2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited - Should We Have Picked the Trailhawk?

Off-roading in the 2015 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk.

We have an idea of what a Jeep is -- nimble, tough, and capable -- and our Four Seasons Cherokee Limited has earned its Jeep name by being nimble on ice, tough on flooded roads, and capable on trails. The consumer-orientated crossover can tough it out when the pavement ends, but we can't help but come back to a question we asked almost a year ago: Should we have opted for the 2015 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk?

To answer that question, we're off-roading a Mango Tango Orange 2015 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk at the same rutted farm we took our Four Seasons Jeep Cherokee Limited to earlier in the year. Before getting dirty, we drop the Cherokee Trailhawk's tires down to 20 psi, put four-wheel drive in low, and engage the rear locker. The last time we were out here we kept to a conservative route, but the Trailhawk's red tow hooks beg to be used. We make for a grizzly trail still covered in snow and leaves, bounding up the slippery hills with less effort than our 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited needed on the easier trails.

Out of the snow and leaves, we sit at the base of a dune. Just like we did in our Cherokee Limited, we put the Trailhawk's traction control into Sand/Mud mode and get a running start. We keep our foot down and get our speed up as the Firestone Destination AT tires paw at sand. The sound of the V-6 engine painfully crowing is familiar; the loud "thud" from the front skidplate hitting the ground isn't. While the Trailhawk retains the same 8.7 inches of ground clearance as our Limited variation, it has better approach, departure, and breakover angles.

Like our Cherokee, it doesn't take much to get one of the Trailhawk's tires off the ground, but the Trailhawk has two extra features: a rear locking differential and an added Rock mode in the traction control system. They keep wheelspin in check and help us creep over obstacles we would otherwise avoid in our Four Seasons Jeep Cherokee.

If we were more willing to bash up our bumpers, bottom out, and get stuck without quick recovery hooks, we could do everything we did in the Trailhawk with our Limited, but the 2015 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk inspires confidence in a way the Limited doesn't. We'll try to keep our Cherokee in one piece so it can fulfill its role as family-friendly crossover, leaving the real Jeep stuff for the Trailhawk.

Overview

  • Body style 4-door SUV
  • Accommodation 5-passenger
  • Construction Steel unibody
  • Base price (with dest. ) $30,990
  • As tested $36,430

Powertrain

  • Engine 24-valve DOHC V-6
  • Displacement 3.2 liters (198 cu in)
  • Power 271 hp @ 6500 rpm
  • Torque 239 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm
  • Transmission 9-speed automatic
  • Drive 4-wheel
  • EPA Fuel Economy 19/26/21 mpg (city/hwy/combined)

Chassis

  • Steering Electrically assisted
  • Lock-to-lock 2.7 turns
  • Turning circle 38.0 ft
  • Suspension, Front Strut-type, coil springs
  • Suspension, Rear Multilink, coil springs
  • Brakes F/R Vented discs/discs
  • Wheels 18 x 7.0-inch
  • Tires Continental ProContact TX
  • Tire size 225/60R-18

Measurements

  • Headroom F/R 39.4/38.5 in
  • Legroom F/R 41.1/40.3 in
  • Shoulder room F/R 57.6/55.1 in
  • Wheelbase 106.3 in
  • Track F/R 62.7/62.7 in
  • L x W x H 182.0 x 73.2 x 67.3 in
  • Passenger capacity 103.4 cu ft
  • Cargo capacity (rear seats up/down) 24.6/54.9 cu ft
  • Weight 4044 lb
  • Weight dist. F/R 57/43%
  • Fuel capacity 15.9 gal
  • Est. fuel range 334 miles
  • Fuel grade 89 octane (premium unleaded)

Equipment

  • standard equipment

    • 18-inch polished aluminum wheels
    • Jeep Active Drive I 4-wheel drive
    • Selec-Terrain system
    • Hill start assist
    • Trailer sway damping
    • Passive entry and pushbutton ignition
    • Remote start system
    • Rear backup camera
    • Dual-zone automatic climate control
    • Power windows
    • Uconnect audio system with 8.4-inch screen
    • Bluetooth
    • SiriusXM satellite radio w/3-month trial subscription
    • Heated front seats
    • Heated steering wheel
    • 8-way power driver seat
    • Cruise control
    • Tilt-and-telescopic steering column
    • LED DRLs and tail lamps

Options

  • technology group - $2155

    • Parallel and perpendicular park assist
    • Blind spot warning
    • Rear cross-path detection
    • Forward collision warning with crash mitigation
    • Lane departure warning
    • Adaptive cruise control
    • Advanced brake assist
    • Rain-sensing wipers
    • Automatic high beams
  • 3.2-liter V-6 - $1495
  • Active drive II - $995 Hill descent control
  • navigation - $795

    • HD radio
    • 1-year subscription to XM Traffic/Travel Link

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