The Truth About Cars » Cherokee http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 01 Aug 2014 21:12:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Cherokee http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Select 2015 Chrysler 200, Jeep Cherokee Models To Receive Stop-Start http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/select-2015-chrysler-200-jeep-cherokee-models-to-receive-stop-start/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/select-2015-chrysler-200-jeep-cherokee-models-to-receive-stop-start/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2014 11:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=852065 A select group of 2015 Chrysler 200s and Jeep Cherokees will enter showrooms with stop-start technology on-board later this year. Automotive News reports Chrysler Group will install the tech in Cherokees equipped with its 3.2-liter V6 in Q3 2014, while 200s with the 2.4-liter I4 will receive it in Q4 2014. Cherokees with the 2.4 […]

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A select group of 2015 Chrysler 200s and Jeep Cherokees will enter showrooms with stop-start technology on-board later this year.

Automotive News reports Chrysler Group will install the tech in Cherokees equipped with its 3.2-liter V6 in Q3 2014, while 200s with the 2.4-liter I4 will receive it in Q4 2014. Cherokees with the 2.4 and 200s with the 3.6 V6 will not have stop-start aboard.

With stop-start, the Cherokee will net 19 mpg in the city at its most fuel-efficient configuration. The 200 fares slightly better at 23 mpg for its most efficient model.

Both the sedan and crossover share the same platform and a number of components, including Chrysler’s new nine-speed automatic transmission.

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Jeep’s Nine-Speed Undergoes Second Reflash For 100k Cherokees http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/jeeps-nine-speed-undergoes-second-reflash-for-100k-cherokees/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/jeeps-nine-speed-undergoes-second-reflash-for-100k-cherokees/#comments Fri, 30 May 2014 10:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=834313 Remember the nine-speed transmission in the new Jeep Cherokee that gave our rising superstar managing editor a hard time, followed by everyone else giving him a hard time about the truth of this car before walking back their statements in light of their seeing the light? More than 100,000 of the crossovers built before May […]

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2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited V6 Exterior-002

Remember the nine-speed transmission in the new Jeep Cherokee that gave our rising superstar managing editor a hard time, followed by everyone else giving him a hard time about the truth of this car before walking back their statements in light of their seeing the light? More than 100,000 of the crossovers built before May 5 will need theirs readjusted.

Automotive News reports the software in the affected units will be subject to a five-minute software reflash, followed by a 78-minute test drive to ensure the transmission’s ability to learn how its owner drives is no longer hindered by digital bugs. While all owners will not need to bring their vehicles in for the work, those who do feel their transmission is lacking will have the fix covered for free under warranty.

The nine-speed, which also feeds power to the front and/or all four corners of the 2015 Chrysler 200, has been reflashed once before, and problems early on led to a delay in the introduction of the new Cherokee to sort out the kinks. For what it’s worth, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne isn’t concerned about what may be dinging the quality of the new transmission:

There are always teething issues with every transmission I’ve ever built, and I mean that literally. We keep tuning the transmission more and more as we get more familiar with it.

I’m never satisfied, but I think I’m OK with its application in the current car. It will get better six months from now, trust me.

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Review: 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited V6 4×4 (With Video) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/review-2014-jeep-cherokee-limited-v6-4x4-with-video/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/review-2014-jeep-cherokee-limited-v6-4x4-with-video/#comments Thu, 20 Feb 2014 14:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=739825 The folks at Jeep have known for some time that high volume on-road models have to be part of the mix to keep low volume off-road models viable. From the 1946 Willys Station Wagon and the original Wagoneer, to the Grand Cherokee and the Compass, Jeep has been on a steady march towards the word […]

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2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited V6 Exterior-002

The folks at Jeep have known for some time that high volume on-road models have to be part of the mix to keep low volume off-road models viable. From the 1946 Willys Station Wagon and the original Wagoneer, to the Grand Cherokee and the Compass, Jeep has been on a steady march towards the word no Wrangler owner wants to hear: “crossover”. Their plan is to replace the off-road capable Liberty and compete with the RAV4, CR-V and 20 other small crossovers with one vehicle: the 2014 Cherokee.

With two ambitious (and contradictory) missions and unconventional looks, the Cherokee has turned into one of the most polarizing cars in recent memory. It is therefore no surprise the Cherokee has been getting mixed reviews. USA Today called it “unstoppable fun” while Consumer Reports called it “half baked” with a “choppy ride and clumsy handling.” Our own Derek Kreindler came away disappointed with its on-road performance at the launch event, though he had praise for the Cherokee’s off-road capabilities. What should we make of the glowing reviews, and the equally loud dissenting voices?

Click here to view the embedded video.

Exterior

I’ve always said styling is a personal preference and although the Cherokee is far from my cup of tea, I’m glad Chrysler decided to color outside the lines. The “bent” 7-slot grill still strikes me as peculiar, but what made me scratch my head more is the lighting. You’ll find the headlamps in the middle of the bumper cover behind a smoked plastic lens, while the daytime running lamps and turn signals live in a separate module high up on the front, Meanwhile, the fog lamps are nestled at the bottom of the bumper. Out back the Cherokee is far more mainstream with a fairly plain (and very vertical) rear hatch. Overall the looks are certainly striking and unmistakable, I’m just not sure if that’s a good thing.

The Cherokee is “kinda-sorta” based on the Dodge Dart which itself is more-or-less a stretched and widened Alfa Romeo Giulietta. While some Jeep fans call any car-based Jeep heresy, the Cherokee isn’t the first car/SUV hybrid at Jeep and it won’t be the last. The side profile, specifically the front overhang, is where the Cherokee’s dual mission starts to show. A transverse mounted engine creates a long overhang compared to a traditional RWD SUV. This isn’t a problem in the Patriot, which has much lower aspirations, but does pose a problem for “the off-road crowd.” To compensate, the Cherokee rides higher than the competition (7.8 to 8.8 inches) and uses two different bumper designs. Sport, Latitude and Limited trims get a more traditional (if you can call it that) bumper design with a fairly flat front while Trailhawk models pull the bottom of the bumper up to allow a 50% better approach angle and causing a “wedge-like” front profile. Out back similar changes to the rear bumper improve the Trailhawk’s departure angle.

2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited Interior-004

Interior

While the Grand Cherokee continues it’s mission as the “American Range Rover,” anyone looking for the Cherokee to be the “American Evoque” is going to be disappointed. Even so, I found the the interior to be class leading in many ways, with more soft touch plastics than you’ll find in the competition. Chrysler fitted the Grand Cherokee’s chunky steering wheel to the smaller Jeep which gives the cabin a more premium feel. Most Cherokees on dealer lots will have a leather wrapped wheel, but base models get a urethane tiller. The Cherokee retains the optional steering wheel heater from the Grand Cherokee, but ditches the paddle shifters.

The wide front seats are deeply padded, supportive and easily the best in the segment in terms of comfort. Thankfully, the engineers ditched the “dome-shaped” bottom cushion found in other Chrysler products allowing you to sit “in” the seats, not “on” the seats. Most models get a fold-flat front passenger seat improving cargo versatility, but that option is incompatible with the optional “ventilated front seats and multi-way with four-way power lumbar support” package for the front passenger.

