifting elements in a unique nesting arrangement, instead of the conventional longitudinal placement of the gearsets behind one another.

The package size and overall weight of the 9 speed are comparable to conventional six-speed arrangements for transverse layouts. The new design concept is supported by efficient, hydraulically operated constant-mesh elements, designed to ensure performance and refinement within the compact dimensions.

Direct multiple gearshifts are also possible with the 9 speed and contribute to its sporty character. Shifting points and shifting dynamics are highly variable, from greater comfort and optimized fuel economy to aggressive performance. This enables vehicle manufacturers to tailor the “feel” of the transmission.

Engines. The 16-valve, 2.4-liter Tigershark MultiAir 2 I-4 engine is standard in the 2014 Jeep Cherokee. The 2.4-liter is the third engine to feature MultiAir technology from Chrysler Group and features the second generation “MultiAir 2” system that further enhances combustion control, improves fuel efficiency and reduces exhaust emissions.

The 2.4-liter Tigershark engine offers up to an estimated 31 mpg highway fuel economy rating, a more than 45% improvement versus the outgoing model, and a driving range on a tank of gasoline of nearly 500 miles. The 2.4-liter MultiAir 2 Tigershark I-4 engine produces 184 hp (137 kW) and 171 lb-ft (232 N·m) of torque.

The electro-hydraulic fully variable valve-lift system uses a column of oil in place of the traditional mechanical link between the camshaft and intake valves. As a result, it delivers precise control of the intake-valve events—beginning and end—delivering reductions in engine-pumping losses and increases in volumetric efficiency.

In addition to reducing carbon-dioxide emissions, MultiAir accounts for a fuel-economy boost of up to 7.5%, compared with engines with conventional valve trains.

The available new 3.2-liter Pentastar V-6 engine is the first derivative of the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, named one of Ward’s 10 Best Engines three years running. The available new 3.2-liter Pentastar V-6 engine benefits from the same innovations that earned its larger displacement predecessor industry–wide acclaim for efficiency, power and refinement.

For the driver, that means a refined driving experience with reduced noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) and higher specific power output (84.2 horsepower per liter) while delivering fuel economy improvements of 30% versus the outgoing V-6 engine. The 3.2-liter Pentastar V-6 engine produces 271 hp (202 kW), 239 lb-ft (324 N·m) of torque and delivers best-in-class V-6 towing of 4,500 pounds.

4x4 systems. The 2014 Jeep Cherokee provides a choice of three 4x4 systems. The Jeep Cherokee is also the first mid-size SUV to feature rear-axle disconnect, resulting in reduced energy loss when 4x4 capability isn’t needed, improving fuel efficiency. The rear-axle disconnect seamlessly switches between two- and four-wheel drive for full-time torque management and does not require input from the driver. The three 4x4 systems are:

  • Jeep Active Drive I. Available on the Cherokee Sport, Latitude and Limited models, Jeep Active Drive I features a single power transfer unit (PTU) which is fully automatic and delivers seamless operation in and out of four-wheel drive at any speed. The system does not require any driver intervention or feedback, delivers yaw correction during dynamic events and improves both understeer and oversteer conditions.

  • Jeep Active Drive II. Available on the Cherokee Sport, Latitude and Limited models, Jeep Active Drive II includes a two-speed PTU with torque management and low range. 4-Low mode locks the front and rear drive shafts for low-speed power or towing. Low range provides a 2.92:1 gear reduction. The gear reduction allows for enhanced climbing ability as well outstanding crawl ratios for severe off-road conditions. The 2014 Jeep Cherokee with Jeep Active Drive II gives the off-road adventurer a ride height that is increased by an inch, a crawl ratio of 56:1 when powered by the 2.4-liter MultiAir Tigershark I-4 engine, and 47.8:1 when powered by the new 3.2-liter Pentastar V-6 engine—up to a 90% improvement versus the outgoing model.

  • Jeep Active Drive Lock. Jeep Active Drive Lock includes all the features of Jeep Active Drive II and adds a locking rear differential for superior low-speed power for severe off-road conditions. Jeep Active Drive Lock is standard on all Trailhawk models.

All 4x4 systems feature the Jeep brand’s Selec-Terrain traction control system, which allows the driver to choose the on- and off-road setting for optimum performance. Five customized settings are offered: Auto, Snow, Sport, Sand/Mud and Rock. Selec-Terrain electronically coordinates and optimizes up to 12 systems on any terrain providing enhanced vehicle control including: drivetrain control module, electronic brake controller, electronic stability control (ESC), transmission controller, powertrain controller and Selec-Speed Control (Hill-ascent and Hill-descent Control).

