Long-Term 2014 Jeep Cherokee: Life With the Uconnect System

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It's been nearly a year since Cars.com bought a long-term 2014 Jeep Cherokee, which gave us plenty of time to pit the vehicle against other small SUVs, observe real-world gas mileage and document long-term maintenance.

Related: Nine Things About the Jeep Cherokee's Nine-Speed Transmission

We also logged plenty of time with the Cherokee's 8.4-inch Uconnect touch-screen — specifically, the Uconnect 8.4AN. We came away generally impressed, though we had a few issues with the system too.

After 11 months, what's our verdict on Uconnect? Read on.

By Kelsey Mays | February 10, 2015 | Comments (0)

It's Getting Hot in Here: Jeep Cherokee's Heated Seats are Scorchers

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Cars.com's long-term 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited test car has a fantastic pair of heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. So much so that if I lived in a primarily wintry area I might be able to live with our Cherokee's pokey engine and erratic nine-speed automatic transmission every day. That's a big "might," but it could be worth the instant warmth and comfort the Cherokee's seats provide after they've had a long night in the cold.

Related: Follow Cars.com's Long-Term Fleet

Our chilly home base in Chicago provides plenty of frigid weather for testing different types of bum warmers in vehicles. Some work better than others; the Cherokee Limited's standard heated seats and heated steering wheel stand out. To see to how hot they get and how quickly it happens, I took an infrared temperature gauge to the leather-covered surfaces.

By Joe Bruzek | February 5, 2015 | Comments (0)

Nine Things About the Jeep Cherokee's Nine-Speed Transmission

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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.

Related: Follow Cars.com's Long-Term Fleet

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:

By Joe Bruzek | January 26, 2015 | Comments (9)

Only One Editor Used Our Jeep Cherokee's CD Player

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Our long-term fleet cars get around. Almost everyone on our editorial staff gets behind the wheel at some point, and a lot of those excursions are of the road-trip variety. Most are regular commutes of course, but with a long-term car the stereo is probably used more often than cars in for shorter examinations.

Related: More on Our Long-Term Fleet

Our 2014 Jeep Cherokee came with an optional — yes optional at $195 — CD player, which is located in the center console cubby, not in the dash. Most of our test drivers plugged in their smart devices via USB or tethered wirelessly via Bluetooth during trips adding up to 15,000-plus miles. There were also options for terrestrial and satellite radio. Those seemed to be enough choices for hours upon hours of listening for our staff ... all except for one.

By David Thomas | January 21, 2015 | Comments (6)

We Bought a 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

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Cars.com just named the redesigned Mercedes-Benz C-Class our Best of 2015 car. As we've done in recent years, we purchased one to put our money where our mouth is. Naturally, the process kicked off with a familiar question: Which C-Class would we get? Among the new 2015 C-Class sedans on Cars.com, we found more than 150 examples within 50 miles of our Chicago offices. We've already driven both the C300 and C400, and we deemed the C400's extra power unnecessary versus the already-punchy C300, particularly since it starts some $10,000 higher.

Related: Cars.com Names 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Best of 2015

We settled on the C300. Given the nature of Chicago weather, we opted for all-wheel drive, and so set our sights on a 2015 C300 4Matic sedan; that combination accounted for more than 80 percent of the 2015 C-Class sedans in dealer inventory near our offices at the time we were shopping. Including destination, the C300 4Matic starts at $41,325 but can spiral past $60,000 if you load up the options. Still, most examples on Cars.com near us were listed between $45,000 and $55,000.

We settled on a plan. We'd visit a Mercedes dealership near downtown Chicago to see what option groups were popular; then we'd email that dealership along with a few others when we had an idea of the equipment that we wanted. As always, we told salespeople we were looking to buy a company car, providing only our personal email addresses and mobile phone numbers. We revealed only after the price had been agreed to that we worked for Cars.com.

By Kelsey Mays | January 14, 2015 | Comments (9)

What It Cost To Own Our Jeep Cherokee After 14,000 Miles

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Our long-term Jeep 2014 Cherokee received a lot more than its second oil change when we took the SUV in for service at 13,300 miles. In fact, the Jeep received its second engine. Replacing the 2.4-liter four-cylinder was a roundabout way of changing the oil, but it came at no cost to us since it was covered by Jeep's five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Related: Why Jeep Replaced Our 2014 Cherokee's Engine

Since our previous quarterly update, editors accumulated 2,723 miles to the tune of $391 in fuel. Otherwise, our wallets haven't been lightened by the Cherokee aside from fuel, the first scheduled maintenance as well as the Jeep accessories we purchased: a dog kennel ($142.41) that attaches to metal cargo hooks in the cargo area and a cooler ($60) that uses the Cherokee's built-in cargo rail system.