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Although not as comfortable as the front, the second row is easily the most comfortable in the segment. Seat cushions are thickly padded, recline, and slide fore/aft to adjust the cargo area dimensions. (Or get a child seat closer.) The Cherokee offers two inches more rear legroom than CR-V, three more than RAV4 and nearly four inches more than Escape. The seat bottom cushions also ride higher off the ground so adults won’t feel like they have their knees in their chest.

Because of the need for off-road-capable departure angles and ground clearance, a compromise had to be made and I found it behind the [optional] power tailgate. The Cherokee suffers from the smallest cargo hold among its target cross-shops by a wide margin at 24.8 cubic feet. The next smallest entry (the CX-5) will hold over 40% more behind the second row (34 cubes) while the Rogue’s generous booty will swallow 40 cubic feet of whatever. Note: The Cherokee’s spec sheet lists cargo capacity at 29.7 cubic feet but that measurement is taken with the 2nd row adjusted all the way forward in its tracks which cuts rear legroom down to well below the competition.

2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited Interior uConnect 8.4

Infotainment

Depending on trim level, you’ll find two different systems in the dash. Things start out with uConnect 5.0 in the Sport and Latitude. Running on a Microsoft OS (like Ford SYNC), this unit is more sluggish than the UNIX-based 8-inch system but offers many of the same features excluding navigation. While other Chrysler/Fiat models with uConnect 5.0 have the option to add TomTom navigation at a later date, that doesn’t seem to apply here. The touchscreen features full USB/iPod integration, optional XM satellite radio and a Bluetooth speakerphone in addition to acting as the climate control display and seat heater controls. Sound thumps out via 6-standard speakers, and you can pay $200 for an optional CD player if you haven’t joined the 2st century.

Optional on Latitude and standard on Limited/Trailhawk is the 8-inch QNX UNIX based “uConnect 8.4.” The system features polished graphics, snappy screen changes and a large, bright display. All the features you expect from a connected car are standard, from voice commands for USB/iDevice control to smartphone integration allowing you to stream audio from Pandora, iHeart or Slacker. You can have text messages read to you, dictate replies and search for restaurants or businesses via Yelp. In addition to the smartphone-tied features, it integrates a CDMA modem on the Sprint network for over-the-air software updates and access to the new “App Store.” Since there’s a cell modem on-board, uConnect can be configured to act as a WiFi hot spot for your tablets and game devices. Completing the information assault is SiriusXM’s assortment of satellite data services from traffic updates to fuel prices. 2014 also brings uConnect Access which is Chrysler’s answer to GM’s OnStar providing 911 assistance, crash notification and vehicle health reports.

For an extra $795 you can add Garmin’s navigation software to the system and Chrysler tells us that the nav software can be added after purchase. Our tester had the $395 optional 9-speaker sound system with a subwoofer. Sound quality ranged from average with the standard 6-speaker setup to excellent with the optional speakers. Unfortunately, the up-level speaker package requires you have navigation as well, bringing the price bump to $1190 if you were only after the louder beats.

2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited 3.2L V6 Engine-002

Drivetrain

All trims start with Chrysler’s 2.4L “Tigershark” four-cylinder engine delivering 184 horsepower and 171 lb-ft of twist. Optional on all but the Sport is a new 3.2L V6 good for 271 horses and 239 lb-ft. Sadly we won’t get the 2.0L Fiat diesel on our shores, but if you’re lucky enough to be able to burn oil in your country, that engine delivers 170 ponies and 258 lb-ft of twist. Power is sent to the ground via a controversial 9-speed automatic designed by ZF and built by Chrysler. The 9-speed is very similar to the one used in the Range Rover Evoque although few parts are directly interchangeable.

While most crossovers offer a single AWD system Jeep gives you three options. First up we have a traditional slip-and-grip AWD system with a multi-plate clutch pack (Active Drive) that sends power to the rear when required. Jeep combined this with a “rear axle disconnect” feature to improve fuel economy. This is the system you’ll find on most of the Sport, Latitude and Limited Cherokees on dealer lots.

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Available on Latitude and Limited is Active Drive II which adds a segment-exclusive rock crawl ratio. Because of the way transverse transaxles work, this system operates differently than a longitudinal (RWD) system in that there are actually two two-speed transfer cases. Power exits the transmission and enters a “PTU” where power is split front and rear. Up front, power flows from the PTU to a 2-speed planetary gearset and then back into the transmission’s case to the front differential. For the back wheels, power flows from the multi-plate clutch pack and rear axle disconnect clutch inside the PTU to an angle gear unit which rotates power 90-degrees and connects to the prop shaft. The prop shaft connects to another 2-speed planetary gearset and then finally to the rear axle.

Engaging 4-Low causes the PTU to engage the rear axle and engage the primary low ratio gearset.  At the same time, the low ratio gearset in the rear axle unit engages. Vehicle electronics confirm that the system has engaged both units before you can move forward. Should you need the ultimate in off-road ability, the Trailhawk throws in a locking rear differential (this is the third system, called Active Drive Lock), hill ascent/descent control and various stability control programs for off-road terrain. Before you ask “is this a real low-ratio?” 4-Low is 56:1 with the 2.4L engine and 47.8:1 with the 3.2L. That 56:1 ratio is lower than anything Jeep has sold, save the Wrangler Rubicon’s insane 73:1.

2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited V6 Exterior-004Modifications

Being the owner of a Jeep with a minor four-inch lift kit installed, after-market options are near and dear. Of course RAV4/CR-V/Escape shoppers aren’t your typical lift-kit demographic, so for many of you, this section isn’t germane. Because of the Cherokee’s design, ride height modifications are not going to be as easy as with solid-axle Jeeps of yore. With longitudinal engine mounting and solid axles, lifting is an easy task up to around four-inches, at which point you may need to start thinking about new driveshafts and possible U-joint replacements. With a design like the Cherokee’s, anything beyond an inch or two can result in serious suspension geometry changes that have a huge impact on handling and tire wear. While it would be possible to design kits with four new half-shafts, springs and suspension bits that would lift and correct the geometry change, I suspect the costs would be prohibitive, so don’t expect much more than a 2-3 inch spring-spacer kit for base models and 1-2 inches for the Trailhawk.

Pricing

Most shoppers will be deciding between the Sport, Latitude and Limited trims starting at $22,295, $24,495 and $27,995 respectively for FWD models. Adding AWD increases the price tag by $2,000 and on Latitude and Limited and you can get the low ratio gearbox with a 1-inch suspension bump for an additional $995. The Sport model comes well equipped compared to the competition with that 5-inch infotainment system, auto-down windows and most creature comforts you expect except for air conditioning. You’ll find A/C in the oddly named $795 “cold weather group” which also includes heated mirrors, a leather steering wheel, remote start, heated front seats and a windshield wiper de-icer. At the base level the Sport is roughly the same price as the Toyota and Honda but adding the $795 package pushes the price comparison in the Jeep’s favor by more than $1,000.

2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited Interior-008

Latitude adds a standard 115V outlet, leather wrapped steering wheel, auto up/down windows, fold flat front seat, ambient lighting, A/C, steering wheel audio controls and fog lamps in addition to allowing access to the more robust AWD system, V6 engine and navigation. Limited tosses in power front seats, the 7-inch LCD instrument cluster (seen above), an auto dimming mirror, heated steering wheel, soft touch plastics on the doors, automatic headlamps, one year of XM radio, turn signals on the side mirrors and the ability to option your Cherokee up to $40,890 by adding self-parking, cooled seats, HID headlamps and more options than I care to list.