The 2014 Jeep Cherokee is equipped with an electronic power steering system (EPS) that improves fuel efficiency and contributes to the Jeep Cherokee’s nimbleness with a turn circle radius of approximately 36 feet in 4x2 models, approximately 38 feet in 4x4 models and roughly 39 feet in the Trailhawk off-road model. With EPS all of the power assist is provided via an electric motor system rather than a traditional hydraulic system. Because the system is fully electronic, the driver experiences optimal steering effort at all vehicle speeds, and there is less noise and better fuel efficiency since there is no parasitic loss from a power steering pump.

The 2014 Jeep Cherokee’s body structure has a high-strength steel content of roughly 65 percent. Hot stamped-, high-strength- and ultra-high-strength steel are used to construct a strong, lightweight, solid vehicle architecture.

Safety and Security. The new Cherokee was engineered with more than 70 available safety and security features. The Jeep Cherokee starts with a strong foundation constructed with 65% high-strength steel. Engineers then added both active and passive safety and security features, including: Chrysler Group vehicle firsts ParkSense Parallel/Perpendicular Park Assist; Adaptive Cruise Control-Plus; Forward Collision Warning-Plus; and Lane Departure Warning-Plus; 9-1-1 assist call; ESC; Electronic Roll Mitigation; Blind-spot Monitoring; Rear Cross Path detection; ParkView rear backup camera with dynamic grid lines and 10 standard air bags.

The ParkSense Parallel/Perpendicular Park Assist feature in the all-new 2014 Jeep Cherokee is a first in a Chrysler Group vehicle. Using ultrasonic parking sensors on the bumper the system will find and guide customer into an available parking space when the driver initiates parking maneuver. The parking guidance system controls the steering angle automatically, the driver controls the gear position, brake, and accelerator. Parallel parking is possible on either side of the car; during perpendicular parking, the vehicle is backed into the space.

Adaptive Cruise Control-Plus, also a first for a Chrysler Group vehicle, is significant for its capacity to bring the vehicle to a complete stop without driver intervention in certain conditions. Radar and video sensors identify the locations of vehicles traveling ahead of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee. The sensors also help ensure the vehicles are separated by a gap determined by the driver. If the gap is dramatically breached, the ESC system can aggressively deploy the vehicle’s brakes to affect a full stop, even if the driver never touches the brake pedal. To resume travel, the driver need only press a button on the steering wheel or tap the accelerator pedal.

Forward Collision Warning-Plus, another Chrysler Group first, addresses traffic-gap changes when Adaptive Cruise Control-Plus is inactive. When radar and video sensors detect a fast-closing obstacle ahead, the system pre-fills the brakes to prepare for emergency driver intervention. If collision risk remains, Forward Collision Warning-Plus correspondingly ratchets up the response with:

  • audible and visual warnings;
  • a brief brake deployment to alert the driver;
  • a 1.5-second brake deployment to quicken the driver’s reaction time; and
  • ultimately, deployment of Advanced Brake Assist (ABA) if the driver is not braking aggressively enough.

Lane Departure Warning-Plus, which is offered for the first time in a Chrysler Group vehicle, uses a camera-based vision sensor to establish the Jeep Cherokee’s position on the road. If there occurs an unintentional lane drift, determined by trajectory change and the absence of turn-signal activation, the system will deliver a visual warning and a haptic warning—the subtle introduction of torque from the electric power steering (EPS) system. If the driver unintentionally drifts too far, the system provides a secondary visual warning.


Will S

Not bad economy for an SUV, though it is still an SUV.


The 2.4-liter MultiAir 2 Tigershark I-4 engine produces 184 hp (137 kW) and 171 lb-ft (232 N·m) of torque.

The 2013 model is over 4600 pounds, 9 speed or not the performance could suffer.


Nice, but let's put it straight : we don't need these vehicles, a wagon lighter and more aero can do the job, like we don't need to eat meat every day, a bigger carbon footprint won't make people happier but for sure it will our planet a worse place to be...



Given the state of the road network in my corner of North America, we really do need these vehicles.

A "normal" wagon wouldn't necessarily be much lighter, or aerodynamic. Ever notice how the sun-powered racers that compete across the Australian desert have huge ground clearance? They don't do it for off-road performance.

Consider this: the non-diesel Jetta Wagon also gets 31MPG highway. Is this Jeep really that bad? Do cars have to look dull?

