Let’s get something straight right away: The Jeep Cherokee is not a Wrangler. Nor does it want to be. Yes, the Wrangler will take you to off-road nirvana, but try a 4-hour road trip and report back.
The ’14 Jeep Cherokee, with its fetching interior, pleasant on-road demeanor and available trail-ready drivetrain, is the ideal vehicle for the consumers – and we know there are many – who want a Jeep for its brand image and because it feels good on dirt roads and in the snow and driving across expanses of green grass that serve as makeshift parking lots during the summertime festival season.
Stepping up to the Grand Cherokee requires greater capital outlay, so it looks and feels more luxurious. In that regard, its off-road credibility suffers.
That’s what makes the Cherokee an ideal package that earns a 2014 Wards 10 Best Interiors trophy. Truth be told, it’s more akin to the Grand Cherokee than the brutish Wrangler, at least aesthetically, which is a good thing.
But consider pricing, which starts at $22,995, a mere $600 more than the Wrangler. The well-equipped Jeep Cherokee Limited 4x4 that arrived for evaluation is so spacious (yet compact), rugged (yet refined) and stylish (yet straightforward) that the down-market Patriot and Compass become distant memories.
For a reasonable $37,525 (including $995 destination charge), the Cherokee Limited comes with two crystal-clear display screens, a cargo management system in back, premium leather-trimmed bucket seats that are heated and ventilated and an entire suite of active-safety technologies such as blindspot and cross-path detection, stop-and-go adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning. It can even park itself.
The perforated leather stands out as perhaps the defining characteristic of the Cherokee Limited interior. At first glance, it appears dark gray.
But get it in the light. The color scheme, branded as “Vesuvio,” erupts with a blend of “Jeep Brown” and “Indigo Blue,” punctuated by white stitching that pulls together artistically cut pieces of leather.
For some customers, the pattern might seem busy and even off-putting, but not for edge-creeping Jeep loyalists. Who knew brown and blue went together so well on the color wheel?
On their score sheets, WardsAuto editors praise the bold colors, as well as the Cherokee’s roominess, excellent build quality, sparsely used metallic accents and easy access to driver information.
Jeeps are famous for celebrating the world outdoors. But in the case of the Cherokee, it’s worth celebrating the world indoors.