Recall Alert: 2011-2014 Dodge Durango, Jeep Grand Cherokee

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Vehicles Affected: More than 651,000 model-year 2011-14 Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs manufactured between Jan. 5, 2010, and Dec. 11, 2013

The Problem: Wiring for the vanity lamp in the sun visor could short circuit after a service repair is performed, increasing the risk of a fire.

The Fix: Chrysler will notify owners starting in August, and dealers will inspect and repair any damaged wiring and install a new sun visor that properly routes the wire 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 visit www.safercar.gov 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 | July 11, 2014 | Comments (0)

2014 Jeep Cherokee Versus 2014 Mazda CX-5

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In our latest head-to-head comparison we pit Cars.com's long-term 2014 Jeep Cherokee against a formidable competitor: Mazda's 2015 CX-5. The CX-5 came to us in our regular rotation of press cars and was ripe for a duel with our Cherokee, which was looking for redemption after being defeated by the well-rounded 2014 Nissan Rogue.

More on Our Long-Term Test Fleet

We've had good experiences with both SUVs. The Cherokee was purchased because it's unique to an extreme and impressed our editors with its refined ride quality and class-leading technology. The CX-5 scored second place in Cars.com's $25,000 compact SUV comparison of 2012-13 models a few years ago thanks to its space-efficient design and stylish exterior.

By Joe Bruzek | July 9, 2014 | Comments (17)

Confounded by Car Technology? It's Time to Embrace It

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Today's technology-laden cars, SUVs and even trucks can be challenging for older drivers as well as car buyers who have been out of the market for several years. I'm among the many mature drivers who don't replace vehicles until they've been driven into the ground — my husband and I often go a decade or more between car purchases. Our current vehicles are of 2004 and 2006 vintage, and they lack much of the technology that's rapidly becoming common, often standard, on today's new cars.

Related: AAA Recommends Car Features for Older Drivers

As a Cars.com's copy editor, I'm encouraged to drive the test vehicles we receive at our Chicago offices so that I can experience the things I read about when I edit articles. I enjoy this part of the job, but it's proven to be a challenge due to unfamiliar technology. I often find myself communing with the owner's manual before I can leave the parking garage with one of our test cars.

Here are a few things other potentially overwhelmed car shoppers of any vintage should prepare to encounter:

By Jen Burklow | July 7, 2014 | Comments (11)

2014 Jeep Cherokee Ownership Costs: First Quarter

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The miles are turning over pretty fast on our long-term 2014 Jeep Cherokee — it's the only fast thing about our four-cylinder, all-wheel drive model. The Cherokee has been a favorite for road trips with its SUV versatility compared to our 2014 Chevrolet Impala long-term tester. We've observed a few quirks so far, but none have required any out-of-pocket expense to fix.

More on Cars.com's Long-Term Fleet

The only required ownership cost outside of fuel has been the Cherokee's first oil change and tire rotation — a total of $84.80. During the last couple of months, we also spent some money on extras such as a dog kennel ($142.41) and cooler ($60), which are accessories for the Cherokee's built-in cargo rail system.

By Joe Bruzek | June 27, 2014 | Comments (5)

2014 Jeep Cherokee Dog Kennel Tested

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One of the flashy features in the new Jeep Cherokee is its built-in cargo rail system. It promises flexibility for unique Jeep accessories like the cooler we recently tested. When we decided to purchase other accessories one that stood out was a custom-fit dog crate to keep canines safe on the road.

Get Ready for Summer With Jeep Cherokee's Custom Cooler

The collapsible dog crate is similar to others you would find in the pet supply world. The Jeep version retails at $165. Our internet price was $142.41, including shipping. Similarly sized crates can be had from $60 to $140, but they aren't custom-made for specific cars, a seeming advantage for the Cherokee's rail system. However, even though the Jeep crate is custom-tailored for the Cherokee, it does not use the much-hyped cargo rail at all.

By Jen Burklow | June 18, 2014 | Comments (1)

Recall Alert: 2014 Dodge Durango, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Cherokee

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Vehicles Affected: About 6,120 model-year 2014 Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs manufactured between Jan. 16 and April 8, 2014; Grand Cherokee SRT SUVs manufactured between Feb. 3 and April 8, 2014; and Cherokee crossovers manufactured between March 6 and April 17, 2014

The Problem: When the adaptive cruise control is engaged and the driver presses the accelerator pedal to increase the vehicle's speed more than the cruise control system would on its own, the vehicle may continue to accelerate briefly after the accelerator pedal is released, increasing the risk of a crash.