Pre-empting the diesel debate: feel free to expose your kids to a proven carcinogen. It's your choice (until they're old enough to make their own choices). Just realize that not everyone shares your sense of priorities.


Bernard, the state of the road in your place justify a 4*4 SUV with more ground clearance than a regular car ? come on man, the road aren't paved in you place? the australia desert ok, but the driveway to your residence, come on man

asides I am not advocating diesel, and we have hybrid if you don't like diesel, and now diesel have particulate filter so they don't emit soot anymore, just in case you don't know..


snow.. washed out roads... landslides... a lot of places you either own a 4 by 4 or you stock up for being snowed in or whatever for weeks even months at a time.

Hell we lived just a few miles from a 100k city back where we used to live but a storm blocked all the ways out for 2 freaking weeks but our econoline van had the clearance to get out.

I remember we helped some people shop and so on during that mess.. afterward they all got trucks.



My point was that this supposedly "bad" SUV gets similar mileage to a supposedly "good" wagon of similar carrying capacity. The notion that all SUVs are worse than non-SUVs is outdated.

SUVs are just regular cars with a bit more ground clearance. We all know that they used to be based on truck platforms, but that was years ago.

This new Jeep gets better highway mileage than a 4 cylinder Camry did 10 years ago, and yet nobody calls-out Camry drivers for their environmental choices.

Will S

Bernard said:

"A "normal" wagon wouldn't necessarily be much lighter, or aerodynamic."

A wagon is going to have a smaller cross sectional area, which when using the same aerodynamic design techniques, will indeed lower the total aerodynamic drag. The SUV also requires more materials, hence less materials with the same design approach will indeed result in a lighter vehicle.

People who choose to live outside areas with managed roads feel justified in impacting our nation's security, though it's unclear how many Americans would agree their excess consumption of oil it truly justified. Freedom does not necessarily mean having one's whims satiated at the expense of their fellow countrymen.



You are operating under the assumption that the clear air under a vehicle counts as part of the cross-sectional area. It doesn't.

Do an image search on "World Solar Challenge." You will see lots of vehicles that have way more ground clearance than this Jeep. Their designers know what you don't.

Also, aggressive-looking designs don't weigh more. It's not a morality play, it's science.

I think that a lot of people will need to realize that these new SUVs are completely different from GMC Tahoes and Toyota Sequoias. They are as economical as normal cars, because that's what they are.


What some may find is "shaming" others into doing what YOU think is the right thing to do probably won't get you very far.

Making all SUVs illegal will not win you any friends either. Cross over SUVs is a growing segment, if we can make them more fuel efficient great.

It is like the song says "waiting for the world to change", don't hold your breath. It is much easier changing YOUR behavior and attitudes than others.

Will S

Bernard wrote;
"You are operating under the assumption that the clear air under a vehicle counts as part of the cross-sectional area."

No, I'm not, ground clearance does not enter into cross-sectional area assessment. It's easy to see that SUVs, on average, have a greater cross sectional area than automobiles.

"aggressive-looking designs don't weigh more"

I have no idea where this thought of your came from, I certainly made no such claim, nor would do so.



"SUV are regular car with more ground clearance"

No they are not, they are heavier and with more frontal section and less aero shape.

Subaru makes wagon with 4*4 and more ground clearance and they are not SUVs.

now I don't deny that SUV haven't made progress regarding mileage but regulars cars as well so the difference between car an SUV in term of mileage stills stands.

it is not about shaming people it is about getting responsible in our choices, even if i concede that some people needs SUV it is still a fairly small minority, the rest is just for the hype.

oil is getting more difficult to get, fracking or deep offshore are not environmentally friendy neither tar sands are, so using oil as efficiently as possible is a responsible choice.


By now someone must have formulates a "Les' law" for transmissions relating to more gears, less weight and, less volume.

A few years ago I would have bet big money you could not make a AT with more than 5 speeds that would fit easily into a FWD compact sedan unless at least 3 of the gears were reverse.

Americans may never embrace the diesel as in Europe.

And meanwhile; "SUV-Crossovers remain Europe’s hottest sales trend; sales up almost 7% last year."

Tar sands, deep oil and fracking have severely blunted the oil peak, reduced fuel prices and have actually reduced CO2 because of the natural gas that comes with them.



You are still entangled in the morality play. You can't judge cars by their appearance any more.

Case in point: a Subaru Outback, your example of a sensible non-SUV alternative to this Jeep, gets worse highway MPG!

