Although the modern look of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee definitely shows a new direction for the brand, drivers can count on the Trailhawk edition to stay the course in terms of off-road capabilities. That's the bottom line from Mudfest, presented annually by the Northwest Automotive Press Association (NWAPA) and held at the DirtFish Rally School in Snoqualmie, Wash.
Needless to say, the 2014 Jeep Cherokee was able to school the competition, too, thanks to a full complement of off-road performance enhancers like the brand's Jeep Active Drive Lock 4X4 system. One of three all-wheel-drive setups offered for the Cherokee family, it's standard on the Trailhawk and adds a locking rear differential to the highly capable Active Drive II system for "superior low-speed power for severe off-road conditions." Owners also can fine-tune the Trailhawk for specific road (and trail) conditions though the also-standard Selec-Terrain traction control system that offers five driving modes, highlighted by a specific "Rock" setting.
The award-winning Trailhawk variant is fitted with skid plates and red tow hooks as well, and designers even modified the front and rear fascias of the standard 2014 Jeep Cherokee for improved approach, breakover and departure angles, which are listed at 29.8, 23.3 and 32.1 degrees, respectively.
And while Mudfest obviously focused on getting down and dirty, the 2014 Jeep Cherokee's all-around success also includes honors such as:
- 10 Best Interior Award from WardsAuto
- SUV of the Year from the Rocky Mountain Press Association
- Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year from the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada
- Driver's Choice Award from MotorWeek
- SUV of the Year from the Hispanic Motor Press
- Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Then, along with the 2014 Jeep Cherokee, the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee made its mark at Mudfest as the Best Premium Standard choice of the NWAPA. Specifically, it was the Grand Cherokee Limited 4X4 model equipped with a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine that delivers up to 30 mpg in highway driving but still offers 240 hp and a massive 420 lb.-ft. of torque for plenty of power and capability.
Both the 2014 Jeep Cherokee and Jeep Grand Cherokee, priced from $22,995 and $29,195, are on sale now.