By Joe Bruzek | January 7, 2015 | Comments (1)

Would We Buy a Chevrolet Impala Again?

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When the Chevrolet Impala was redesigned for 2014 it got our attention in a big way, winning both Cars.com's $38,000 Full-Size Sedan Challenge as well as our Best of 2014 award — so we bought one. Since December 2013, the Cars.com staff accumulated 15,800 miles on the sedan. The Impala proved near bulletproof in terms of reliability with no trips to the dealership for warranty repairs and just two no-charge oil changes as part of Chevrolet's two-year free maintenance plan.

Related: We Bought a 2014 Chevrolet Impala

Well, we also bent two rims to the tune of a $1,300 repair bill after getting up close and personal with Chicago's deepest potholes. And then there were the recalls, of which our car had three: taillight condensation, a poor power steering ground wire connection and a faulty parking brake, all of which were taken care of when the car was in for oil changes or wheel repair.

All in all, it was an eventful year for the large sedan; would we buy it again? Cars.com's editors — the Impala's daily drivers — weighed in:

By Joe Bruzek | January 2, 2015 | Comments (8)

Why Jeep Replaced Our 2014 Cherokee's Engine

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Jeep replaced the engine in our 2014 Cherokee. Here's why.

It seemed simple enough. Drop off Cars.com's long-term Cherokee at our local dealership to diagnose an occasional drivability issue and get the oil changed. Our Cherokee had thrown a tantrum a few days earlier where the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine stalled multiple times, but, of course, it was driving perfectly fine en route to the dealership.

Related: Follow Cars.com's Long-Term Fleet

We thought maybe the Jeep needed a software flash update to the engine's computer, or maybe a rat had chewed through an engine harness while the SUV sat outside in these cold Chicago temps, as had happened to our Chevrolet Volt. The last thing we expected to hear was that our Cherokee was getting a new engine at only 13,300 miles. After all, the four-cylinder didn't spectacularly fail in a burst of shattered pistons and connecting rods leaving us stranded on the side of the road. We drove the Cherokee into the service bay under its own power, as it was operating fairly normally.

What the technician found there was surprising, though: excessive amounts of oil had crept into the intake side of the engine, coating the intake manifold, hoses and an engine management sensor.

By Joe Bruzek | December 22, 2014 | Comments (18)

What Mileage Does the 2014 Jeep Cherokee Get After 13,000 miles?

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After climbing to its maximum average of 23.67 mpg, our long-term 2014 Jeep Cherokee test car just dipped below 23 mpg after 13,000 miles. A 16.8 mpg refuel marks the lowest recorded tank since our purchase of the four-cylinder all-wheel-drive Cherokee in March and was one of four fill-ups below 23 mpg since our last update 982 miles ago: 16.8 mpg, 19 mpg, 21.9 mpg and 22.8 mpg.

Related: More Long-Term Fleet News

By Joe Bruzek | November 26, 2014 | Comments (6)

Five Ways the Cherokee Reminds You It's a Jeep

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If there's any automaker that doesn't have an identity crisis, it's Jeep. The rugged necessity from which the iconic wartime Willys was birthed in 1941 is still prevalent in Jeep's modern design, most notably in the Wrangler and sprinkled throughout Jeep's lineup. Even Cars.com's front-wheel-drive-based 2014 Jeep Cherokee long-term test car has its share of shoutouts to Jeep's past; some are easier to find than others.

Related: More Long Term Fleet Coverage

The cues and "Easter eggs" hidden throughout our long-term tester make you feel as if you're part of an elite club. You know, like the the bumper sticker, "It's a Jeep Thing, You Wouldn't Understand." Even if the Cherokee isn't the most Jeep-like of Jeeps given we own a four-cylinder all-wheel-drive model and it's based on a Fiat chassis, there's still a sense of Jeep pride when you see the following cues scattered throughout the Cherokee's interior.

By Joe Bruzek | November 12, 2014 | Comments (0)

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