Are you willing to make objectively worse environmental choices, just for the sake of re-fighting the last war (the one where Sequoias and Tahoes were the only SUVs)?

This is 2013, not 2003. You need to admit that the problem wasn't SUVs, it was their fuel consumption. There's nothing inherently wrong about an SUV that's good on gas. In fact, it's a good thing.

Kit P

Nine out of ten SUVs and big 4wd PU are bought as status symbols.

I was a little older when I went to college. I graduated with a family and pets. The family station wagons was a ten year old Chevy with a 327. I bought a new '74 2wd ½ tone IH TravelAll that got the same mileage as station wagon. It was replaced with a ¾ Tone 2wd Suburban that had at least a 50% better mileage. My job required frequent moves and the family like camping better than hotels

After wearing out two UV, I was surprised that SUV had become a status symbol. If you travel up steep gravel driveways to get you house in the mountains or frequent campgrounds, UV are the norm. When visiting San Jose and SF, our UV stuck out like a sore thumb and there was never a problem finding it in a parking lot. Things changed because by the 90s all those California people had to have 4wd to go skiing. No really! That what they claimed.

This leads to a funny story. My commute vehicle was was a '80 4wd Chevy Luv diesel. The first thing I did was get rid of the 'mud' tires and put on traction 'A' tires same as the UVs. Snow and I ice was the problem. Four moves later we are living at 4000' elevation in California. I take the kids skiing in the LUV twenty minutes up the road but the CHP turns me back because my tires are not stamped 'M &S' . That stands for mud and snow or macho and stupid.

In a twist of irony, a while later I ma coming home from work at 5 am driving the Suburban in a light snow finding the Chipy sitting in 4wd CPH jacked up high center of gravity not designed for paved roads POS buried in the ditch. I offered him a ride up the hill to the main highway where there was a convenience store. . He declined not understanding Carbon monoxide poisoning. Then he told me that I could make it up the hill because I did not have 4wd. I asked if he was waiting for the CHP to rescue him in their 4wd? So he got in and then told me how to drive in the snow. Are from LA, I asked? Watch how it is done, my foot is off the break but not on the gas. The trick is going slow with good tires. After we got going, I asked if he remembered me. When I got to main road, I showed him what the right tirers for the conditions were.

The problem with 4wd is that drivers become over confident. When you have a higher center of gravity, you lose a sense of the road. With a big engine you tow too fast. I have put 2wd PUs, family cars, and sport cars in skids to avoid accidents with things like deers and wheels coming loose from people towing to fast. SUV are not sport cars they will flip if you are driving too fast and something unexpected happens.

UVs have there uses but not for the single passenger city commute.



I have owned small SUVs and I own a Passat Wagon. The Passat Wagon gets 40-50% better mileage than a comparable SUV. It weighs 3700 lbs. not 4600lb. We take it on Forest Service roads in the summer and into the mountains to ski in the winter.

There is no justification for that extra 900 lbs of steel. And I hate to pay my family's $15,000 per year bill for the oversized military that the US supports just to maintain access to oil. And most of all, I hate fearing when people like you drive on my streets with your oversized vehicles, posing a safety threat to the good citizens who drive small, responsible cars.

Kit P

"We take it on Forest Service roads in the summer and into the mountains to ski in the winter."

Got to love the finger pointing logic that comes next.

A responsible person would stay home and not use fuel to endanger all the people who live in the mountains.

Driving a Passat Wagon and going skiing are activities reserves for the self entitled rich.

"And I hate to pay my family's $15,000 per year bill"

Really! I do pretty well but I do not have a that much in taxes.

"oversized military"

Really! Poor deprived Dollared will not be able to buy as many ski outfits. I learned to ski in the navy. Not very good at it like tolerating the self indulgent rich. The military is always over sized until you need (them to keep the ski slopes open.

Roger Pham

Congratulation to Jeep/Chrysler for an outstanding achievement. All other auto mfg's need to follow suit.
This new 2014 Jeep Cherokee is a SUV by name only, while by appearance, it resembles more of a station wagon with big tires, with curvaceous and aerodynamic contour. This, in addition to a 9-speed AT (I wonder how they do that?), is what responsible to the high mgp. Now, one can have it all.



Thanks for a moderate response, people used to be able to have discussions on the merits without personal attacks.


Kit, I'm sorry if skiing in blue jeans at the local hill is something that is too expensive for you, and that you resent other people who do. As for the $15,000 for the military, that's just the average cost per family in the US not my personal tax bill. And yes, the military is insanely bloated and oversized. We are spending more than twice per year on the military than we did 10 years ago, and it is stupid. S-T-U-P-I-D. Now, I don't resent any person who has served. The military personnel below colonel do not cause our nation's foolishness. It's mainly defense contractors, generals and politicians.

