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Old 02-14-2016, 02:04 PM   #1
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Cherokee NOT Grand Cherokee.

Anybody tow with a New (2014+) Jeep Cherokee?
Again, I'm talking about the Cherokee (KL) not the Grand Cherokee.
I'm curious what your opinions/experiences are.
It looks like it could be a good option for us. The V6 with tow package has a 4,500lbs tow rating. 450lbs max tongue weight. Milage for the 4x4 is rated at 21/28 mpg. One annoying thing, I can't find the Maximum Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) and apparently neither can the two dealerships I've contacted.
Towing would be maybe 5% of its job. 95% of the time it would be used for a 7 mile trip to work. We're at least ten years from retirement.
I know the looks are controversial but we like it. Besides, it's not near as weird looking as our other car.
I'm on the CherokeeClub forum but just thought that I'd see if anyone here had input.
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Old 02-14-2016, 03:02 PM   #2
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Probably ok for the 17' but maybe pushing it for the 19 footer. Remember you will usually go thru several tows over the life of the trailer, so get the trailer you want.
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Old 02-14-2016, 03:54 PM   #3
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Hmm ...we tested one out Dec,2013 and found issues with how it responds to the gas pedal . Had a long conversation with our mechanic who says Chrysler/Jeep are "light years behind " the other auto makers with the computerized functions . Sorry to say we just do not know enough to clarify and relay all the guys had to say - but we trust in his knowledge well enough to say we would not buy . Our mechanic recommended Pilot or Highlander , or Buick Enclave as a tow vehicle for our needs ( we like way more than is needed for our 15) .
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Old 02-14-2016, 05:06 PM   #4
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One annoying thing, I can't find the Maximum Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) and apparently neither can the two dealerships I've contacted.
This is a common problem. The worst possible case is that the GCWR is simply the curb weight plus the trailer weight rating; you could just plan on that, for the most conservative extreme.

Although dealerships are a logical place to look for this information, they are rarely a useful source of any information other than the price and availability of vehicles or parts. Even if a dealership gave me this information, I probably wouldn't believe it. If it isn't in the owner's manual (and it's likely not), I would call FCA (Jeep) customer service.

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Towing would be maybe 5% of its job. 95% of the time it would be used for a 7 mile trip to work. We're at least ten years from retirement.
In this situation - which is pretty common - I think it makes sense to settle for sufficient performance while towing (such as mountain grade climbing speed) to do well (in factors such as fuel economy) most of the time... as long as it is safe and comfortable while towing, of course. At retirement, you could choose a different vehicle for that phase of life.

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Probably ok for the 17' but maybe pushing it for the 19 footer. Remember you will usually go thru several tows over the life of the trailer, so get the trailer you want.
This makes sense.... unless you are like most people and can't reasonably afford to have an extra vehicle just for towing, or to drive a big truck all year instead of an efficient vehicle. Some people replace vehicles very frequently (so they should not let the vehicle control the trailer choice), but I drive them for a decade or more - it would be reasonable for me to trade trailers every time I change tow vehicles, especially with a trailer which maintains its value as well as an Escape.

The overall trailer weight capacity may be fine for even a 19', if you travel reasonably light; the hitch weight limit seems more likely to be an issue to me, but I haven't checked the owner's manual.
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Old 02-14-2016, 05:11 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by gabeck View Post
Hmm ...we tested one out Dec,2013 and found issues with how it responds to the gas pedal . Had a long conversation with our mechanic who says Chrysler/Jeep are "light years behind " the other auto makers with the computerized functions . Sorry to say we just do not know enough to clarify and relay all the guys had to say - but we trust in his knowledge well enough to say we would not buy .
The automatic transmission in a Cherokee is the ZF 9HP; it is a 9-speed, and ZF's most advanced transverse transaxle. This transmission is used by at least three different manufacturers, for at least five brands of vehicles. It has some clever and unusual mechanical design features (see product description from ZF), and I haven't heard of any issues with it mechanically; however, part of the control system is up to the vehicle manufacturer, and control of complex moderns automatics is both critical to the performance of the transmission, and not easy to do. There have been many complaints about undesirable shift behaviour in FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) vehicles with the 9HP.

Two years is a long time for computer programs - the problem may be fixed by now. The dual-clutch automatic transmission in the Ford Focus was poorly behaved... until a software update for (I think) the 2014 model year, which transformed its behaviour.

The relevance to towing is that the transmission needs to shift at the right points to perform well, without "hunting" between gears, and hopefully without staying in a lower gear (making more noise and burning more fuel) than necessary. If it doesn't work well automatically, the manual mode may be a workaround.

