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2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Road Test Review by Courtney Caldwell

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited Road Test Review

By Shannon Caldwell

I remember when SUV's first came out for the everyday consumer. Road & Travel Magazine editors were anxious to test them from a woman's perspective. I was over the moon when our first test SUV arrived. After all, I'm an early SUV adapter so do like to test new models for comparison and advancements. Back then, men often commented, ‘that’s too big for a woman to drive.’ My standard reply was, ‘Well, I don’t have to carry the darn thing, I just have to drive it,’ which always left a perplexed and dumbfounded look on their faces, as if to say, 'well, I suppose that’s true.' And I'm no shorty like our editor!

There were no patronizing comments this week when the new 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee showed up for a test drive… and it’s pretty big and buff. If you’re a diehard Jeep fan you will absolutely love the facelift Jeep has applied to its 2014 Cherokee Limited 4x2. Grander than ever, our deep cherry red crystal pearl Jeep handled beautifully; easy turning radius in tight spots, great back up navigation screen for precision parking (and watching out for wee ones), excellent braking control especially for such a large SUV, and loaded with tons of safety features including front and side airbags. It sounds like Jeep has been listening to their loyalist’s want and needs. Well done.

If you're one of those 'old SUV' owners, who hasn't traded up in years because you think 'a Jeep is a Jeep is a Jeep' you'd be dead wrong.

During the test drive, I found myself feeling a great sense of security when tooling around town in the Cherokee. One feels protected from the outside world, whether it be from an oncoming car or unwelcomed stares of a cross-walker. As a woman, I appreciated the feeling of being surrounded by what felt like a small armored truck. And since safety is the number one concern women have when out and about, then the Jeep Grand Cherokee is a good SUV choice to meet that peace of mind.

The Cherokee also has a very roomy interior for kids and creatures but it does have a high step up. Your little ones will likely need a lift or two-handed boost under foot. And since your kids’ safety is as important as your own, you’ll appreciate knowing that the Grand Cherokee earned the highest 5-star marks for front AND rear seat side crashes with the Government 5-star safety ratings system. It also boasts a 5 year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty, which demonstrates Jeep’s confidence in its SUV having staying power.

Our particular test model was loaded with all the bells and whistles one might expect with a base price of $37,600 from an 8.4-inch touch screen display, a complimentary one-year subscription to the Sirius XM satellite radio as well as an HD radio, power liftgate, antilock brakes, hill start assist, keyless entry, power 8-way driver seat with memory and an 8-way power passenger seat, cruise control, tire pressure monitoring system and display, remote start, and even trailer sway damping. So if towing a camper or motorcycle trailer, it won't feel like a dog wagging its tail behind you. And there’s more!

While our test Jeep offered heated front and second-row seats, we didn’t turn them on as we had the vehicle during a heat wave so it would have been a mute point, however having lived in the upper mid-west and New England, where the bitter cold bites, I know from experience that the two-rows of fanny warmers will be a very warm and welcomed addition in colder regions of the US come November. And it’s nice to know as a parent that your kiddie’s cabooses will be as warm as yours…

Fuel economy is not great, average 20MPG… 17 around town, 25 on the highway but that’s subjective to how one drives and the environment in which they drive. Lead-foots and those who ride the brakes will spend more; those who drive on a more even keel will spend less. Jeep claims an annual cost of $2600 but again that depends on individual miles driven each year… longer commutes will cost more.

I found very little about the new 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee that I didn’t like. Once inside and pushing the ignition button, our test Jeep didn’t always start up on the first try. Yes, my foot was applied to the brake as required but there were many times during the week-long test drive that the button had to be pushed several times before the vehicle started, or it would keep adjusting the power seat before starting.

One concern I had was using the digital multi-view display, which hosted all the touch screen controls for climate, radio and navigation, among other things. One has to switch screens to use each element, which means eyes off the road during the switcheroo to a new screen, and then locate which icon you need. No doubt with time, it becomes more intuitive as you learn where everything is, but it still requires a fair amount of distraction from the road ahead in my opinion.

Still, all in all, not bad when you consider that the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited has about a thousand and one other features, inside and out, that work flawlessly. And trust me, ain’t nobody gonna tell you this Jeep is too big to drive… it drives like a well-oiled machine (pun intended) for anybody of any size.

For more information on Jeep vehicles, click here.