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Unread 03-16-2015, 02:07 AM   #1
evaporateddwarf
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First Time Dad - Cherokee a Good Option?

Hi all,

First post (hopefully not breaking forum guidelines). Mix of an intro and some questions. I'm about to be a first time dad, and am looking for a new SUV/CUV. I have an '02 S/C Xterra, and my wife has a '11 Corolla. Looking to retire mine, as it's not super reliable, and her car isn't big enough for the rear facing seat we have (Uppababy).

I would prefer to get a true mid size (GC, Explorer), but am not comfortable with that kind of car payment (currently have none, so anything is an added cost), so I've been looking into a 2015 Cherokee. The other model I'm considering is the Mazda CX-5. Seems smaller, but has superior cargo space and good on road handling.

I used to do moderate off-roading in my younger days, and previous to the Xterra I had a '92 JC, but at this point, this will essentially be a pavement only driver, with occasional snow (in the PNW), and unpaved roads. While a Limited trim would be ideal, I'll most likely end up with the Latitude due to pricing, and am up in the air about whether 4x4 is necessary for the very occasional snow conditions. Leaning towards the 6cyl for the mountains and passing power. I do 10k-15k miles a year, with a lot of 200-800 mile trips on I5, so the power to get through the pass is attractive, but not sure if it's worth the compromise in fuel economy. I have a motorcycle, and have driven performance cars, and love it, but am trying to be reasonable about the family car without disappointing myself in a sloth of a vehicle.

For those of you with kids, how has the new JC treated you, and how have you felt about the limited cargo space? My biggest concern is once loading up with a stroller and gear is that it won't be enough space. I like the reports of quiet cabin, and other than that, I want to have decent in-class cabin space and finishings, and an enjoyable ride.

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Unread 03-16-2015, 08:52 AM   #2
ptown44
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Personally I think the interior is best in class. We looked at the ford edge, escape, the equinox and a couple others and I think the Cherokee is laid out the best and has the best quality. Not sure on the kids aspect as I don't have any. But imo, the V6 is a must.
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Unread 03-16-2015, 08:54 AM   #3
MyJKU14
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I'm due with my first baby in May and we just traded my 4-door wrangler in for at Cherokee. I have the 6cyl 4x4 Latitude and I am really hoping that it is better for kid hauling than the wrangler was shaping up to be. I have about 500 miles on mine so far and it is getting 22-23 average mpg so far and keeps going up . Good luck!
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Unread 03-16-2015, 09:06 AM   #4
zander21510
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Looking to a future baby in a couple years, my Trailhawk was fiancee and future grandmother approved. It's got good safety ratings and the quality is great. Plus it's cool and powerful enough for me to enjoy!

I would recommend 4x4 and v6 at minimum options...without the 4x4 she's just another front wheel drive CUV and would be just as bad in the snow...probably don't need the AD-II if you're just planning on snow.

I would try both the i4 and the v6, see if you can stand the i4, I couldn't coming from driving nothing but put-puts since getting a license...most folks agree the i4 is underpowered.

As far as fuel economy...don't expect sticker values. I just cracked 20mpg with 65% highway driving on my last tank, my usual commute driving I see 17-18. You'll probably get better in a non TH though. From all I've read though, a sport 4x2 i4 can get dismal mileage while a fully loaded TH 4x4 v6 can sip along.

Good luck and congrats on the baby!
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Unread 03-16-2015, 09:22 AM   #5
ruinah
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I upgraded from a Volvo S40 just a few weeks ago to the V6 Cherokee Latitude. My kids are K and 1st grade and so far it has been perfect for us. I can't say much about car seats other than boosters but overall comfort is so much better. Wife has a 13 Highlander which obviously has more room in it but we use that if we go on trips. The Jeep is great for taking kids to school and going to sports stuff etc. Congrats btw and good luck on the new arrival! (and I don't mean the Jeep)
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Unread 03-16-2015, 10:02 AM   #6
evaporateddwarf
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Thanks for the replies and well wishes everyone.

Good to see those of you with kids have been pleased. That's a bit disappointing on the fuel economy. My Xterra goes 14-16, so anything is an improvement, but we normally drive the Corolla, which gets 25-30. So I was hoping to be in the 22-23 range.

I know this is much more on the personal preference side, but what packages have you found are worth it/not worth it? Fanciest thing I've had is the satellite radio in her car, so I'm not used to having anything. However, I'm a tech guy and always want the best, so I'm torn. I want the power lift gate for dealing with kids stuff, however, I go back and forth between needing all of the convenience, tech, safety packages. Secondly, any experience with the moon-roof? A coworker tells me he really likes having one, but my wife is unconvinced.

Hoping to get one soon. There's a bunch of deals in the Portland area right now with Latitude's going for $5k off of MSRP, so it's pretty easy to get one for $22k-$26k if you're wiling to miss out on complete control over which packages are added.
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Unread 03-16-2015, 10:19 AM   #7
zander21510
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evaporateddwarf View Post
Thanks for the replies and well wishes everyone.

