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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-21-2016, 02:03 PM Thread Starter
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My personal long-term review

After a rather long hiatus, Iím back on the forums! I figured Iíd come back and write a long-term review after owning the TH for about a year and a half and just turned over 15,000 miles. Of course, your experiences may vary and please don't turn this thread into a p***ing contest.

Iíve got a 2015 TH with cold weather, towing and V6. Bought new in February 2015.

A little about me, for some perspective: I live in Denver and commute roughly 30 miles a day roundtrip, in mostly city driving. I also make regular trips to various places close and far Ė Black Forest, Ft. Collins, Idaho Springs, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, etc. I've only ever owned front wheel drive, 4 cylinder econo-boxes, and most of them were manual transmission.

The good
Comfort: This is the most comfy car Iíve owned. The seats are supportive (I would like a bit more lumbar support on the ďbasicĒ seats, though). The ride is great, too, and Iím sure if I got non-all terrain tires the ride would smooth out even more. The A/C (manual, single-zone) and heat work great, and the heated seats/steering wheel comes in handy on those cold Colorado days. The ride height is great, too, and since Iím only 5í8Ē itís a perfect fit. The only ďgripeĒ I have in this regard is the steering wheel doesnít adjust as much as Iíd like. The back seat is roomy enough for 2 adult friends, and my dog loves it back there. Road noise is definitely there, but again Iím pretty sure itís mostly due to the tires (which are still the stock Firestone ATís). I wonít be changing tire types; Iíll always have ATís on here. If the road noise becomes an issue, I will look into Dynamat.

While I donít have the tech package, I like that this car has lots of cool gizmos (and because of that I have the Mopar Maximum Care warranty). Iíve got the 8.4A Uconnect, but got an upgrade to the navigation for $100. It works fine, a bit slow and sometimes unresponsive, but so is my **** phone. The important thing to remember is the 8.4AN has double the RAM, so if you do have the 8.4A and upgrade, keep this in mind. Itís never locked up or stopped responding entirely, though. The voice control feature for navigation is a little clunky and sometimes doesnít work right, but I rarely input directions while driving. Iíd never use HD Radio, but it wouldíve been nice to get the traffic and weather alerts, but I can live without. I use an 8GB SD card for music, complete with album art and copied directly from iTunes. Iíve got over 700 songs on it and it only takes the Uconnect system a minute (or two) to fully index the library and allow use of voice control to switch songs. I also love the amount of customization you can do, both with and through the Uconnect and the EVIC.

Capability: Iíve only been on two medium/easy difficulty trails so far, but the TH blew through them with ease. Iíve experimented with the hill decent control, rear locker, Rock mode and 4-LO, and everything switched back and forth as designed, with no clunks or issues. The one thing I have noticed is when in 4-Lo and Rear Locker on, the transmission temp gets pretty high (210 is the highest Iíve seen before the cooler fans kicked on), but it performed fine. On-road capability is great too. We had a few significant snow storms this past winter, and the TH was a beast. The heated wipers and mirrors were a God send. It felt secure, safe, and controlled, especially in Snow mode. In normal driving conditions, Iíve found that I do leave it in Auto more often than not, but have been experimenting with Sport mode in traffic, and have found that while the shift points are higher, itís not constantly swapping gears (more on the transmission later) which makes it a bit easier to speed up or slow down at a momentís notice; itís much more responsive at the cost of fuel economy. Body roll and lean is there, for sure, but itís a 4500 lb. vehicle, so thatís going to happen.

Style: I like it, I know itís polarizing to some in the Jeep community, but I imagine that most of the complainers have largely gone silent, especially seeing that the TH is capable off-road (but no, itís not a lifted Wrangler).

Safety: Like all other high-profile vehicles, the risk of flipping over is greater (duh). The safety features in my car are the basic standard stuff; I donít have park assist, lane departure or emergency braking, which is fine by me. However, the crash test ratings were pretty good overall, which is piece of mind for sure. The envelope of air bags is pretty standard anymore, but still, nice to have.

Storage: Maybe itís because my past vehicles were tiny, but my God the storage in this thing. I was finding nooks and crannies for weeks after purchase. I especially like the giant glove box and under-seat storage. I donít use the dash board cubby, because I feel like whatever I put in there would promptly melt. The easter eggs are cute too.