Then there is the Trailhawk. As the only CUV with a 2-speed transfer case, locking differential, tow hooks, off-road oriented software programming and all-terrain rubber, this Cherokee is in a class by itself. It’s also priced in a class by itself. Starting at $29,495 and ending at $40,890, the Trailhawk has a similar MSRP spread as the Limited but it trades the optional luxury items for off-road hardware.

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Drive

Chrysler decided to make the Cherokee the first recipient of their new technology onslaught. If you’re willing to pay, you can option your Jeep up with a full-speed range radar cruise control, collision warning and collision prevention with automatic braking, cooled seats, lane departure warning and prevention and rear cross path collision detection. The Cherokee is also Chrysler’s first self-parking car, and like the new Mercedes S-Class, the Jeep will back itself into perpendicular spots in addition to parallel parking. The tech worked well and is as easy to use as Ford’s system, although I’m not sure I want to live in a world where folks can’t perpendicular park. (You know, in regular old parking spaces.) If you opt for the ultrasonic parking sensors, the Cherokee will also apply the brakes before you back into that shopping cart you didn’t see.

Most reviewers are so caught up in the way the 9-speed automatic shifts. The truth is, hybrids, dual clutch transmissions, robotized manuals, CVTs and automatics with new technologies are only going to become more common and it’s time we in the auto press adjusted. If you want to know more about why the 9-speed does what it does, check our our deep dive on dog clutches. All I’m going to say here is that I got used to the way the transmission shifts and it never really bothered me.

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At 4,100lbs the Cherokee is 600lbs heavier than a comparable RAV4 or CX-5. The extra weight is caused by the structural reinforcements required for off roading. Unfortunately it causes some on-road compromises. Acceleration with the 2.4L engine is adequate but sluggish compared to the lighter competition. The V6 on the other hand hits 60 MPH in 6.5 seconds which ties with the 2.0L Ecoboost Escape as the fastest in the class. Regardless of the engine you choose, the Cherokee has one of the quietest cabins in the segment thanks to extensive sound deadening. All the foam comes in handy on 2.4L models as the small engine spends more time in lower gears thanks to the Cherokee’s heft.

Once on the highway the 9-speed automatic helped the porky crossover average a respectable 23.7 MPG, just 1.3 MPG behind the much slower RAV4. The economy is all down to the rear axle disconnect feature and the 9-speed transmission. By completely disconnecting the rear axle via a clutch, parasitic losses drop to nearly zero when compared to other small crossovers. The downside to this is that when the system is in “Auto” power is sent 100% to the front axle until there is slip at which point the Cherokee must re-connect the rear axle then engage a secondary multi-plate clutch to move power. This system allows greater economy but is much slower to react and adds some weight to the mix. To compensate, the Cherokee allows you to fully lock the center coupling and engage the rear axle at any speed by engaging various drive modes. Thanks to an extremely tall 9th gear, the V6 spins at a lazy 1,500 RPM at 82 MPH allowing a reported 25 MPG on level ground.

2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited Wheel

The heavy and substantial feel on winding roads and reminded me more of the Grand Cherokee than your average CUV. Soft springs and well-tuned dampers delivered a supple ride on a variety of surfaces and the Cherokee never felt unsettled. However, those same suspension choices allow plenty of body roll in the corners, tip when accelerating and dive when braking. As with most entries, the Cherokee uses electric power steering so there is precious little feel behind the wheel. When pushed near its limits, the Cherokee delivers reasonable grip thanks to wide tires and a 57/43 (F/R) weight balance which is essentially the same as the CX-5. If this sounds like the on-road description of a body-on-frame SUV from 10 years ago, you’re not far off base. But is that a bad thing? Not in my book. Why? It’s all about the other half of the Cherokee’s mission.

With more ground clearance, a rated water fording depth of 20 inches, 4,500lbs of towing capacity and a more robust AWD system, the Cherokee can follow the Grand Cherokee down any trail without fear. Of course both Jeeps should be careful not to follow a Wrangler, as neither is as off-road capable as they used to be, but the gist is that both are far more capable than the average crossover. Jeep’s traction and stability control systems are different than what you find in the on-road oriented competition in that the software’s objective is to move power from wheel to wheel rather than just limit wheel spin. Competitive systems reduce engine power first, then selectively brake wheels. The Jeep system in “Mud” mode is more interested with keeping the wheels all spinning the same than curbing engine power. The Cherokee also allows the center coupling to be locked at higher speeds than the competition, offering a 20-inch rated water fording depth, 7.9 to 8.8 inches of ground clearance and available skid plates. While the Cherokee will never be as much fun off-road as a 4Runner, Wrangler, or other serious off-road options, you can have a hoot and a half at the off-road park in stock Trailhawk trim.

2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited V6 Exterior-015

If a crossover is supposed to be a cross between a family sedan and an SUV, the Cherokee is the truest small crossover you can buy. Trouble is, most shoppers are really just looking for the modern station wagon: something with a big cargo hold and car-like manners. In this area the Cherokee comes up short. It’s big and heavy and it drives like it’s big and heavy. But it’s not without its charms, the Cherokee is the only compact crossover capable of the school run and the Rubicon trail. It’s also the quietest and most comfortable crossover going, even if it is short on trunk space. If you’re willing to pay, it’s also the one loaded with the most gadgets, goodies and luxury amenities.

Is the Cherokee half-baked like Consumer Reports said? Perhaps. The Cherokee’s off-roading mission results in limited cargo space and vague handling while the on-road mission demanded a FWD chassis with high fuel economy. But it faithfully manages to give 99% of Liberty shoppers and 80% of RAV4 shoppers a viable alternative. Is that half-baked or a successful compromise? If you’re after a soft-roader to get you from point A to point B with stellar fuel economy, great handling and a massive cargo area, there are better options than the Cherokee. If however you “need” a crossover but “want” a go-anywhere SUVlet, this is your only option.

Chrysler provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review.

Specifications as tested

0-30: 2.15 Seconds

0-60: 6.5 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 14.75 Seconds

Average observed fuel economy: 23.7 MPG over 453 miles

Cabin noise at 50 MPH: 67 dB

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ZF’s 9-Speed 9HP Transmission Puts Dog Clutches On The Leash http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/zfs-9-speed-9hp-transmission-puts-dog-clutches-on-the-leash/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/zfs-9-speed-9hp-transmission-puts-dog-clutches-on-the-leash/#comments Sun, 09 Feb 2014 03:34:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=727738 In a week we will post our first full review of the all-new and all-controversial 2014 Jeep Cherokee. The new Jeep isn’t just raising eyebrows for the love-it or hate-it styling. Or the resurrection of the Cherokee badge. Or the constant delays in production. Or the transverse mounted engine. Or the lack of solid axles. […]

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ZF 9HP Transmission, Picture Courtesy of Land RoverIn a week we will post our first full review of the all-new and all-controversial 2014 Jeep Cherokee. The new Jeep isn’t just raising eyebrows for the love-it or hate-it styling. Or the resurrection of the Cherokee badge. Or the constant delays in production. Or the transverse mounted engine. Or the lack of solid axles. None of that laundry list seems to cause as much discussion around the automotive water cooler than ZF’s 9HP 9-speed transmission. Click past the jump for a deep dive into the tranny with more speeds than my bicycle. If you don’t want to explore transmissions in detail, don’t click. You have been warned.

