2014 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited: Car Seat Check

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With its rear doors and an additional 1.6 inches of rear legroom, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited seems like it's the family-friendly version of the smaller Jeep Wrangler. However, the Wrangler Unlimited's looks are deceiving. The Unlimited's bottom backseat cushion was nearly too short to properly fit our rear-facing infant seat's base; at least 80 percent of any car-seat base should be on the seat cushion.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two, but three car seats nearly fit.

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By Jennifer Newman | October 3, 2014 | Comments (0)

2014 Jeep Cherokee Ownership Costs: First Six Months

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The only out-of-pocket ownership costs for Cars.com's long-term 2014 Jeep Cherokee test car after six months and 11,413 miles have been fuel and the first scheduled oil change and tire rotation. The oil life indicator currently sits at 48 percent life left after 3,637 miles since the previous oil change, so we've still got a fair amount of time until the next scheduled maintenance.

Related: Our 2014 Jeep Cherokee's Wonky Transmission Gets Updated

Cost free doesn't mean trouble free, however. We're still battling erratic transmission behavior after the most recent transmission software update. Quality representatives from Jeep's parent company Chrysler read our latest transmission woes and put us in touch with a regional service advisor for a more in-depth diagnosis. We'll have more updates on the Cherokee's transmission after that appointment.

By Joe Bruzek | October 1, 2014 | Comments (0)

NHTSA: 5 Million Chrysler Vehicles Under Scrutiny for Stalling Problem

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Earlier this month, Cars.com reported that Chrysler was recalling nearly 190,000 model-year 2011 Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs due to a problem with the Totally Integrated Power Module that could cause the vehicles to stall suddenly. Today, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that it will formally review millions more Chrysler SUVs, pickup trucks and minivans starting with the 2007 model year due to complaints of problems associated with the same module. An Aug. 21 letter from advocacy group the Center for Auto Safety initiated the review, informing NHTSA of 63 complaints pertaining to problems allegedly caused by the module.

Recall Alert: 2011 Dodge Durango, Jeep Grand Cherokee

"The CAS alleges that TIPM failures have resulted in incidents of engine stall; airbag non-deployment; random horn, headlight, taillight, door lock, instrument panel and windshield wiper activity; failure of fuel pump shutoff resulting in unintended acceleration; and fires," NHTSA said in a statement, also noting that the CAS petition also references a class-action lawsuit that has been filed regarding the alleged module failure.

By Matt Schmitz | September 29, 2014 | Comments (2)

Recall Alert: 290,000 Chrysler Sedans, Wagons, SUVs

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Vehicles Affected: More than 290,000 model-year 2008 Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 sedans, Dodge Magnum station wagons, and Jeep Commander and Grand Cherokee SUVs, all manufactured before May 12, 2008

The Problem: Ignition keys may not fully return to the On position after rotation to the Start position during engine startup, instead remaining between the Start and On positions. If this happens, windshield defroster and wiper function may be lost, though not airbag function. Also possible, though less probable according to Chrysler, the ignition key could move through the On position to the Accessory or Off positions, causing reduced braking power and a loss of engine power, power steering and safety features such as front airbags. The automaker, which announced the voluntary recall today, said it is unaware of any injuries related to the problem.

The Fix: Chrysler said it will notify owners of when they can schedule service, which will be done for free. In the interim, the automaker advises drivers to confirm that their ignition keys are set in the On, or 1 o'clock, position after starting the vehicle to ensure engine power and functionality of all systems, including front airbags. Also, Chrysler says to separate ignition keys from key rings or other keys.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Chrysler at 800-853-1403 for more info.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

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By Matt Schmitz | September 25, 2014 | Comments (2)

Recall Alert: 2011 Dodge Durango, Jeep Grand Cherokee

2011DodgeDurangoRecall

Vehicles Affected: Nearly 190,000 model-year 2011 Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs manufactured between Jan. 5, 2010, and July 20, 2011, and equipped with either a 3.6-liter or 5.7-liter engine

The Problem: The fuel pump relay inside the Totally Integrated Power Module may fail, causing the vehicle to stall without warning, increasing the risk of a crash.

The Fix: Chrysler will begin notifying owners Oct. 24, and dealers will replace the fuel pump with one external to the module for free.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Chrysler at 800-853-1403 or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236, or go to www.safercar.gov, for more info.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

More Recalls

By Matt Schmitz | September 22, 2014 | Comments (3)

Our 2014 Jeep Cherokee's Wonky Transmission Gets Updated

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"Any transmission updates available?" is one of the first questions I ask when taking Cars.com's 2014 Jeep Cherokee long-term test car into the dealership for service. The nine-speed automatic transmission's operation has been an annoyance in an otherwise easygoing 12,000 miles. From the start, harsh upshifts have rocked the car from 2nd to 3rd gear, and the transmission sometimes struggles to find the right passing gear in our four-cylinder Cherokee with all-wheel drive.