Good to see those of you with kids have been pleased. That's a bit disappointing on the fuel economy. My Xterra goes 14-16, so anything is an improvement, but we normally drive the Corolla, which gets 25-30. So I was hoping to be in the 22-23 range.

I know this is much more on the personal preference side, but what packages have you found are worth it/not worth it? Fanciest thing I've had is the satellite radio in her car, so I'm not used to having anything. However, I'm a tech guy and always want the best, so I'm torn. I want the power lift gate for dealing with kids stuff, however, I go back and forth between needing all of the convenience, tech, safety packages. Secondly, any experience with the moon-roof? A coworker tells me he really likes having one, but my wife is unconvinced.

Hoping to get one soon. There's a bunch of deals in the Portland area right now with Latitude's going for $5k off of MSRP, so it's pretty easy to get one for $22k-$26k if you're wiling to miss out on complete control over which packages are added.
I think 22-23 is achievable in the city. You just have to be really conservative with driving.

After months of research, I opted for the convenience pkg & 8.4AN (navigation). I would have gotten just the technology package but you would have to get the convenience and safety packages...a hefty upgrade...

With that you get the power stuff and remote start...and I like the built-in NAV and HD radio, but that's just me. I could have lived without if price was a concern.

I don't think sunroofs are worth it...compromises the vehicle's structure, especially since the one on the KL is gigantic....but again it's personal preference.
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Unread 03-16-2015, 10:19 AM   #8
ettubrute
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Skip 4x4 unless you plan to go off road. It'll save MPG. If you get worried about snow and winter, buy a winter rim and tire set. Discount tire will store them for you and it's cheaper then the 4x4. V6 is plenty of power. Pretty peppy. Mazda's are nice, though. Cheaper to own over time. Might be a better option for you.
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Unread 03-16-2015, 01:39 PM   #9
evaporateddwarf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zander21510 View Post
I think 22-23 is achievable in the city. You just have to be really conservative with driving.

After months of research, I opted for the convenience pkg & 8.4AN (navigation). I would have gotten just the technology package but you would have to get the convenience and safety packages...a hefty upgrade...

With that you get the power stuff and remote start...and I like the built-in NAV and HD radio, but that's just me. I could have lived without if price was a concern.

I don't think sunroofs are worth it...compromises the vehicle's structure, especially since the one on the KL is gigantic....but again it's personal preference.
Thanks for the input. A couple dealers have $4800-$6800 off of MSRP, so I'm just trying to find the reasonable cut-off. The bulk of the models are anywhere from $24,500-$28,000 (MSRP $29,000-$34,800) on a 4x4 V6 Latitude. i could go basic FWD and 4cyl Latitude for just under $22,000.
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Unread 03-16-2015, 02:11 PM   #10
hewhosculpts
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Frankly, if reliability and some light dirt road driving or snow conditions are your main concerns then a Subaru AWD would be better than a Cherokee FWD.
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Unread 03-16-2015, 02:31 PM   #11
evaporateddwarf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hewhosculpts View Post
Frankly, if reliability and some light dirt road driving or snow conditions are your main concerns then a Subaru AWD would be better than a Cherokee FWD.
That's why I tested the Subaru, but I wasn't a fan of the 4cyl. It felt very underpowered, especially if we're talking about passing while going through the passes, and the 6cyl start at $36,000. Additionally, very mixed feelings on the CVT.
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Unread 03-16-2015, 05:35 PM   #12
ettubrute
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Suburbs are mostly boring, have boring interiors, boring radios, boring styling...see a theme? They are indeed underpowered. Cherokees are much more refined. Don't give up on the CX-5. Might not be a bad idea either.
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Unread 03-16-2015, 09:36 PM   #13
MyJKU14
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I have the Latitude with the power lift gate (a must for me), remote start, 8.4" screen w/o navigation, back up camera and no sun roof. The remote start was also a high up must for me since I live in CO and winters are rough, I wanted to be able to warm the car up before loading my baby in there, or cool it down this summer. You can definitely see 20+ MPG with mix hwy/cty driving with the v6 and 4x4. I remote start it before leaving work in the morning also, and I'm at 23 mpg right now.
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Unread 03-16-2015, 10:11 PM   #14
hewhosculpts
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ettubrute View Post
Suburbs are mostly boring, have boring interiors, boring radios, boring styling...see a theme? They are indeed underpowered. Cherokees are much more refined. Don't give up on the CX-5. Might not be a bad idea either.
The sad fact is Subarus are a lot more reliable than Jeeps... even the FWD varieties of Jeep. So boring, in the sense that he's not going to get stranded someplace random with a baby, is a big feature and not a fault.
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Unread 03-16-2015, 10:31 PM   #15
evaporateddwarf
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Not giving up on the CX-5 yet. When we're ready to pull the trigger (need to unload my Kawasaki Ninja and Xterra), I'll be test driving it along with the Cherokee. To be honest, at this point in my life, I want a bit of fun in the car, and want to like the looks and not feel like I lost my manhood, but reliability an practicality are obviously pretty important. :-/
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