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Our mechanic recommended Pilot or Highlander , or Buick Enclave as a tow vehicle for our needs ( we like way more than is needed for our 15) .
The Buick Enclave (and equivalent with a Chevrolet badge, the Traverse) are a good size and configuration for towing an Escape, but have been severely criticized for durability in other forum discussions. My personal biases would make it unlikely for me to trust any Chrysler, but these GMs wouldn't top the list, either. The Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander (like the Enclave) are larger than the Cherokee, with longer wheelbase, wider track, and larger engines.
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Old 02-14-2016, 06:18 PM   #6
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Thanks for the input.
I must say we're almost settled on a 19. The 17 would be great right now. Mostly weekend trips, one week trip every sumer. However, we plan to take much longer trips when we retire and would rather not have to trade up later.
While I know the 19 might be a closer call than some would make, there are a couple factors in our favor. We would be traveling mostly in Wisconsin, think hills not mountains. We are all about traveling light. We currently pull a tent trailer behind a motorcycle and consider the flat bed and storage to be a huge luxury, but are very conscious of weight and weight distribution.
We really don't want a large vehicle day to day. There's two of us and a dog, so we don't need tons of space, or third row seating. We do tend to keep our vehicles a long time and stepping up to something larger close to retirement is already something we've discussed. I sold my Dodge Ram 6 years ago and don't miss driving it one bit, let alone parking it. Don't get the idea that I'm just a Chrysler guy either. My truck was great but I can say the same about the Fords, Chevy's & VW's I've had.
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Old 02-14-2016, 06:25 PM   #7
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I wouldn't, but my buddy towed his 19' with a Hyundai Santa Fe ( 3,500 lb / 350 lb rating ) for several years. He is much happier with his new Toyota Highlander, but he managed with the Hyundai ( here in mountainous BC ).
I'd be happier towing my 17' with a Highlander, but I'm not going to buy one.
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Old 02-14-2016, 06:54 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
Although dealerships are a logical place to look for this information, they are rarely a useful source of any information other than the price and availability of vehicles or parts. Even if a dealership gave me this information, I probably wouldn't believe it. If it isn't in the owner's manual (and it's likely not), I would call FCA (Jeep) customer service.
.
Regarding GCWR: My wife says I research things to death, she says she means it as a compliment. So, I've gotten used to knowing more about a product than the people trying to sell it to me. I've downloaded and read through the manual and couldn't find it. Gone on the forums and no one else seems able to find it either. The funny part is on one of the Jeep towing info pages they tell you not to exceed it and give you a calculator to figure out what yours is, but don't tell you what the max limit is.
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Old 02-15-2016, 12:53 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Jimrules View Post
I must say we're almost settled on a 19. The 17 would be great right now. Mostly weekend trips, one week trip every sumer. However, we plan to take much longer trips when we retire and would rather not have to trade up later.
17' now and trade up to 19' or 21' at retirement - along with larger tow vehicle - is one reasonable plan, but that doesn't mean it's the one for you!

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Originally Posted by Jimrules View Post
We are all about traveling light. We currently pull a tent trailer behind a motorcycle and consider the flat bed and storage to be a huge luxury, but are very conscious of weight and weight distribution.
We really don't want a large vehicle day to day. There's two of us and a dog, so we don't need tons of space, or third row seating.
That's promising. Keeping the passenger and cargo load down (to perhaps 400 kg or 900 pounds) and the options + fluids + cargo in in the trailer down (to perhaps 300 kg or 700 pounds) would leave room to spare under even the lowest possible GCWR for the Cherokee.

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Regarding GCWR: My wife says I research things to death, she says she means it as a compliment. So, I've gotten used to knowing more about a product than the people trying to sell it to me.
Been there, done that!

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Originally Posted by Jimrules View Post
I've downloaded and read through the manual and couldn't find it. Gone on the forums and no one else seems able to find it either. The funny part is on one of the Jeep towing info pages they tell you not to exceed it and give you a calculator to figure out what yours is, but don't tell you what the max limit is.
Unfortunately, none of that is uncommon.

Many manuals seem to have a towing section of standard content - the same for any model - some of which makes little sense in the context of the available information 9or lack of it) or the specific model.
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Old 02-15-2016, 02:12 AM   #10
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We purchased a '14 Cherokee V-6 with tow package exactly 2 years ago, and a 19' Escape last August. Our only trip with the Escape, without lots of extra gear, was to Vancouver Island, and then over Stevens Pass (4100') in Washington to get home. Have had two software updates on the transmission and it performs well, towing or not (others may not have this experience). Acceleration on I-5 was fine, and no problems up and over the mountains. We used to live in southern MN, and you should do fine in WI. We chose the Cherokee over the Grand Cherokee for size and price, and love it.
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