When Derek drove the Cherokee at a launch event he complained about the transmission. When I drove a pre-production model for a very brief hour and a half I was more perplexed than anything. I chalked it up to pre-production programming issues and the fact that the transmission has 50% more speeds than a 6-speed, so I expected 50% more shifting. A month later I was able to sample a different Cherokee with newer software and some of my shifting complaints had been solved but something still felt “wrong.” Now three months later a full production Cherokee landed in my hands and while the shift logic (when and why the transmission would shift up or down) was finally where I thought it should be, the shifts themselves felt different from what I am used to. The reason is all down to clutches, but let’s start at the beginning.

In general terms an engine is most efficient in a somewhat narrow band of RPMs. That exact band varies from engine to engine based on what the designers intended at the time. The longer you can keep the engine in this range of RPMs, the more efficient the car will be. Secondary to this is a desire for improved off-the-line performance, this necessitates ever-lower first gear ratios. The distance between the lowest and the tallest gear in a transmission is called the ratio spread. (You get it by dividing the lowest ratio by the tallest and that gives you a number that represents the delta between first and last.) GM’s venerable 4-speed 4L80 has a spread of 3.3 while their new 6-speed 6L80 has a spread of 6. The deeper first gear and taller 6th allow the 6L80 to deliver better performance and better fuel economy. The reason ZF’s 8-speed 8HP doesn’t have the same delta in performance over the average 6-speed as the 6-speed had over the 4-speed, is easy to explain. The 8HP’s ratio spread is 7, just 1 higher than a 6 speed while the 6-speeds had a 3 point advantage over the 4-speeds. Aisin’s new 8-speed transaxle in Volvo and Lexus models goes a small step further with a 7.59 spread. These can all be seen as progressive improvements. The 9HP is different. With a 4.7:1 first gear and a 0.48:1 ninth gear the overall spread is a whopping 9.8.

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On closer inspection you’ll notice something interesting about the 9HP’s ratios. Fifth is the 1:1 ratio where the output shaft of the transmission is spinning at the same rate as the engine meaning there four overdrive ratios. In contrast both ZF and Aisin’s 8-speed transmissions have just two overdrive ratios with 6th gear being the direct-drive (1:1) ratio. As a result the 9HP’s lower gears are farther apart, especially first and second gear. When you look deeper at the numbers you’ll also notice that the 9HP is geared much taller at the top end with 7th gear being approximately equal to 8th in the Aisin or ZF 8-speed units. Many reviewers of the Cherokee noted they never experienced 9th gear during their test drive and I now know why. At 0.48:1 with the 3.2L V6 (3.251 final drive) you have to be going faster than 80 MPH to engage 9th because at 80 your engine loafs around at 1,460 RPM. (The 2.4L four-cylinder in the Cherokee Trailhawk would be going about 1,810 RPM at 80.) According to ZF this results in an impressive 12-16% improvement in fuel economy versus the same final drive ratio and their own 6-speed automatic and 11-15% when compared to their 8-speed.

OK, so the 9HP has plenty of gears, but why does it shift the way that it does? It’s all down to the clutches. While a traditional automatic uses friction clutches in the form of either band clutches or multi-plate friction clutches, the 9HP blends friction clutches and dog clutches in the same transmission case. Dog clutches are “interference” clutches more commonly found in manual transmissions and transfer cases. Friction clutches work by pressing two plates together. The friction between them allows the transfer of energy and it allows one plate to spin faster than the other or “slip.” Think of slipping the clutch in a manual car, it is the same action. Automatic transmissions use this clutch type to their advantage because changing gear doesn’t always require engine power to drop, the transmission simply disconnects one clutch as it engages another, they slip and engage and you’re in another gear. Dog clutches however are different. If you look at the illustration below you can see a dog clutch on the right. Power is transmitted by the tooth of one side pressing on the tooth of the other. This type of clutch cannot slip so it is either engaged or disengaged. This is the type of clutch used inside manual transmissions. When you move the shifter to a different gear, you are physically disengaging and engaging dog clutches. This style of clutch is used because it suffers little parasitic loss and it is simple and compact. The use of a dog clutch in an “automatic” transmission isn’t new, dual clutch robotized manuals use this style of clutch internally as well, but it is the key to understanding why the 9HP shifts the way it does.

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Because dog clutches can’t slip, their engagement must be controlled and precise. Going back to the manual transmission example, this is why modern manual transmissions have “synchros” or synchromesh. A Synchro is a mechanism that aligns the dog teeth prior to engagement. Without them you get that distinct gear grinding noise. Synchros work well in a manual transmission because when you are changing gear you are disconnecting the engine with the clutch (a friction clutch), then engaging a dog clutch for your gear selection. Because one end of the transmission is “free” the synchro synchronizes the two sides and then allows the toothed gear to engage. There is a “pause” in power when a shift occurs. If you look at an acceleration chart of a car with a good manual driver and an automatic you will see pauses in acceleration in the manual while most autos just have “reductions” in acceleration. That’s down to the pause required to engage a dog clutch vs a friction clutch that slips and engages without much reduction in power.

Let’s digress for a moment and talk about the DSG. The reason dual clutch gearboxes exist is because of the dog clutch. As I said engaging a dog clutch takes time and precision. This is part of the reason single-clutch robotic manuals like the one in the Smart ForTwo and the RAM ProMaster (and other Euro sedans) have such exaggerated shifts. Double clutch gearboxes get around this by having two gears engaged at all times. DSG style gearboxes are really two manual transmissions in the same case. 1st gear is engaged via the first transmission and 2nd is engaged but not active on the second. Changing gears simply involves swapping (via a friction clutch) from transmission A to transmission B. Once that is accomplished, the transmission A disengages and engages the dog clutches to select the next gear. Going from 2nd to 3rd involves swapping back from transmission B to the already shifted transmission A.

Let’s put it all together now. To save space and increase efficiency, the 9HP uses two multi-plate clutch elements, two friction brakes and two electronically synchronized dog clutches. (The 8HP uses two brakes and three multi-plate clutches.) The way the gearsets are arranged inside the case, shifts from 1-2, 2-3, and 3-4 involve only the traditional friction brake and clutch elements. As you would expect, aside from 1st being fairly low and somewhat distant from 2nd, these shifts feel perfectly “normal.” Under hard acceleration there is a momentary reduction in engine torque (courtesy of the computer to reduce clutch wear) and the shift occurs quickly and smoothly. The shift from 4-5 however is different. The transmission has to disengage dog clutch “A” in addition to engaging a friction clutch. This shift takes slightly longer than the 3-4 shift and the car’s computer makes a drastic reduction in torque to prevent wear of the dog teeth. Shifts 5-6 and 6-7 again happen with the only the friction elements at which point we need to disconnect the final dog clutch for gears 8 and 9 so we get the same kind of torque reduction in those shifts. The result is a transmission that has two distinct “feels” to its shifts, one that has only a slight torque reduction (1-2, 2-3, 3-4, 5-6, 6-7, 8-9) and one that has a more “manual transmission” feel where torque is cut severely (4-5 and 7-8).

