One of the most ambitious features of the Jeep Cherokee's rebirth in 2014 was its standard and highly technical nine-speed automatic transmission from ZF Friedrichshafen AG. In fact, one of the reasons Cars.com purchased the redesigned Cherokee as a long-term test car was to test this new unit during a year of driving.
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The nine-speed is big news for lots of reasons. First off, it's innovative: The Cherokee is one of the only SUVs to use such a transmission and to cram nine gears in the limited space of a front-wheel-drive transmission, it uses a unique construction. Secondly, the little sucker delayed the Cherokee's launch for months as Jeep worked out powertrain programming issues.
After 14,000 miles of owning a four-cylinder Cherokee with all-wheel drive, here are nine things we've observed about our Jeep's nine-speed automatic transmission: