- Jul 14, 2009
- NY Capital District
So the time with my rental car is coming to an end, as I prepare to head back to the land of Ohio to pick up my car after being repaired. I've spent the last 2 weeks with a 2016 Jeep Cherokee Limited from enterprise, paid for by my insurance company. It's a 4 cylinder, FWD, limited. Pictures will follow shortly. Let's start with probably the first thing BITOGers want to know about- the 9 speed transmission. How is it? Actually, really good. It's very smooth, the gearing is very well spaced, and shifts are unobtrusive. Does it shift a lot? Yeah. Is it obnoxious? Not in the least. Part of the reason for this is several of the gears are overdrives. 9th gear is basically impossible to be in, unless you are going 90mph, or are on a long downhill slope. At least, with the 4 cylinder, maybe with the 6 you'd see it more. Highway cruising at 75mph it alternated between 7th and 8th, depending on incline. In 8th gear at 75mph, the engine was only turning maybe 1900-2000rpm. 7th is about 2500rpm. On the way back to NY from ohio, I took the southern tier expwy across southern NYS,with 2 of my friends in the car with luggage, with the A/C on, at 75mph, and somehow managed 30-31mpg. I'm actually very impressed with that, this 2.4L Fiat-derived multi-air 4 cylinder is pretty impressive. It's not the most powerful engine (184HP I believe) but coupled with the 9 speed automatic, it moves the heavy cherokee well enough. It's not an engine you want to wind out though, it's happiest at lower RPMs, where it has plenty of torque. An impressive amount for an N/A 4 cylinder. And the 9 speed auto is able to keep it in it's happy place. Coupled with the surprisingly excellent fuel economy, it's an impressive package. Of note however, is that mine is FWD only, no 4WD. I'd imagine the transfer case and additional drivetrain machinery might ding that a bit, so take it as it you will. I wasn't a huge fan of the styling on the Cherokees at first, but they've grown on me, and I quite like it. It looks great with the black metallic paint. The interior is ridiculously nice, when I look back at my dad's 99 Wrangler, and other Jeeps I've been in over the years. The interior is luxurious, no other word for it. Almost all materials are soft touch, it's well put together with no rattles or panel gaps. The steering wheel is hefty, with really nice leather (also, HEATED STEERING WHEEL. This would be awesome in the winter) leather seats (also heated). It has the 8.4" touchscreen with excellent uconnect media interface. It's very responsive, buttons are large and easy to see and press. I like that it automatically connects to bluetooth audio on my phone when I get in it, unlike my focus where I have to hit the sync button and say "bluetooth audio" every time I get in my car. The touchscreen is where in addition to controlling the radio, bluetooth and USB audio (oh, the USB port charges phones pretty fast, it's definitely closer to a 1A charger than 500mA). is where you turn on the heated seats, heated steering wheel, etc. It's also where the backup camera shows, and I'll be honest, the backup camera on a nice big screen like that is sweet. Otherwise rear visibility isn't the best anyway, so it's very helpful to have. The LCD/driver information center is also nice, it has a high resolution screen that looks beautiful. It has a speedometer, a detailed trip computer that shows trip average fuel economy in addition to the normal fuel economy display (which shows current, and average fuel economy). It also has something I wish more cars had, a "vehicle information" which shows realtime trans, and coolant temp, battery voltage, and "oil temp" (that one isn't a digital display though, it's a fake gauge). The tach and speedometer are attractive, the speedometer is a bit condensed, but still easy to read. The engine temp and fuel gauges are digital, on the bottom of the DIC. The one thing I'm not a fan of really is putting the volume and forward/back buttons on the back of the steering wheel, I prefer them on the front. But that's a nitpick. The turn signal and wiper stalks are substantial, have a quality feel, and the mechanism when you use them also feels substantial, and high quality. There is plenty of leg and headroom for me, and even my friend who is 6'3 and has extremely long legs (has has a very hard time getting comfortable in my Focus, even with the seats all the way back) had plenty of room. Rear storage behind the 2nd row isn't that great compared to some other crossovers, but it's pretty good still. Also, Fiat-Chrysler did HVAC well. It's not quite as good as the normal 3 knobs, but it has one knob for fan control, up/down temperature buttons (one set for passenger and driver), and buttons to switch between different levels. The volume knob, seek knob, and the fan control knob are also of a high quality, solid feel. All switchgear and buttons feels quality and expensive, more like what you'd expect in a BMW or Mercedes. There is storage EVERYWHERE. The center console has 2 levels and is deep, the seat cushion on the passenger seat flips up to reveal a large storage space under the seat, there is the cubby on top of the dash as well. I didn't go looking in the backseat for more storage, but I'm pretty sure there is more back there as well. Driving impressions, it handles competently for a vehicle this size and weight. It's not exactly a blast to drive in the corners, it's merely competent, with not much body roll. The Continental ProContact tires and suspension do a great job soaking up the bumps on the highway and around town. It is definitely a crossover though, and not nearly as sporty feeling as even my focus does. But that's not what it's there for anyway. highway ride is extremely quiet, there is tons of sound deadening, it's whisper quiet. Oh, and this version had a rocking sound system with subwoofer. One of my new favorite features, since it has the push button start, which I could care less about, BUT has, is if you walk up to the car with the keys in your pocket, and put your hand on the door handle, it will automatically unlock the door for you. It's a small thing, but amused me to no end, and I'll kind of miss it. There is also a button on the door handles to lock the doors after you close them, instead of using the key fob. So, overall thoughts. It's a great car, I'm very impressed with what Fiat-Chrysler has done here. It's a solid, substantial feeling crossover, with lots of room, a comfortable quiet ride, a moderately torquey engine, a great transmission, with a well appointed, well laid out interior that also gets great gas mileage, with lots of great technology features. It's a solid vehicle, and one I could see myself owning in a few years. Pictures will follow shortly, but if you have any questions hit me.