The ďmehĒ
ESS: Engine Start Stop is one of the most complained about features on this forum, second only to the transmission. Iíve learned to live with it, but I do turn it off occasionally, especially since Colorado drivers have this habit of stopping 500 feet before they have to, then coasting up. The threshold braking trick works well (press the brake pedal just enough to stop the car but not engage ESS), but itís clear the brakes arenít fully engaged so if I get rear ended while doing this Ö bad news bears. I have noticed almost no gain in gas mileage with it on, but Denver has AWFUL air quality so I feel a bit better about not idling. Iím not worried about the wear and tear either; I have a full warranty and ESS isnít brand new technology to either FCA or the industry as a whole. The part(s) wear out before theyíre supposed to? Warranty replacement.

Gas mileage/MPGS:
The other vehicle I was seriously considering before I got the TH (after narrowing down from a few Subies and a 4Runner) was the XTerra Pro-4X, and that was rated 15/20 mpgs (from a 4.0L V6, as opposed to Pentastar 3.2L). I average about 20 overall, with mostly gridlocked city driving, so all things considered, thatís not bad. I wasnít expecting to get 40 mpg out of a 2 ton, four wheel drive vehicle driving in a city with 3 million people.

Headlights: They suck. No surprise there. I will consider upgrading to the LEDís, but donít have the time or money, and still not convinced itís fully compatible. Every single vehicle Iíve attempted to add LEDs to, even those that say they are CANBUS compliant, arenít. So we shall see, but Jeep really needs to improve these headlights. They make driving at night interesting. The high beams are a joke, too, since all the car does is put some diffuser in front of the bulbs to expand and change the beam direction. Fogs are OK but basically useless too. Sure looks cool though!

Reliability (outside of the transmission): Overall the reliability has been OK, but again, Jeepís donít have a great reliability history overall, so I made sure to get the extended warranty, even though this MY still had the 5/100,000 factory warranty. Iíve had some weird issues, like one of the door handleís plastic ďcover piecesĒ flew off when I opened the door, and thereís one LED ďbulbĒ out in my tail lights.

Rattles and squeaks: Thereís a few of them, most notably something squeaking from the back seat, although Iíve pinned it down to either the cargo cover or the seats themselves (thanks to others on this forum!) Other rattles include from somewhere in the dash board and the sunglasses holder. Not a big deal, but still a bit annoying, especially when I drive over wash-boarded roads on my way to my parents in Black Forest, or when Iím driving on any number of poorly maintained roads in this city.

The bad
Transmission: Yes, for those that have seen me around this board, Iíve defended Jeep and to a lesser extent, ZF with these transmissions. I am a software/web developer, so I understand that not all software is perfect and bugs happen. HOWEVER, I do believe Jeep and ZF didnít really know what the **** they were doing when they implemented the over-kill 9 speed. At 550 miles, I went in because I was told I needed the R01 update for the C snap ring failure issue. The dealership botched the flash, which fried the PCM, TCM and ECM. All three, plus the transmission itself, were replaced, before I had even made my first car payment. I was without my brand new Jeep for 10 days while they fixed it (this is how I got the nav upgrade for $100; I called Chrysler and threw a fit, and that was their ďcustomer serviceĒ fix for me, which I accepted). Iíve had them do another flash, the ďRev CĒ flash, and the transmission is much improved. I still get a few clunky shifts occasionally, but not nearly as bad as before, and Iíve learned to accept that this transmission is just Ö finicky and different. Iíve also seen 9th gear once, coming down I-70 before Denver, going 85 downhill. Otherwise on the highway I usually see 7th and sometimes 8th, depending on conditions. Rolling stops (which are illegal, by the way) seem to be improved as well, although thatís largely depending on how fast Iím going. Since I stop fully at stop signs, itís not usually a problem. I do notice a bit of hesitation occasionally, but again, Iíve tailored my driving habits accordingly. I donít dart out in front of oncoming traffic unless Iím sure I have plenty of time to get up to speed. The lunging doesnít happen anymore, either.

I will say again, and again and again, that other vehicles using the ZF9 had issues too (Acura TLX V6 and the Evoque). So it wasnít 100% FCAís fault; ZF may claim otherwise, but it was clearly a team failure. It sounds like most of the kinks have been worked out though. No amount of software will make this transmission, itself an engineering marvel, behave like a ďstandardĒ 6 speed auto, especially when considering the use of dog clutches and the compact nature of the trans itself.

