Why Jeep Cherokee Owners Complain About the 2014 Model the Most

As one of the biggest of Jeep’s crossovers, the Cherokee is popular for its off-roading capabilities, potential towing capacity, and versatility. Slightly bigger than Jeep Compass and built in the U.S., the Jeep Cherokee offers a comfortable ride and perpetually improving safety and tech features.

There were, however, a couple of years when Jeep Cherokee was riddled with problems. What year was the worst, and what type of problems did it have? 

The Jeep Cherokee’s rough shifting

The 2014 model of the Jeep Cherokee had hundreds of complaints at CarComplaints.com, 11 recalls from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and dismal ratings on Consumer Reports. What went so horribly wrong? 

The transmission for this model was terrible. Hundreds of complaints detail transmission problems by the time the vehicle reached 40,000 miles. The problems were enough for Car Complaints to give a severity rating of 7.5 out of 10 on the issue. Repairs ranged from software upgrades to complete transmission replacements.

One California owner claimed the transmission jerked badly at 50 mph and the driveshaft snapped. When they took it in for repair, the technicians fixed the driveshaft but didn’t want anything to do with the transmission. 

Another California owner started having problems with rough shifting around 52,000 miles at speeds of 25 mph and under. At first, the issue was sporadic, but it became an increasingly frequent problem as time went on. Software upgrades made the problem worse, and the issue hadn’t yet been resolved.

OK, it’s just a bad transmission

There were more complaints on Car Complaints about the transmission just dying. The issue showed up around 28,000 miles, and they gave it a severity rating of 9.2 out of 10. Consumer Reports gave both transmission major and minor areas a one out of five in reliability, which further highlights this big red flag. 

On Minnesota owner’s transmission died on their 2014 Jeep Cherokee at 69,000 miles. They said it took the dealership over two weeks to make the repair. Another New York owner had their transmission die on the highway, and their model had to be towed. It was the fifth time they’d had problems with the transmission. A Charlotte owner had major transmission problems twice within the first 60,000 miles and became afraid of having an accident because of the transmission dying often.

Several owners complained not just of safety concerns but also of the dent it put in their wallet to pay for constant repairs.

Engine stalling in the 2014 Jeep Cherokee

A model poses next to a Jeep Grand Cherokee during the second press day of the Paris Motor Show
A 2014 Jeep Cherokee | Chesnot/Getty Images

The engine stalling and dying too unexpectedly presented more problems. On average, these issues started around 35,000 miles and involved repairs to the engine or total engine replacement. Car Complaints gave it an 8.6 on its severity scale for car issues.

One owner from Florida was driving at 35 mph and four car lengths behind another vehicle. When they went to stop the vehicle, they found the car was dead, so steering and brakes didn’t work. They were unable to avoid hitting the car in front of them. 

Another Ohio owner experienced episodes of the engine dying from the time it was brand new. After being told by two dealers that they couldn’t duplicate the error, they ended up in an accident and still no resolution from Jeep. 

Repairs for this issue could cost from $700 to substantially much more if replacing the engine was required. 

While the different configurations available along with its off-road capabilities make it seem appealing, the issues with the engine and transmission of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee present safety concerns. They also present the potential of numerous, costly repairs.

If you’re looking for a good off-road vehicle, or specifically a Jeep, you may want to give the 2014 Jeep Cherokee a hard pass. You may want to consider instead the 2014 Honda CR-V or the GMC Terrain as comparable, better-quality options.