2014 Jeep Cherokee Instrument Cluster

Because of the positioning of the two dog clutches in the shift pattern, the torque reduction isn’t objectionable in upshifts. Hard acceleration from a stop didn’t involve 5th gear even in the 1/4 mile. However, once you let off the gas the transmission will shift upwards rapidly for fuel economy settling in 6th or 7th in the 60-65 MPH range and 8th in the 70-75 MPH range.

Downshifts are where the 9HP truly feels different. Because of the design, if you’re in 8th gear and want to pass, the transmission will often need to drop 4 or 5 gears to get to a suitable ratio. (Remember that 4th gear is the first ratio going back down the scale that is lower than 1:1.) To do this the transmission has to accomplish the harder task of engaging two dog clutches. To do this the transmission doesn’t use cone synchros like a manual (too bulky) it uses software. Engaging dog clutches requires a longer and yet more severe reduction in torque than the disengagement because the transmission has to align the clutch and then engage it. In most automatics when you floor the car you get an instant feeling of acceleration that improves as the transmission downshifts. Although there would be moments of power reduction (depending on the programming) during this time, the engine is always providing some force forward. The 9HP’s software on the other hand responds by cutting power initially, then diving as far down the gear-ladder as it can, engaging the dog clutches and then reinstating your throttle command. The result is a somewhat odd delay between the pedal on the floor and the car taking off like a bat out of hell. According to Volvo’s powertrain guys, this shift behavior is one of the main reasons they chose the Aisin 8-speed (shared with the Lexus RX F-Sport) over the ZF 9-speed used by Land Rover and Chrysler.

All of a sudden the “odd” shift feel made perfect sense. In the march toward ever-improving fuel economy the automotive public will continually be introduced to cars that feel different from the “good old days.” Electric power steering numbs the wheel-feel but steer-by-wire promises to artificiality resurrect it. Dual clutch robotized manuals have a particular feel that was accepted by performance enthusiasts but has been a source of complaint for Focus and Fiesta shoppers. For me, understanding why the transmission is doing what it is doing is key to my like or dislike of a car’s road manners. Once I understood what the Cherokee’s automatic was up to, I was able to focus on the rest of the car. What about you? Are you willing to “sacrifice” shift quality at the altar of fuel economy? Be sure to let me know.

Have an automotive technology question? Want to see a deep-dive on another powertrain component?

Let us know by using the contact form at the top of the page!

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Jeep Aiming For 1 Million Units Sold in 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/jeep-aiming-for-1-million-units-sold-in-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/jeep-aiming-for-1-million-units-sold-in-2014/#comments Thu, 16 Jan 2014 17:05:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=701209 Chrysler Group LLC CEO Sergio Marchionne threw down the gauntlet for Jeep during an interview on Detroit’s WJR-AM at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, proclaiming that the Rubicon-rated brand will move 1 million units onto the trails and highways by the end of this year. Global sales of the iconic off-road brand rose 4 percent […]

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Chrysler Group LLC CEO Sergio Marchionne threw down the gauntlet for Jeep during an interview on Detroit’s WJR-AM at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, proclaiming that the Rubicon-rated brand will move 1 million units onto the trails and highways by the end of this year.

Global sales of the iconic off-road brand rose 4 percent in 2013 for the fourth consecutive year, topping out at a record 731,565 units moved. Though Marchionne is confident Jeep will make his stated sales goal, brand president Mike Manley is taking a more conservative stand, stating that the figure might come by 2015 rather than 2014.

However, Manley believes the new Cherokee could bring the remaining 300,000 or so units to the table by the end of the year should the SUV do well at home and abroad. Sales of the Cherokee in the United States, in spite of its face, are 15 percent to 20 percent ahead of Chrysler’s expectations after only two months in the market; total U.S. sales account for 67 percent of Jeep’s overall global sales.

As far as the rest of the world is concerned, Fiat has plans to build a subcompact Jeep in Italy for sale in Europe in 2014, with arrival in the U.S. due sometime in 2015. The parent automaker also plans to expand production in America, as well as in China and Brazil.

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Nine Speeds Of Grey: What’s Really Going On With Cherokee Transmissions? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/nine-speeds-of-grey-whats-really-going-on-with-cherokee-transmissions/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/nine-speeds-of-grey-whats-really-going-on-with-cherokee-transmissions/#comments Thu, 17 Oct 2013 20:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=626681 As the plot thickens in Toledo and un-shipped Cherokees start to pile up in the storage lots, there’s a new conspiracy theory being passed around to explain Chrysler’s problems. We received this email earlier today, and while we can’t vouch for the writer or the contents, what if he’s right? I was going to send […]

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As the plot thickens in Toledo and un-shipped Cherokees start to pile up in the storage lots, there’s a new conspiracy theory being passed around to explain Chrysler’s problems.

We received this email earlier today, and while we can’t vouch for the writer or the contents, what if he’s right?

I was going to send to TTAC Staff… but I heard [from] a few Chrysler engineers that part of the 9 speed launch issue at Toledo was being drawn out to lower the VEBA price if the shares got into court proceedings by end of the year.

Now, this really sounds less likely than the reality that Chrysler and their supplier just FUBARed it by running simulations instead of real world testing until it was too late, which I have also heard. But, this rumor is more fun and don’t forget Machiavelli was Italian and wore a sweater vest!

Well, that may be a rumor too.

But, with the price being a couple BILLION dollars different that’s still less than a few months hit on a late launch.

BTW, these guys… were sure the issue was going to be fixed before their UF Chrysler 200 launch in March/April… even though they use the same engines and FWD part of the 9 speed. Classic, just classic.

So. Crazy conspiracy theory or on the level? To me it fails part of the test for this sort of thing, which is that it requires the connivance of too many people. I want to believe that there is a secret Star Chamber making long-term tactical decisions to ensure the future success of Chrysler, but if such a group exists, surely they were formed extremely recently. At least after the 2.7-liter V-6. Unless that was part of the conspiracy too.

In fact, you can easily argue that anybody powerful enough to create the scenario above would also be powerful enough to keep me from writing an arti

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An Open Letter To The Mopar Community Regarding Our Cherokee Review http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/09/an-open-letter-to-the-mopar-community-regarding-our-cherokee-review/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/09/an-open-letter-to-the-mopar-community-regarding-our-cherokee-review/#comments Fri, 13 Sep 2013 18:51:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=517809 Dear fellow Chrysler/Plymouth/Imperial/Dodge/DeSoto fans, It appears that some of you are not happy with our man Derek’s review of the new Jeep Cherokee. I can understand that; like many of you, I wanted the Cherokee to be a solid if not superior product. Today, however, I saw that Allpar.com’s administrator has called for Chrysler to […]

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Dear fellow Chrysler/Plymouth/Imperial/Dodge/DeSoto fans,

It appears that some of you are not happy with our man Derek’s review of the new Jeep Cherokee. I can understand that; like many of you, I wanted the Cherokee to be a solid if not superior product. Today, however, I saw that Allpar.com’s administrator has called for Chrysler to blacklist TTAC from future press vehicles. I thought I’d take a moment to discuss with you why an attitude like this is bad news for everyone, including the Mopar Nation or whatever the long-suffering group of Chrysler loyalists is being called at the moment.