Cost to own: My car insurance actually went down a bit, but the biggest shock was the registration costs. In Colorado, registration is based on a percentage of taxable value and what county you reside in, and we register yearly. When I first registered it, it was about $700. This past year, it was $500. It will continue to go down but that was a bit of a shock. I spend roughly $250/mo on gas, which I had already budgeted for, but is more than I spent previously. Oil changes have been free so far, so I imagine those will run into the low $100ís, and Iím definitely not looking forward to the cost new tires.

I knew when purchasing that the transmission might be an issue, and I also figured that this will be the last car I buy for a while (trying to save for a mortgage), so I opted for the extended warranty. Additionally, my servicing dealership, after the transmission debacle, treats me like royalty, and they are less than 2 miles from my house.
I am happy with my purchase overall. I got a great deal on it, my insurance is reasonable, and the 4x4 system works great (for me and my uses). The transmission issues have been a pain, but not nearly as bad as some others have experienced here.

I know some of you have NOT had good luck with your KL, which makes me sad. Even with the issues Iíve experienced, I am still glad I made the jump. Maybe itís because my dealership is close and if anything goes wrong theyíve got my back. Maybe it's because I haven't had to deal with being without my car for very long.

If something does go wrong, it will be rectified.

So that's my story. See everyone around :-)
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2015 Trailhawk | V6 | Cold Weather | Towing | 8.4A w/ Nav | Brilliant Black | Black Interior | Built: 10/2014

2003 Acura 3.2 TL Type-S | V6 | Nav | 5 speed auto | Pearl White | Brown Leather
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-21-2016, 04:11 PM
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Nice report and personal assessment. Thanks for sharing it with us.

2015 Cherokee Trailhawk:
Granite Crystal, 3.2L V6, 8.4 Nav, black leather, sunroof, tow, tech, comfort/conv, no hood decal, 9 speakers, CD player, Maximum Care lifetime warranty, Mopar first aid kit, rear rubber cargo mat, Thule Aeroblade cross bars (black), Thule Rapid Aero feet, Kuat Vagabond X cargo basket, RRO rock rails with smooth covers, Mopar door sills, Raingler ceiling net, Raingler seat headrest handles, MFC aluminum lift kit, RRO winch bar and Warn M8000S winch, BFG T/A KO2s
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-21-2016, 06:41 PM
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Nice review-thanks.

2017 Trailhawk L Plus 4 bX4,Rhino exterior,Power 8 way drivers seat, Willys in windshidel,Cold Weather Group, Comfort/Convenience Group,Trailer Tow Group, 3.2 -Liter V6, Black Hood Decal , Uconnect 8.4 , Safety Tech Group, Leather Interior Group, Ventilated/Memory seat Group,Navigation. No hole in roof.

2017 KL Latitude-4 by 4 Cherry Red, V-6, Safety/Convenience group, Cold Weather Group,which includes heated front seats--love those heated seats,
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-21-2016, 07:15 PM
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Good review, very honest and detailed, welcome back!

2016 TH, V6, C&C, Tow group, 8.4AN, leather, Cold Weather, Command Sunroof, Black wheels, & Black. Maxcare Unlimited Miles and Years $100 Deductible.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-01-2016, 01:04 PM
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Your review secures me a little, i have red so much bad review that is scares the H*?? out of me to but a Jeep Cherokee North. But it is very comfy. I am just very scared of spending a lot of hard earned money on a vehicule that has so much bad reviews... I live in Quebec, canada, a littlt north of you but on the eastern coast. Here the climate in winter is very cold with a lot of snow and durig summer quite warm and humid, i really hope this will not affect in anyway the Jeep ?

I am like you, i keep my vehicule for a long time, i will give in exchange my 2001 Honda Accord EX with 237500 KM. I want a vehicule that will last me as long as my Accord without paying and paying for repairs after the 7 - 115000 KM warranty ends... I hope the Jeep will do that because it is expansive to purchase and i dont want to empty my bank account for repair and gas... I always do the proper inspection and oil changes asked by the company who makes the car i buy so i guess this is why my cars lasts long like this.