The Fix: Chrysler will begin notifying owners this month, and dealers will re-flash the Driver Assistance System Module for free.

What Owner 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 visit www.safercar.gov, 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 | June 9, 2014 | Comments (0)

NHTSA Probes 2012 Chrysler Airbag Recall Fix

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced today that it has opened a new investigation into the 2012 Chrysler recall of nearly three-quarters of a million Jeep SUVs to determine whether the automaker's fix was effective. The vehicles were recalled because of inadvertent airbag deployment; 744,000 model-year 2002-03 Jeep Liberty and 2002-04 Grand Cherokee SUVs were involved. The problem has been blamed for 215 reported incidents and 81 injuries. Since then, there have been reports of six vehicles with inadvertent airbag deployments resulting in no crashes but cuts and burns to occupants. The involved vehicles had undergone dealer repairs to prevent electrical spikes believed to have caused the deployments.

Get the full Detroit News story here.

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By Matt Schmitz | June 2, 2014 | Comments (0)

2014 Jeep Cherokee Mileage Update: 5,192 Miles

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Cars.com's long-term 2014 Jeep Cherokee test car racked up a massive 2,296 miles last month after an extensive road trip that logged almost double the mileage we've recorded in our first three months of ownership. The trip from Chicago to northern New York, then in the reverse direction to Detroit and finally back to Chicago bested many of the Cherokee's previous fuel economy numbers and boosted its overall average by nearly 2 mpg.

More on Our Long-Term Fleet

That trip generated big numbers for the Cherokee, exceeding the EPA's 28 mpg highway rating with a 30.97 mpg tank. If you don't recall, our Cherokee is a four-cylinder model with the base all-wheel-drive system and nine-speed automatic transmission. It's not surprising that the tank with the highest-recorded fuel economy also demolished the previous best range by 68.7 miles, going 419.7 miles before needing to be refueled. The road trip helped bump its overall average from a disappointing 20.68 mpg to a better 22.6 mpg average after 5,192 miles.

By Joe Bruzek | May 27, 2014 | Comments (5)

Get Ready for Summer With Jeep Cherokee's Custom Cooler

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The 2014 Jeep Cherokee's standard cargo module rail system is one of the features we wanted to use more thoroughly before deciding if it's gimmicky or if it's a useful way to keep cargo in check while on the go in our long-term test car. Summer is just around the corner, so it's a perfect time to test Jeep's accessory collapsible cooler designed for the Cherokee's rear rail system.

More on Our Long-Term Fleet

Jeep sells the cooler for $60; it's a fairly typical collapsible cooler with a padded shoulder strap, zipper top and soft flexible walls. The key difference between what you'll find on the shelf of a camping store and this cooler is the hook and strap for the Cherokee's standard cargo rail system. It's supposed to keep the cooler planted in the cargo area when on the go. We loaded up the cooler with ice and drinks to give it a whirl.

By Joe Bruzek | May 20, 2014 | Comments (1)

Drivers Admit to Most Embarrassing Moments

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In March, while I was driving the Cars.com 2014 Jeep Cherokee long-term test vehicle between Chicago and southeastern Missouri, there was a moment when, well, let's just say I wasn't the coolest dude at the gas station. After filling up, I left my passenger in the vehicle while I headed inside to use the men's room. While I was inside, my passenger decided to get something out of the back. Because I was out of range with the key fob in my pocket, when she opened her door, the anti-theft alarm went off, causing a scene for the 3 to 5 minutes I was away — an eternity in alarm-blaring time — while my passenger had to sit there and suffer the trauma of 1,000 tiny eye daggers. Upon my return, I did what anyone would have in my situation, I said loud enough for everyone to hear: "What'd you do?"

Smart ForTwo Tops List of Most Embarrassing Cars

Although we felt very alone in the moment, we really weren't. Not even close. In fact, our gaffe was No. 9 of 17 on Insurance.com's list of the most common driving embarrassments. Of the 2,000 drivers surveyed earlier this year (half men, half women), 22 percent admitted to the following mistake: "Accidentally started your car's panic alarm and couldn't turn it off quickly." Like safety, there is dignity in numbers.

By Matt Schmitz | May 13, 2014 | Comments (8)

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