If you’ll indulge me for a moment before we get to the meat of the discussion, however, I want to respond personally to allegations made on Allpar and elsewhere that we are “out to get” Chrysler, and the occasional allegation that I personally am “out to get” Chrysler. I bought a 1995 Neon new from the showroom floor. I factory-ordered a 2004 SRT-4. I bought and campaigned an original Neon Challenge ACR in NASA until I was put in the wall — and then my team and I built another Neon from a bare shell to logbook racer in twenty days. I’ve competed in Dodge and Plymouth automobiles from California, where we won ChumpCar in a Neon Coupe, to Ohio where my ACR was the only car to finish in the top five of both wet and dry NASA National Championship qualifying races. This f**king morning I bought a 2.4 DOHC engine to use for the 2014 NASA race season. I’ve seen more flags behind the windshield of a Mopar product than all but the most committed racers. I’ve voted for Chrysler with my own money again and again and will continue to do so.

Okay. End of rant. The objections brought up on forums regarding Derek’s review mostly fell into two categories, which I’ll cover separately below.

“These were pre-production automobiles. Why did Derek complain about the fit and finish on them?” On the surface, this sounds completely reasonable. If Derek was informed that the Cherokees he was being given to drive weren’t ready for prime time, so to speak, why not ignore the little stuff and focus on the important aspects of the vehicle? I’d suggest that he did focus on the important aspects of the vehicle. He and I discussed the problems he was seeing with the Cherokees multiple times. It wasn’t just fit and finish; it was a failure to ride, handle, and address NVH as well as the best competitors in the CUV field. Where the Jeep had “wins” — against the RAV4, for instance — he said as much. It wasn’t just a matter of mis-stitched steering wheels.

But what if it had been just a matter of mis-stitched steering wheels? Do you, the Allpar or Edmunds or whatever forum reader, want us to hide that from you? Do you want us to keep secrets from you about the fit and finish of vehicles we drive just because the pretty girl sitting next to us at dinner pats our arm and says “Oh, I know the steering wheels are all terrible, but I promise we’ll have them right in production”? Are you more comfortable if we just take the manufacturer’s word for this stuff? Or do you want us to report on what we saw truthfully and leave the determination about what the manufacturer might or might not do on the production line up to you?

Imagine, for example, that every Cherokee on the drive had a stalling problem. If we kept our mouths shut about that at Chrysler’s request, and then you bought a Cherokee and it had a stalling problem, wouldn’t you have suffered from our willingness to adjust our ethics to please the site administrator at Allpar.com? Is that guy going to come to your house and fix the stalling problem for you? “Oh, but,” some of you will say, “a mis-stitched steering wheel isn’t as important as a stalling problem.” Fair enough — but do you want to pay $37,000 and get something that isn’t up to par? I ordered my SRT-4 sight unseen, trusting that what I had read about the car was honest. Shouldn’t we extend the same courtesy to you? Should our loyalty be to you, or to the manufacturer?

“All the other early reviews of the Cherokee have been positive.” Undoubtedly. All the early reviews of anything nowadays are positive. There’s a certain amount of Freakonomics at work here. Derek will never meet 99.9% of Allpar readers, but he’ll be at dinner with the same Chrysler people at every press event. There’s a strong temptation to say nice things about the car, particularly if you can wind them back later in a comparison test. Many of the people who are currently lauding the Cherokee will call it a complete piece of junk as soon as the next Cherokee is ready. Some of the writers who are currently slamming the Patriot and Compass in their Cherokee reviews tripped all over themselves to say nice things about those same vehicles at the early launch events.

Let me look into the future for you. The new Mercedes-Benz E250 Bluetec just had its press event last week. It will receive positive reviews all the way around even though I’m already hearing grumblings about the car being underpowered garbage. Want to know why? Click here. Mr. Day had his resignation from MBUSA accepted with extreme prejudice recently, but in the words of the poet, one monkey don’t stop no show.

Two years from now, the E250 might get tossed to the back of a comparison test. Four years from now, it will be revealed to have been a bad car. If you want to know what the auto media really thinks of a car, you can read what they say when the next model comes out. Of course, new-car buyers do not find this to be helpful.

When the administrator of a major Mopar fan site calls for Derek’s voice to be silenced because he doesn’t like the review, what he is in effect saying is this: “I value the sales success of a Chrysler product over the individual experience of Chrysler owners.” He’s siding with the corporation, not the driver. I suppose that’s fine for some people. It doesn’t wash here. The English car magazines used to whitewash the failings of cars like the Rover Metro and Jaguar XJ6. Today the companies that made those products are in non-British hands. Because you cannot lie and whitewash your way to success in the automotive business. In the long run, the customer will find out. Every cheat, every slip, every cut corner, will eventually show. You cannot wallpaper a bad product forever. Eventually, the truth will come out and the manufacturers will fail. If you love Chrysler, then you’d better hope that they make a good car. That’s all that can save them.

TTAC will continue to give positive reviews of Chrysler products — when the product is good. When that is not the case, we will continue to alert our readers to problems. We do not apologize for that, we will not walk that back, we will not change. If that means that we are no longer invited to evaluate Chrysler products, we will rent Chrysler products. If that means that we don’t get to party with the cool kids, we can live with that. Our allegiance is to the reader. It was thus when TTAC was founded. It is thus now. Forever may it be.

Sincerely,

Jack Baruth
#187 Plymouth Neon, NASA Performance Touring “E”

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Marchionne Wants To Set New World Record On The Jeep http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/marchionne-wants-to-set-new-world-record-on-the-jeep/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/marchionne-wants-to-set-new-world-record-on-the-jeep/#comments Wed, 06 Mar 2013 19:12:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=480389 All of you who talked smack about the New Jeep Cherokee, take note: Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne believes in this car, so much that he predicts Chrysler selling more than 800,000 Jeeps worldwide in 2013. At the Geneva Motor Show, Marchionne told Reuters: “Last year we sold more than 700,000 Jeeps and this year we’re […]

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All of you who talked smack about the New Jeep Cherokee, take note: Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne believes in this car, so much that he predicts Chrysler selling more than 800,000 Jeeps worldwide in 2013.

At the Geneva Motor Show, Marchionne told Reuters:

“Last year we sold more than 700,000 Jeeps and this year we’re aiming to sell more than 800,000. With the new Cherokee coming out in May we’ll be in the largest vehicle segment in the U.S., and that’s important.”

800,000 would be a new world record as far as Jeeps go. In 2012, Jeep sales were 701,626, up 19 percent. The previous high mark was set in 1999 with 675,494 units.

 

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The Renault Twingo: An Explanation Of The Jeep Cherokee’s New Look http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/the-renault-twingo-an-explanation-of-the-jeep-cherokees-new-look/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/the-renault-twingo-an-explanation-of-the-jeep-cherokees-new-look/#comments Mon, 25 Feb 2013 13:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=478839 The newly shown Jeep Cherokee has created quite a ruckus. Some like the design, some describe it in language unsuitable to a family-oriented site like TTAC. The fact is Jeep needs this. The mother-ship, Fiat, is taking Jeep international and while Jeep’s design language gets good points at home, it really doesn’t strike a chord […]

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The newly shown Jeep Cherokee has created quite a ruckus. Some like the design, some describe it in language unsuitable to a family-oriented site like TTAC. The fact is Jeep needs this. The mother-ship, Fiat, is taking Jeep international and while Jeep’s design language gets good points at home, it really doesn’t strike a chord among buyers worldwide. What’s more, Jeep doesn’t have that much of a heritage outside US borders. So, the Italians are free to do with it what they like. For starters, Jeep now sponsors one of the most popular football teams in Europe. That is a sure sign that the Jeep you knew and loved is going through profound changes that will either make it relevant, or send it bruised and bleeding to lick it wounds back home.