Regarding the mechanical parts, is there a difference between the quality of a parts that is made in Japan (like my Honda) and the Jeep, i dont want to make anybody hangry but i ask this because i am affraid of parts that will get use before it's time and i will have to pay and pay to replace it... I have been driving Honda for the past 21 years so i know theiur parts lasts but i dont know about the Jeep parts...

Thanks for the great review
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-01-2016, 03:52 PM
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enceladus: As one Canuck to another, I know we have other Cherokee owners in Quebec and the Maritimes and they seem to have written very good reports about their experiences. I'm in British Columbia, near the coast, but we had our Cherokee for a year and a half, and 20,000 km, absolutely trouble free. We only traded because we are elderly (I'm 83) and needed the greater storage space in the Wrangler to carry all the gear that old folks require on long trips, both on and off-road. I can recommend the Cherokee, but all the best of luck with whatever you buy. - Cheers Ted.

('14 cherry TH V-6, Comfort/Tech/Tow)
'15 Wrangler JKU Altitude, loaded.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-01-2016, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by ptram View Post
Nice review-thanks.

I just read your report again more slowly and want to tell you I learned a few things and appreciate such a detailed review.

2017 Trailhawk L Plus 4 bX4,Rhino exterior,Power 8 way drivers seat, Willys in windshidel,Cold Weather Group, Comfort/Convenience Group,Trailer Tow Group, 3.2 -Liter V6, Black Hood Decal , Uconnect 8.4 , Safety Tech Group, Leather Interior Group, Ventilated/Memory seat Group,Navigation. No hole in roof.

2017 KL Latitude-4 by 4 Cherry Red, V-6, Safety/Convenience group, Cold Weather Group,which includes heated front seats--love those heated seats,
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-04-2016, 09:28 AM
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Here's another review for you:

We’ve got a 2014 Latitude with cold weather package, all wheel drive, and V6. Bought new in June 2014 to replace my wife’s 2007 Dodge Caravan that was totaled when a little old lady in a Saturn mistook her accelerator for the brake and rear-ended my wife at about 35 mph at a stop sign and pushed the Caravan into a pickup truck. This is important since the Caravan has been the main baseline for comparison for my wife. I drive an all wheel drive V6 2014 Charger, also a comparison. The Cherokee now has about 28,000 miles on it.

My wife is the usual driver—commuting a couple of miles to work on campus at Michigan State University in East Lansing. We also drive the Cherokee to the family cottage in northern Michigan with some frequency, about 190 miles one way, carrying a fair amount of stuff and our dog.

Comfort and Utility: The cloth seats are similar to those in my son’s 2013 Dodge Dart (built on the same platform as Cherokee) and not as good as the very supportive seats in my Charger. They seem to bulge a little in the middle of bottom and backrest. This really isn’t uncomfortable, just not as good as it should be. (In fairness, my wife prefers the Cherokee seats since they aren’t as long as those in the Charger.) Lumbar support adjusts electrically, though we seldom need it. The heated seats and, especially, steering wheel included with the cold weather package are very nice, the heated wheel a particular plus in my wife’s opinion. The ride is quite smooth. I like the automatic A/C, though my wife usually adjusts manually.

The rubber mats included in the cold weather package are of good quality and so far have shown no wear.

The adjustable steering wheel could adjust a little closer to the driver to fit my preference but is fine for my (shorter) wife. Because of the geometry of the front end, the steering wheel is a little more tilted than in a sedan.

The back seat is very roomy and often has carried three adult friends (one a petite woman, the others average sized guys). Seating is comfortably upright back there and easy to access, and the seat backs can recline a bit. Slid forward (a great feature) the back seat is very good at securely containing our Golden Retriever. We use a hammock-like seat cover from Duluth Trading Company that attaches to front and rear headrests and keeps the dog from sliding into the rear foot wells or between the front seats. I highly recommend this to dog owners, an accessory also available from Orvis and other retailers on line.

There is a lot of space in the hatch, particularly with the rear seat slid forward, just not as much as in a minivan.

We use Thule crossbars and mounts on the Cherokee’s roof rails to carry kayaks and other stuff. These are very easy to install and remove, although they cut highway mpg by 1-2 when on the vehicle.