So I'll just assume you were having a bad day, and leave it at that. Except to say, one more time, that there is no point to 4600lb, five passenger vehicles. The new Jeep is an impressive engineering achievement that by its very design is wasteful and inefficient.



Thank you so much for the unsolicited personal attack. I think it really contributed to the overall reasoned and scientific debate around here.

FYI, I don't drive an SUV. I drive a car that is much more economical than your Passat wagon (which itself is considerably more wasteful and inefficient than the Jeep product discussed in this article).

It seems that you don't practice what you preach. I'm not surprised. People who lead with insults rarely follow-up with integrity and reasoning.

I will let you have the last word. You are more than capable of digging your own grave.

Kit P

“skiing in blue jeans ”

Blue jeans are akin to SUV compared to a UV with a nice interior. Bib overalls, blue jeans, and dungarees are clothing people who do hard, dirty, physical labor. There is a line a work cloths that come in heavy cotton in different collars for those who need to look professional. Heavy cotton is a very good for working in a steam plant. However, I have not owned any blue jeans in 40 years. I feel no need to imitate the hard working people I respect.

I can think of nothing less practical for skiing than tight fitting blue blue jeans. Cotton and wet snow is not a very good thing. I learned to ski when stationed in Idaho and wore my old wool dress bell bottoms. The 'the local hill' included several destination ski areas. Also skied a volcano in Sicily (got there by ship), the south of Spain and the Pyrenees (got there by old Citroen). Even had fun at Mount Trashmore near Detroit. For a while I could go out the back door and cross country ski FS roads. Then there was the years that 'the local hill' was Lake Tahoe, or Washington, Oregon, or Idaho.

I have been bless by the opportunities to ski with the family and take them to many national parks. I do not think is matters much if you use 20 gallons or 40 gallons of gasoline.

Military spending is the often the justification for people being judgmental about 20 gallons of gasoline. When I served in the navy, my ship was a sitting duck in shooting war. Once the missiles started flying I estimated that 75% of the Soviet and American surface fleet would be on the bottom of the ocean. Things have changed. The USSR is no more. The US and allies have awesome superiority. Even Russia and China cooperate on the high seas. Except for N. Korea and Iran, there is no serious threat to world peace. There is a lesson from Iraq. If you are a leader of country with aspirations of world domination by taking over one neighbor after another, the leader of the free would will stop you, dig you out of the hole you are hiding in, then turn you over to you people who will hang you till you are dead. It takes oil to fight a protracted ground war. If that is the intent, capturing oil fields is important. However, it only takes a few days for our Air Force and Navy to destroy all the planes tanks and ships.

As a citizen of the US I want my country to be the dominate military power. I want Japan and China to be so weak not be able to invade each other. Japan and China may not say it publicly, but that is what they want too. I want Germany to weak to invade Russia.

It cost less to not fight a war. Having superior weapons and people trained to use them may be expensive but has nothing to do with oil.


Bernard, I apologize to you for personalizing my concern about the arms war in vehicle weight and the damage done to others by SUV drivers - who don't really need an SUV.

You were defending SUVs and I thought you drive one. My apologies for making an incorrect assumption, and for personalizing the discussion.


At one time , I lived in eastern Massachusetts and drove a smaller car. I never drove off road and only rarely would AWD be desirable. However, I moved to the Utah and quickly found that 4WD or AWD was a requirement. I regularly drive off-road. The Jeep in the above article would probably not go where I take my 4WD pickup and a Subaru wagon would quickly become so much scrap metal. I also have reason to haul heavy loads and haul heavy loads off-road. To give you an idea of the sparse population and the extent of the dirt roads, I once drove for 8 hours in western Utah without passing another car. I learned to carry an extra spare tire, tools, water, food, etc. I also carry heavy mud-rated chains for all four wheels and if things really so south, an emergency satellite communication device as there is no cell phone coverage.

Anyway, not everyone has the same requirements.

Don Dada

I think is good seeing new innovations from automaker always as this will enable their customers to have value for their money and this 2014 Jeep Cherokee is such a wonderful innovation. Schaeffler recently unveiled her concept car in India. This car is suitable for Indian roads and it has 10% fuel efficiency. I believe this wonderful innovation from Schaeffler is to bridge the gap between demand for high performance, comfort and an impressive fuel economy.

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