What is it?
The 2014 Jeep Cherokee is the brand's all-new midsize SUV, replacing the Liberty. Two engines are available: a 184-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder and a muscular 271-hp 3.2-liter V6. Both are paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission, which has the most forward gears of any current transmission. Jeep says that's good for fuel economy, achieving up to 31 mpg on the highway. The Cherokee also uses a center-mounted touchscreen and a host of safety and security features.
Jeep hasn't announced pricing, and we're not entirely sure ourselves. We expect it to be more expensive than the outgoing Liberty -- which started around $24,000 -- but cheaper than the Grand Cherokee, which starts just over $29,000.
When can you get it?
The 2014 Jeep Cherokee goes on sale this fall.
Add it to your shopping list because...
While the Liberty was more of a niche player, the 2014 Jeep Cherokee offers a lot of new features to entice a broader audience. A new "ParkSense" system, for instance, aids drivers in parallel and perpendicular parking. The new 9-speed automatic will return great fuel economy. And the Cherokee is the first model to use the 3.2-liter version of Chrysler's highly-praised Pentastar V6. Plus, there's a new TrailHawk model that boasts more off-road capability.
Other cars to consider:
Chevrolet Equinox - The midsize Equinox SUV also uses a four-cylinder and a V6. At 182-hp, the four-cylinder is virtually identical to the Cherokee's - and it produces a similar 32 mpg.
Ford Edge - Like the Cherokee, the Edge straddles the boundaries between a compact SUV and a midsize. It also offers two rows of seats and a starting price well under $30,000.
Toyota RAV4 - The RAV4 is all-new for the 2013 model year. We're impressed with its new styling and updated interior. Unlike the Cherokee, the RAV4 only offers a four-cylinder engine.
Used Ford Explorer - If you're on a Cherokee budget but you want something a little bigger, consider a pre-owned version of the Ford Explorer. The current model came out in 2010 and offers three-row seating in addition to an available fuel-sipping 4-cylinder engine.
Used Toyota Highlander - Like the Explorer, the Highlander offers available three-row seating and 4-cylinder or V6 engines. With a starting price around $30,000, it's a little more expensive than the Cherokee -- but a used one will be in the same price range.
Do you think the new Jeep Cherokee is a worthy successor? Share your thoughts below.