1977 Jeep Cherokee Chief Sport Utility 2-door on 2040-cars
Cypress, Texas, United States
Jeep Cherokee for Sale
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Auto blogTue, 22 Jan 2013 08:46:00 EST
Striving for improved fuel economy, we already knew that Chrysler will begin using a nine-speed automatic transmission in some of its new products this year, but what we haven't known is that volume at which this gearbox will be used. According to Bloomberg, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has been quoted as saying that the automaker expects to sell close to 200,000 units equipped with this new transmission in 2013. Those gear-rich trannies will be spread out across three models, consisting of the redesigned Chrysler 200, the still-unnamed Jeep Liberty replacement and the Dodge Dart.
This transmission should play a pivotal role in making Chrysler vehicles more competitive in their respective segments. Just for comparison, one of the Dart's key competitors, the Toyota Corolla, still uses a four-speed automatic, and a previous report indicates that the next-generation 200 could get up to 38 miles per gallon on the highway, which is better than most non-hybrid midsize sedans on the market. Marchionne says that the new Jeep model is expected during the second quarter of this year, but there is no word as to when the new 200 or nine-speed Dart will debut, but clearly Dodge would like to have the transmission in its compact yesterday. As for that volume figure, it definitely doesn't seem out of reach since the Dart, Liberty and 200 combined for a total of more than 225,000 units in 2012.
How many more gears can we expect in future cars? Probably not many more, since the CEO of transmission-builder ZF, Stefan Sommer, previously stated that nine speeds was the "natural limit" for transmissions.
Production and media drive delays included, there has been no lack of press surrounding the 2014 Jeep Cherokee. With the most recent delay reportedly due to powertrain calibrations, we've been waiting to see how the Cherokee's fuel economy looks against the highly competitive compact CUV segment. Thanks to the EPA, we now know the fuel economy figures for the newest member of the Jeep family.
Arguably, the Cherokee has the most modern powertrain in its class with an updated base engine, all-new V6 and all-new nine-speed automatic transmission, but its fuel economy figures are simply on par for the segment. Still nothing to scoff at, though. According to fueleconomy.gov, front-wheel-drive Cherokee models with the base four-cylinder mill will top out the lineup with 22 miles per gallon in the city and 31 mpg on the highway; opting for four-wheel drive with this engine drops the figures to 21 city and 28 highway. Get even crazier with the option list, and the new 3.2-liter Pentastar V6 will get you 19 mpg city and 28 mpg highway in two-wheel-drive form or 19 city and 27 highway for 4WD.
If you're wondering how that stacks up among compact CUVs, head on over to Automobile Magazine for a full fuel economy breakdown for the segment. The controversially styled crossover hits dealers this month, and we'll be driving it in just a couple of weeks.
The investigation that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened into the Jeep Liberty in October 2013 has been closed. NHTSA received two (!) complaints about fires starting in the driver's door, thought to be caused by the master power window switch. The initial estimate was that 80,000 Libertys could be roped into a possible recall, but according to a report in the Detroit News the agency examined records for 425,000 Chrysler products that used the same window switch, including the Dodge Nitro and Chrysler Town & Country minivan.
After canvassing 265 warranty claims related to the master switches, NHTSA concluded that the rate of fires compared to the "large population of vehicles" was rather low, and that there was no trend pattern behind the few issues it did find. Perhaps with that, and the closure of the trailer hitch investigation, the Liberty can finally rest in peace.