The Twingo – polarizing, but popular

All you have to do is look at the story of the Renault Twingo to understand. Its designer, Patrick le Quément is known the world over and very influential. The Twingo was the car that made his career. The Renault establishment balked when le Quément presented his vision of the car. Undaunted, le Quément pushed it through. The car is now considered an icon of modern automobile design. If you have a pristine example, hold on to it. It might be worth a pretty penny 20 years from now.

When the 80s became the 90s, Renault was in a tough situation. Its conservative cars were quickly running out of gas in the market place. Newly hired chief designer le Quément proposed a radical new approach to design. He separated it from the engineers and product planners who, of course, were not pleased. So much so that they told le Quément the Twingo would have to be toned down from his radical vision. Le Quément appealed directly to Louis Schweitzer, Renault’s head honcho at the time: “The greatest risk is not to take any risks.”

Le Quément argued his case in a quintessentially French, counter-intuitive fashion, taking the results of the focus groups and turning them on their heads, “fifty percent of  the participants hated it and 25 percent were dubious. However, 25 percent said they loved it.”

The French designer radicalizes, “retro is retrograde. It’s driving looking in the rear-view mirror, admitting that you’ve run out of ideas.” In other words, don’t just keep repeating yourself. Retro cars usually create a short bounce of excitement that the good old days are back, then their sales sink into oblivion.

Italians loved the Twingo. They bought it in droves. This story is well known in European design circles. You can bet that it was part of the reasoning for the new Jeep Cherokee. The past is fine and dandy. Nevertheless, Jeep needs to move on. I sincerely hope the lesson is not lost on the great car makers of the even greater United States of America.

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Junkyard Find: 1979 Jeep Cherokee http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/junkyard-find-1979-jeep-cherokee/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/junkyard-find-1979-jeep-cherokee/#comments Thu, 08 Mar 2012 14:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=432354 I spent a lot of time crawling around this ’69 Dodge A108 van during the last couple of weeks, picking up much-needed parts for my ’66 Dodge A100 Hell Project, and so I became quite familiar with the A108′s junkyard neighbor: this ’79 Jeep Cherokee. This yard, being a typical Colorado self-service operation, has many […]

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I spent a lot of time crawling around this ’69 Dodge A108 van during the last couple of weeks, picking up much-needed parts for my ’66 Dodge A100 Hell Project, and so I became quite familiar with the A108′s junkyard neighbor: this ’79 Jeep Cherokee.
This yard, being a typical Colorado self-service operation, has many Malaise Era Cherokees in stock. We saw this ’79 Cherokee Golden Eagle not long ago, and several more await my camera.
While this Jeep doesn’t have quite the style of the Golden Eagle, but it does have some timeless— i.e., extremely dated even when new— touches.
AMC didn’t have much in the art budget by the late 1970s, so they stuck with the “indian beads” tape stripes for a long, long time.
The giant “Quadra-Trac” selector knob adds a certain industrial charm to the cabin. You didn’t want to lock that center differential until things got serious!
The good news is that plenty of these trucks still roam the streets in these parts.

28 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 01 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 02 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 03 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 04 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 05 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 06 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 07 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 08 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 09 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 12 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 13 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 14 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 15 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 16 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 18 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 20 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 21 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 22 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 23 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 24 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 25 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 26 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 27 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 28 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden 17 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Murilee Martin' Greden cherokee cherokee cherokee cherokee Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Junkyard Find: 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/junkyard-find-1979-jeep-cherokee-golden-eagle/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/junkyard-find-1979-jeep-cherokee-golden-eagle/#comments Fri, 17 Feb 2012 14:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=431169 Ah, the Malaise Era. By the late 1970s, AMC was on the ropes. The Jeep Cherokee still sold well, however, and the brains in Kenosha decided they’d go for the Acapulco Gold-smoking generation and throw a few square yards of decals on the truck. Golden Eagle! I had forgotten all about the Golden Eagle, which […]

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Ah, the Malaise Era. By the late 1970s, AMC was on the ropes. The Jeep Cherokee still sold well, however, and the brains in Kenosha decided they’d go for the Acapulco Gold-smoking generation and throw a few square yards of decals on the truck. Golden Eagle!
I had forgotten all about the Golden Eagle, which was a classy trim level for the Cherokee, but the sight of this example in a Denver self-service wrecking yard made me remember how I thought these things were semi-cool as a kid. Going to junkyards in Colorado really gives you a sense of the history of four-wheel-drive vehicles in America; this junkyard has at least four more Malaise Cherokees in stock.
It’s got tape stripes.
It’s got extremely 1970s decals on the doors.
It’s got an AMC 360 under the hood.
It’s got denim seats, complete with jeans-style buttons. Not quite as cool as the Levis Edition Pacer, but still cool.
Most of all, it has a giant angry eagle decal across the hood. It must have been fun to see this thing out the windshield at all times.

25 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 01 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 02 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 03 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 04 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 05 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 06 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 07 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 08 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 09 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 10 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 11 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 12 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 13 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 14 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 15 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 16 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 17 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 18 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 19 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 20 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 21 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 22 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 23 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden 24 - 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle Down On The Junkyard - Pictures by Phillip 'Kenosha' Greden Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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New or Used: More Cash or More Cool for School? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/new-or-used-more-cash-or-more-cool-for-school/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/new-or-used-more-cash-or-more-cool-for-school/#comments Mon, 12 Dec 2011 19:31:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=422073 Mackenzie writes: Hello, my name is Mackenzie. I am a 16 year old girl looking to buy her first car. I am looking at Jeep Cherokees (NOT Grand Cherokees). I am trying to find a decent manual transmission one, but I can’t seem to locate any within a reasonable distance from me (Eastern Virginia). My […]

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Mackenzie writes:

Hello, my name is Mackenzie. I am a 16 year old girl looking to buy her first car. I am looking at Jeep Cherokees (NOT Grand Cherokees). I am trying to find a decent manual transmission one, but I can’t seem to locate any within a reasonable distance from me (Eastern Virginia). My dad says I should look for a 1999-2001 Cherokee, but the few that I have found that are stick shift usually have pretty high mileage or are out of my budget. As car experts, would you guys recommend an older (94-98ish) Cherokee or a newer one with higher mileage? I keep hearing that American-made cars are not as hardy as foreign-made cars, and that over 180,000 miles for a Cherokee is a no-go. My parents have agreed to pay half of the car, but with what I am finding, it’s still going to be a lot of money to pay. At first I was looking at $3500 tops, but I’m thinking I will have to raise that. Any help or advice yall have on this subject would be greatly appreciated.

