Autofield Blog

Two Things About the Nine-Speed Cherokee


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30. October 2013

While we don’t ordinarily run pictures of vehicles on car haulers, this one from Jeep came to our attention. The company wanted to point out that as of October 22, the long-delayed Cherokees (they were supposed to be in dealers in July) are finally leaving the Toledo Assembly Complex in Ohio and showing up at dealerships across the country. Thus, the picture.

Cherokee delivery

The rumored reason for the delay is that there was a problem with the nine-speed transmission that required a software modification. Not the gears, apparently, but the algorithms that control their sequencing.

A couple of observations about this. (1.) Chrysler ought to be lauded for advancing the state of the technology by developing (working with ZF) a nine-speed transmission when most of the industry—even in luxury cars—often have six-speeds. More gears mean that the powertrain operates more often in its sweet spot, which means better fuel efficiency.

2014 Jeep Cherokee Latitude

That said, (2) it ill serves anyone to put technology on the streets if said technology isn’t up to the task. (From another realm: think only about the Obamacare website.) So at least the company must be credited with keeping these Cherokees out of the driveways of customers. Still, it would have been better if there had been knowledge of the problem long before there was anticipation of the crossovers at dealerships so that the company wouldn’t have had to provide photographic evidence of shipping.

By the way: I’ve driven the Cherokee—yes, with the nine-speed—and this is one well-executed vehicle, but visually and Trail Ratedly.

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