Canada has plenty of cold, unforgiving wilderness, but the country’s certainly been a warm, welcoming place for the 2014 Jeep Cherokee. After competing for the affections of 80 journalists in last fall’s TestFest, the $33,160 mid-sizer drove off with the “Best New SUV/CUV Under $35,000″ award from the Automobile Journalist Association of Canada. It left behind the Buick Encore, Mitsubishi Outlander, Toyota RAV4 AWD Limited and Subaru Forester XT Touring.

Jeep introduced several prototype vehicles for the annual Easter Jeep Safari at Moab, UT. The Jeep Cherokee Dakar may not be a JK, but this is the most modified Cherokee out there, currently. While Mopar says the lift kit isn’t available, let’s see what could be done if someone were to brave a warranty void and create the ultimate “KL” chassis.

We watched the 1784 Jeep Cherokee drive across the field in front of us, cutting the pit course of the Parker 425. We had assumed it was just a newbie who got lost or somebody desperate to get fuel. As I continued to watch, I realized more was going on. It turns out the driver shut off the truck to make sure he didn’t kill the fuel pump, but it failed to restart. To make matters worse, this wasn’t even his pit spot.