Related: More on Cars.com's Long-Term Fleet

Last month, we had Jeep technicians plug in the latest transmission control module update, "68241129AB," while we were at the dealership having a second-row power outlet replaced. It had been inadvertently yanked out of place somehow. Chrysler spokeswoman Wendy Orthman said in an email about the transmission update, "It is to enhance throttle responsiveness and shifting smoothness across all nine gears. Some customers may notice the improvements, to others it may be seamless."

Our staff piloted the Cherokee for three weeks with the latest transmission programming. Did it do the trick? Read our staff's impressions below.

By Joe Bruzek | September 12, 2014 | Comments (7)

2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee: What's Changed

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Most significant changes: New appearance packages, noise cancellation for upper-crust trims, slightly more power for SRT
Price change: TBD
On sale: September/October
Which should you buy, 2014 or 2015? Vast majority of trims unchanged, so 2014

Jeep's popular Grand Cherokee has sprouted as many special editions as ... uh, most other cars from Fiat Chrysler Automobile. This time, the top-of-the-line Grand Cherokee Summit gets a California Edition appearance package, which adds body-colored — rather than chrome — door handles and mirrors, plus body-colored lower body panels instead of darker trim. The grille, fog-light bezels and a few other areas get unique "platinum chrome" accents, too. Inside, tan leather with black stitching joins the color palette.

Related: Real-Life Test: 3 Car Seats in the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Cosmetic updates aside, all Summit models add active noise cancellation and more noise abatement to the windshield and second-row windows.

There's also a tad bit more power for the Grand Cherokee SRT (above), whose 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 now makes 475 horsepower and 470 pounds-feet of torque — up 5 hp and 5 pounds-feet from the 2014 Grand Cherokee SRT. The SRT also adds active noise cancellation, and a new Red Vapor edition, which comes in red, white or black. The Red Vapor's other additions (all cosmetic) include unique 20-inch wheels, glossy black exterior trim and red cabin accents with an illuminated SRT steering-wheel logo.

By Kelsey Mays | September 1, 2014 | Comments (6)

2015 Jeep Cherokee: What's Changed

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Most significant changes: Stop-start now standard on V-6-equipped models

Price change: Prices increase $100 on all models except the Sport trim

On sale: Since late July

Which you should buy, 2014 or 2015? 2015

Jeep's all-new Cherokee managed to make a big splash in the crowded compact SUV field with a combination of distinctive styling, commendable on-road performance and off-road capability, a choice of three four-wheel-drive systems and a roomy, well-finished interior. That helped its appeal with Jeep loyalists who value off-road prowess as well as those who drive only on smooth pavement but want the versatility of a small SUV.

Related: Cars.com Long-Term 2014 Jeep Cherokee Coverage

Jeep delayed the launch of the 2014 Cherokee for a couple of months while it tried to fix shift quality issues with the also-new nine-speed automatic transmission, and we aren't convinced it is fully sorted out based on our long-term Cherokee test vehicle.

Aside from the transmission, though, there is much to like about the Cherokee, which offers a broad portfolio of safety features, a voice-operated infotainment system, interior furnishings that are a cut above and family-friendly utility. Because it was all-new for 2014, there are few changes to the 2015, which just recently went on sale.

By Rick Popely | September 1, 2014 | Comments (1)

2014 Jeep Cherokee Mileage Update: 10,261 Miles

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It's been a quiet 824-mile month for our long-term 2014 Jeep Cherokee tester that's otherwise averaged around double that through the first five months of ownership. Putting around the city has slightly dinged the average fuel economy by .12 mpg as the Cherokee takes a breather from the onslaught of road trips encountered in its first few months. Even with that drop, the four-cylinder, all-wheel-drive Cherokee is averaging very close to its 24 mpg combined rating.

By Joe Bruzek | August 28, 2014 | Comments (2)

Recall Alert: 2014 Jeep Cherokee and Ram 1500, 2015 Chrysler 200

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Vehicles Affected: Nearly 16,000 model-year 2014 Jeep Cherokee crossovers and Ram 1500s, and 2015 Chrysler 200 sedans

The Problem: Due to an insufficient weld, the rear shocks may detach from the vehicle at one end and possibly damage other chassis components or the tire, or result in reduced braking ability, increasing the risk of a crash.

The Fix: Chrysler will begin notifying owners this month, and dealers will inspect the rear shocks and replace any affected ones for free.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Chrysler at 800-853-1403, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or go to www.safercar.gov for more info.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Cars.com Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

More Recalls

By Matt Schmitz | August 21, 2014 | Comments (0)

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