This post was written by guest blogger Jake Spurlock. Please note that Jake was not driving the 2014 Jeep® Cherokee while wearing Google Glass.
A few weeks ago, we took several Glass Explorers out on the trails for a chance to check out the 2014 Jeep® Cherokee Trailhawk for themselves. The participants, Jake Spurlock and Matt McGee, both took some photos and wrote about their time in North Carolina. Below is Jake’s firsthand account of his experience with the new Cherokee.
“Jake, we’d like to fly you out to Raleigh to give the new Jeep Cherokee a drive.”
Man, that was fun to hear, but it was even more fun to do. A few weeks ago, I spent some time out in Raleigh, North Carolina, participating in what felt like a totally surreal experience. Not only did I go on an extended test-drive of the new Cherokee, but I was also interviewed and filmed in a manner akin to being on my own television episode. As an owner of a 1999 Cherokee, I was thrilled when I heard they were bringing the badge back in 2014, and was even more impressed when I saw it in person.
The Cherokee has always been a bit of a polarizing vehicle. What the old one lacked in curves, it made up for with its durability. For me, it didn’t matter if you were creeping down trails in Moab or cutting through snowy roads on your way to a ski trip, the Cherokee would always get you there. But you, loyal reader of the Jeep Blog, already know that. I knew that too, but with the radical departure from the Cherokee design of old, I wondered if this new Cherokee could live up to the legacy of the badge. This is an easy answer of course… Obviously, yes.
The styling is the most obvious departure. Gone are the square edges and boxy design, now replaced with a new vehicle that looks more like the Grand Cherokee in a smaller size. It has an aggressive front end that looks equally at home on Rodeo Drive as it does on the Rubicon Trail, which is great because in addition to the stylish looks, this is still a Jeep brand vehicle. The Trailhawk package features a Trail Rated® badge, making the Cherokee ready to tackle anything, even the Rubicon.
There is a ton of technology in this new Cherokee too. It features a large touchscreen system with navigation, SiriusXM radio and integrated climate controls. A note on the climate controls: The Limited model that I drove had one of the coolest features that I have seen in a vehicle, ventilated seats. While this doesn’t do anything in the performance department, anyone who has had a black leather interior knows that on a hot summer day, the last place you want to be sitting is in your vehicle. But, with ventilated seats, you get a nice breeze that can help keep things cool. This is unlike seat warmers that merely radiate heat; there is a cool breeze coming from the seats.
Other cool technology included the LaneSense™ Lane Departure Warning that works with a system of cameras and sonar. This is also used for Adaptive Cruise Control that will modify the speed of the car in traffic and help with gas mileage. You can also use the system for both parallel and perpendicular parking assistance. The backup camera on the Limited model was a nice touch too.
On the Trailhawk model, you get an electronic locking rear axle, and the really cool hill descent/ascent mode where the Cherokee will monitor speed, angle, wheel spin and other factors to allow you to descend or ascend steep hills with ease. I know that in my home state of Utah, this would be great to have on snowy roads, both on the road and the trail.
All said, I love this new vehicle, and I would love to put one in my driveway. It’s more than an update. This is an entirely new vision for the Cherokee, and I like where we are headed with it.
To see more of Jake’s adventure, catch up on his videos on the Jeep YouTube channel.