REVIEW: Snow Goose Hunting in a Jeep Cherokee Limited
Can the 2017 Jeep Cherokee Limited pass JK-Forum’s rigorous versatility testing?
What makes a good hunting rig? For many, an old, worn-out truck or big SUV often comes to mind. How about something smaller and newer like a 2017 Jeep Cherokee Limited? We took one snow goose hunting in Eastern Wyoming to find out.
Navigating the back roads of rural Wyoming in the Jeep Cherokee Limited, we scanned the skies for the shimmering white-light reflections gaggles of snow geese make. This part of the country is known for its vast open terrain making it ideal for spotting them. The Cherokee was equipped with Jeep’s Active Drive II system allowing us the flexibility of turning off the dirt road for the more rugged ditch roads as we traversed the terrain.
Rolling hills of farmland mixed with cattle chewing on leftover fall grasses framed by a row of southern buttes filled our horizon as the 3.2L V6 smoothly powered us around the countryside. This engine offered plenty of power for the 3,953-lb. SUV. Along with the 9-speed transmission, there was nothing but smooth power on the highways leading west to our hunting area.
Stopping by a local farm to retrieve our snow geese decoys, we packed nearly three dozen of them in the rear cargo area along with a shotgun and a backpack filled with supplies. Heading off farther west and north to public hunting grounds, the large front windshield and driver’s window provided a great view of the sky.
Arriving at the various public ponds, we hiked back only to discover the snow geese weren’t there. Loading back into the Cherokee, we hit the road north to scan the Platte River, which crisscrosses the valley.
On the highway, the smooth ride of the Jeep Cherokee Limited was surprising considering how well it handled the washboard dirt roads. We also took advantage of the adaptive cruise control to allow us to scan the skies as the Jeep kept watch of the road ahead. With a variety of low-speed tractors and farm trucks entering the highway from time to time, this is a handy feature when scouting.
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Along the riverside, we turned off the pavement and hit the dirt roads and paths again to scan for geese. The Selec-Terrain System’s knob came in handy to alter how the SUV handled the terrain. With a quick push of a button, we could switch back and forth between the various settings: auto, snow, sport and sand/mud. The sand and mud setting was an easy favorite as it allowed us to get a little loose from time to time with more torque sent to the rear wheels.
As the day progressed, we scouted back and forth, and laid out decoys. While we got only one shot off, the Jeep Cherokee Limited was a great rig to drive around in, and the premium leather-trimmed seats were a welcome addition. Climbing in and out as well as driving around, the seats seemed like they would hold up fairly well to years of ownership.
Finally, the EPA-estimated fuel economy of 18/26/21 city/highway/combined was dead on what we experienced, and a big improvement over many typical hunting rigs.
In the end, the 2017 Jeep Cherokee Limited is actually a far more capable SUV than some give it credit. Equipped with Jeep’s Active Drive II off-road suspension, Select-Terrain System and 18-inch wheels, it offers plenty of clearance for most off-road trips as well as equipment to smooth out the terrain. It also has plenty of cargo room with the second-row seats folded flat.
About the only issue to give us pause was the price: $42,945. The Limited trim level and a slew of options pushed the price well above its starting MSRP of $31,495. However, much like luxury pickups out there, the 2017 Jeep Cherokee Limited can spend a day working the trail, and then can get cleaned up for a night on the town. With that kind of flexibility, you really get a versatile vehicle with the Jeep Cherokee Limited.