 

Sajeev Answers (via Email):

Mackenzie, thank you for writing. I know you want a Cherokee and they are pretty cool, but they are a terrible choice for your money (gas, insurance, other things). A boring little compact car is your best choice, you will have more money for other things, and will be better off in the future. If that sounds good to you, what smaller car would you be interested in?

Mackenzie writes back:

Sajeev, you really think it would be a bad idea to get a Cherokee? My older brother got a 1970 Volkswagen camper van for his first car-that was definitely not a good investment, although it is pretty cool. We also have a ’92 Honda Accord, but it has 296,000 miles on it. If not a Jeep Cherokee, I’m not quite sure what I want to get. I know I definitely want a stick-shift car, and I would really like something with room in it-I am in high school and I am always going to sports practices and transporting other kids around. Any advice you have would (again) be helpful.

Thanks,
Mackenzie

Sajeev Answers:
Consider these three things.

  1. Jeeps are more desirable at this age (like every truck) so they cost more to buy than a sedan of the same age/mileage. Which means you
    get a worse vehicle in terms of reliability and upkeep.
  2. They are more expensive to insure. Call around and compare a Corolla to a Jeep.
  3. They guzzle gas, and that’s not cheap right now.

Do NOT raise your budget. Find a sedan in that price range. I was a drummer in high school and I carried plenty of gear and bandmates in it, the Cherokee has a pretty terrible back seat for carrying anything, too. I know you want a Jeep, but you need to get one later, when you have more money.

Steve concludes:

Mackenzie, I would do two things.

  1. Pool your money a bit. If you have the patience, you’ll likely get a compact SUV that is far better at the $5000 to $7000 level.
  2. Broaden the pool a bit. Cherokees became a bit difficult to get as five-speeds as time went on. Personally, I would opt more towards a five-speed Escape. You get a more modern powertrain along with far better fuel economy and less of a price premium.

I have a 95′ Cherokee on my lot right now that has 269k and is still picture perfect. But if I were 16 again and shopping for that big college car, I would want something that I don’t have to think about as much. Go with an Escape.

Need help with a car buying conundrum? Email your particulars to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com , and let TTAC’s collective wisdom make the decision easier… or possibly much, much harder.

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Piston Slap: For the Next Stage in Life http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/piston-slap-for-the-next-stage-in-life/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/piston-slap-for-the-next-stage-in-life/#comments Wed, 06 Jul 2011 20:10:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=401458   Mackenzie writes: Hello, I am a 16-year-old girl looking to buy her first car. I am looking at Jeep Cherokees (NOT Grand Cherokees). I am trying to find a decent manual transmission one, but I can’t seem to locate any within a reasonable distance from me (Eastern Virginia). My dad says I should look […]

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Mackenzie writes:

Hello, I am a 16-year-old girl looking to buy her first car. I am looking at Jeep Cherokees (NOT Grand Cherokees). I am trying to find a decent manual transmission one, but I can’t seem to locate any within a reasonable distance from me (Eastern Virginia).

My dad says I should look for a 1999-2001 Cherokee, but the few that I have found that are stick shift usually have pretty high mileage or are out of my budget. As car experts, would you guys recommend an older (94-98ish) Cherokee or a newer one with higher mileage?

I keep hearing that American-made cars are not as hardy as foreign-made cars, and that over 180,000 miles for a Cherokee is a no-go. My parents have agreed to pay half of the car, but with what I am finding, it’s still going to be a lot of money to pay. At first I was looking at $3500 tops, but I’m thinking I will have to raise that. Any help or advice y’all have on this subject would be greatly appreciated.

Sajeev answers:

I know you want a Cherokee and they are pretty cool, but they are a terrible choice for a 16 year old. And not because Jeeps are junk and American cars aren’t has durable as foreign cars. As if. It’s the wrong move for things we haven’t discussed: gas cost, insurance rates and safety.

Let’s be real: teenagers will explore the limits of their driving skills. And I’d prefer you (or a friend who borrows your ride) keep the shiny side up. The Cherokee’s design dates back to the 1980s, so they aren’t especially great compared to modern car and trucks in a crash. And blaming it on old age alone is me being generous to the Cherokee. Perhaps its because of Federal regulations at the time, but trucks had little of the common sense safety engineering of cars from that era.

A boring little car is your best choice, you will have more money for other things, and will be better off in the future. If that sounds good to you, what car would you be interested in?

Find one of those in your price range. Make sure it has some service history or a host of new parts to ensure it hasn’t had a neglected, rough life. This is a better move for you, odds are you will have more money for other things in the future if you take my advice. And, believe it or not, that’s what you will want when you use that vehicle to move to the next stage of your life.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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And the Real Winner Is… http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/and-the-real-winner-is-10/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/and-the-real-winner-is-10/#comments Sun, 15 May 2011 20:22:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=394988 Is it possible for a Jeep Cherokee with a 60s-technology AMC power to finish in the top fifth of a race on a crazy road course full of off-camber turns and dizzying elevation changes? No, it is not possible. And yet… Petty Cash Racing somehow finished 14th overall, out of 72 entrants. These Seattle madmen […]

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Is it possible for a Jeep Cherokee with a 60s-technology AMC power to finish in the top fifth of a race on a crazy road course full of off-camber turns and dizzying elevation changes? No, it is not possible. And yet…

Petty Cash Racing somehow finished 14th overall, out of 72 entrants. These Seattle madmen have been running their Jeep for quite a while now, and with each race they find a way to make their big ol’ truck a little faster and a bit more reliable. This morning, it all paid off: Index of Effluency. Congratulations, Petty Cash Racing!

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Not So Wild Ass Rumor Of The Day: A Maserati SUV Built On A Grand Cherokee? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/11/not-so-wild-ass-rumor-of-the-day-a-maserati-suv-built-on-a-grand-cherokee/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/11/not-so-wild-ass-rumor-of-the-day-a-maserati-suv-built-on-a-grand-cherokee/#comments Wed, 10 Nov 2010 14:38:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=372054 When Fiat started to get a grip on Chrysler, there was very little chance of success. But to be fair, they are making a go of it. Sergio Marchionne is doing his best to integrate Fiat and Chrysler. Is he really? Bloomberg reports that Sergio wants to use the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s platform to engineer […]

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When Fiat started to get a grip on Chrysler, there was very little chance of success. But to be fair, they are making a go of it. Sergio Marchionne is doing his best to integrate Fiat and Chrysler. Is he really?

Bloomberg reports that Sergio wants to use the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s platform to engineer SUV’s for Alfa Romeo and Maserati. “One of the things that we are now looking at in some detail is the possibility of utilizing this architecture and extending its application for additional products both within Chrysler and outside Chrysler,” said Sergio Marchionne. “Expect Chrysler products to be made by Fiat and Fiat products to be made by Chrysler.”

The Detroit News confirms the story and says that Marchionne’s timetable to add a Detroit-built Alfa and, possibly a Maserati using the Grand Cherokee’s platform is be between 12 to 18 months. Possible powertrains suggested by Marchionne were a turbo-charged, Pentastar V-6 engine. Marchionne even suggested using a Ferrari engine. How did people react? “That’s a gutsy move,” said Joe Phillippi of Autotrends.

Mind you, Mr Marchionne did state that Fiat and Ferrari wouldn’t use the Jeep platform. That’s a relief. A Ferrari SUV? That’d be ridiculous…  On second thought, there are Lamborghini tractors, so why not?

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