Technology: We have the 8.4 touch screen, which is really first rate, easy to read and with physical buttons for climate settings. The navigation upgrade was expensive, about $600, but works very well and includes repeating of turns in the display in front of the driver. The upgrade took me about Ĺ hour sitting in my driveway and talking to the vendor on the phone. Most of this was the time for the installation to complete. I was only on the phone about five minutes. My wife uses Sirrius satellite radio a lot. Phone pairing was very easy (done for my wife in a minute by our salesman when we first picked up the vehicle). I wouldn’t get the smaller screen (which I’ve had in past vehicles) if at all possible. The smaller screen isn’t bad, but the 8.4 is great and adds a lot to the ease of use of the vehicle.

We always have the driver display set on the digital speedometer, which is big and easy to read and far superior to any analog speedometer I’ve ever used. Incidentally, the steering wheel controls for displays are improved over those in my 2014 Charger. In the Charger you have to “go back” via a back button to access all the displays. In the Cherokee you just scroll through with any backs. The Cherokee is far superior. Controls for cruise control are more intuitive in the Cherokee, also.

Incidentally, the Cherokee seems to include its own cell phone, will dial 911 from a button on the mirror.

Style: It’s fine. The front end was polarizing when introduced, but I think it just was ahead of what people were ready to accept at the time.

Visibility: At 5’ 3” my wife can’t really see the hood and finds that she has to look carefully over her shoulder for lane changes. The rising beltline cuts into her view out the rear side windows. Neither of these is a problem for me.

Handling/Ride: This is a real plus so far as my wife is concerned, even better than the short wheelbase Caravan, which surprisingly was a real pleasure to drive. The Cherokee just whips around corners around town, as she describes it. Also, this is a Jeep and engineered to take rough roads. It glides over washboard dirt roads up north that would set the whole Caravan shaking. You can tell that the wheels are moving a lot, but the body isn’t. (We have a Chrysler body engineer in the family, and he says that the body is very solid, will not flex in positions with diagonally opposite wheels on high points that would have many competing crossover/SUVs unable to open or close their doors—or even popping their doors open.)

Gas mileage/MPG: The V6 Cherokee is equivalent to the V6 short wheel base Caravan in mpg, getting as low as 14 mpg around town in winter but 28-30 mpg on the expressway in 75 mph cruising. It’s averaging about 24-25 mpg over all.

Acceleration/Handling: The 3.2 V6 Cherokee is not quite as fast in acceleration as my 3.6 V6 Charger. It has to work a little harder, but it gets onto the expressway without problems. The trade-off is better mpg by maybe two mpg than the Charger. We also test drove an I-4 Cherokee, which was somewhat noisier and slower than the V6, though acceptable. I suspect the four wouldn’t get better mpg than the V6 since it is working harder. In very fast, heavy traffic (as on the expressways in and near Detroit which sometimes move at speeds up to 85 or 90 mph) I prefer the Charger for its lower center of gravity, excellent acceleration and handling. In other uses including rural freeway cruising, the Cherokee is fine. If we were to have only one vehicle it would be the Cherokee for its versatility.

Headlights: They don’t suck, though I’ve read a lot of criticisms of them. What they do have that will surprise most U.S. drivers is a very decided cut-off to the low beams above which there is essentially no light. That is, you can see a definite line between light (below the cut-off) and no light (above the cut-off) as you drive. It is a real adjustment to get used to this, but it doesn’t bother me. As with all fog lights, these are useful in town at slow speeds but don’t make much difference otherwise.

Reliability: No problems that would lead me not to recommend the Cherokee. An oil pressure sensor failed at 26,000 miles, setting off the check engine light, and was replaced under warranty at no charge. Every once in a while the power lift gate doesn’t want to close and latch itself, but this has been a very intermittent problem that always has cured itself quickly. The Cherokee has had six different recalls and computer updates completed including the lift gate—but in only two trips to our dealer. It never has been kept overnight or stranded us.

The transmission: No problems whatever.

Rattles and squeaks: None, not even on rough roads.

Regrets: We should have gotten the tow package, a real bargain and an elegantly simple design, if only to carry bikes and occasionally launch our boat. We may add an aftermarket hitch for these purposes, which I’ve done before on other vehicles in the driveway at a cost under $200. The installation looks straightforward.

If we bought again today we probably would get the safety packages, particularly for the lane change alert to cars in the next lane. The only difficulty is that these require the upscale model, which comes with bigger wheels (that will hurt ride).

Overall: The Cherokee is a hit, and we would buy another.
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