Drive Time: Jeep Cherokee in hot sales segment | MyWindsorNow.com

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Drive Time: Jeep Cherokee in hot sales segment

The Jeep Cherokee made drives on Monday to Windsor and Sterling and back.

Sales numbers

Here are sales totals in 2016 for all the SUV compacts:

Honda CR-V 357,335

Toyota RAV4 352,154

Nissan Rogue 329,904

Ford Escape 307,069

Chevrolet Equinox 242,195

Jeep Cherokee 199,736

Jeep Wrangler 191,774

Subaru Forester 178,593

Jeep Patriot 121,926

Mazda CX-5 112,235

Subaru Crosstrek 95,677

Jeep Compass 94,061

Hyundai Tucson 89,713

GMC Terrain 83,925

Kia Sportage 81,066

Volkswagen Tiguan 43,636

Mitsubishi Outlander 26,576

The 2017 Jeep Cherokee Limited, competing in the red-hot compact SUV/crossover category, has come my way.

The 4-by-4 showed up in time to deliver Jan and me on Monday to two final-rites services for her mother, Ruth Carey Davis, 96, who died in Greeley on New Year's night. The morning service was at the First Christian Church in Windsor, the oldest church building in that community, according to pastor Jim Barrington. For the afternoon service, we drove to Sterling and the Tennant Funeral Home.

Ruth, through the years, rode often with Jan and me and felt moved at times to offer an assessment of ride quality from her right-side, rear-seat position. I think she always measured the new ones against the full-sized Buicks she and Jan's father, the late Lyle Davis, drove in the 1970s and '80s.

With its 3.2-liter Pentastar V-6 of 271 horsepower and 239 pound-feet of torque and nine-speed automatic transmission, the Cherokee averaged 23 miles per gallon for the Monday drives and some additional maneuvering later in the week. Some bit of hesitance on quick takeoff is brushed aside by strong midrange power.

The Jeep's Active Drive II system, with twist of a dial, will engage low range and terrain-management selection from automatic to snow/sand/mud or sport.

Seating position in both front and rear is relatively high, lending good vision all-round. A user-friendly center stack, topped by small storage with lid and stitched leather dash, has large touchscreen for navigation, audio and climate controls.

The Cherokee 4-by-4 weighs a few pounds under 4,000 on a wheelbase of 106.3 inches, overall length of 182 inches and height of 66.2.

From a fairly reasonable base price of $31,495, the Cherokee Limited I drove jumped to a sticker total of $42,945 with a long list of optional items.

Much of it was safety related — blind-spot and cross-path detection, collision warning and park assist, lane-departure warning, advanced cruise, brake assist, rain-sensitive wipers and automatic high-beam headlamp control.

Other amenities included power liftgate, hill-descent control, off-road suspension, dual-pane panoramic sunroof, memory for radio/driver seat/exterior mirrors, premium leather-trimmed bucket seats heated and ventilated.

While the Cherokee offers more off-roading capability than other SUV/crossovers in the compact category, the segment's sales leaders, Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, are noted for smooth operation.

Bud Wells, a native of Wray, is a former Page 1 editor of the Denver Post and has reviewed automobiles for the past 40 years. He can be contacted at budwellscars@comcast.net.