2014 Jeep Cherokee tackles a steep climb: Motoramic Drives
I was driving a nail polish-red 2014 Jeep Cherokee out of Topanga Canyon early on a Saturday morning, with another Cherokee a pace behind me. We loped down the hill together, two weak-looking CUVs chasing after the ghost of a more muscular Jeep forebear.
Behind us, an Audi A5 was giving the rear car a rough time. When I next checked the mirror, the driver had somehow squirted between us, and he was practically scooting under my bumper.
“That Audi is on my ass,” I said to my drive partner. He looked back.
“I wouldn’t worry about it,” he said. “It has an S-Line badge, which means he got the S package but without the engine. He got duped at the dealership.”
Only a professional automotive journalist could make an observation like that. So I kept moving down the canyon while the undercharged, overpriced Audi revved behind me. Finally,at the bottom the road split; the Audi moved to my left and ripped around me like he had important places to go. Either that, or he’d put too much Viagra in his Captain Crunch.
But he was waiting for me at the next stop sign, a T-intersection. He sat at the light, middle finger extended, yelling something. This seemed like an opportunity to make a new friend. I rolled down the window.
“Get your ***** out of your *****!” he shouted.
“What?” I said.
“You were braking at all the wrong time. You were weaving in and out of the lane. The speed limit is 45. You didn’t punch it once!”
Now, I’ll admit to not being a high-performance racer. But I’ve handled a lot of vehicles in a lot of situations. I didn’t need to take this crap, before my second cup of the morning, from a guy who looked like Scott Caan’s worst hair day.
“Dude, this is a 184-hp car,” I said. “It’s a family CUV. And it’s not mine. Also, I was within the lines.”
“**** you!” he said. “Take some driving lessons. And stay out of my neighborhood!”
My Malibu welcome aside, it did make me wonder: Why do people get so angry around this new Jeep Cherokee?
The 2014 Cherokee has been unglamorously controversial since the day it first broke cover in spy photos in February, highlighting its narrow headlamps and weird, toothy grille. The automotive press corps acted bitchier than Joan and Melissa Rivers on the red carpet. One car site posted a photo essay of the reactions on its staffers’ face when they saw the Cherokee for the first time.