The Jeep Cherokee can be seen as the first mainstream SUV. It was a runaway hit with buyers when it came to the market in 1984. Combining available four-wheel drive and room for a family in a compact, easy-to-maneuver package, the Cherokee offered a variety of trim levels. The Jeep Cherokee not only helped launch a class of vehicles, its arrival pretty much signaled the beginning of the end for the station wagon as the family vehicle of choice. The first generation models came in 2001, and the current second generation Cherokee firstly appeared in 2014. Now, with similar dimensions wrapped in a more modern package, the formula hasn’t changed much.
Current Jeep Cherokee
Similar in size to the first generation model, the second generation Cherokee took on a more futuristic look compared with the boxy, utilitarian first-generation model, while retaining better off-road capability than many small SUVs. Powertrain choices include a 2.4-liter four-cylinder or 3.2-liter V-6, along with a new 270-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine introduced as part of a 2019 update that also included more conventional styling. All engines are paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission that isn’t particularly refined. Several four-wheel-drive systems are available. Virtues include a quiet interior, Chrysler’s excellent Uconnect multimedia system, and decent towing capacity of up to 4,500 pounds.
The current Cherokee is offered in Sport, Latitude, Trailhawk, Limited and Overland trim levels. The Sport is pretty spartan, but it provides convenience features such as power accessories, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, and a six-speaker touchscreen stereo with USB-Bluetooth connectivity. The better-equipped Latitude entices with its alloy wheels, foglights, LED interior lighting and options including a dual-pane panoramic sunroof and the excellent 8.4-inch Uconnect technology interface. The Trailhawk focuses on heavy-duty hardware, including standard 4WD with a locking rear differential, flared fenders, wider wheels and tires, skid plates, tow hooks and an off-road suspension with a 1-inch lift. The fancy Limited lacks those rough-and-ready items but boasts bigger alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery and other luxury-oriented provisions. The top-of-the line Overland spruces things up even more with unique 18-inch wheels, ventilated front seats and upgraded leather upholstery, and it adds tech features such as rear parking sensors, a navigation system, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.
On the engine part, the Cherokee is powered by either a 2.4-liter four-cylinder (184 horsepower) or a 3.2-liter V6 (271 hp). The transmission for both is a nine-speed automatic. Front-wheel-drive is standard, but Jeep offers three four-wheel-drive systems: an introductory setup with a single-speed transfer case (referred to by most automakers as “all-wheel drive”), a two-speed unit with low-range gearing, and an upgraded two-speed system with a locking rear differential that’s exclusive to the Trailhawk.
2019 Jeep Cherokee
If you want a small SUV that can tow or go off-road, the 2019 Jeep Cherokee is a good choice. Jeep has given the exterior styling a much-needed refresh and included some upgrades in the cabin and under the hood. Beyond the obvious changes to the new Cherokee’s sheet metal, Jeep has added a few nice interior upgrades, such as a storage bin for phones in the center console and a few upgraded trim options. There’s also a new optional turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that’s more powerful than the Cherokee’s base four-cylinder and more fuel-efficient than the optional V6 engine. The 2019 Jeep Cherokee still doesn’t offer as much cargo capacity as its rivals. Although it has a new 2.0-liter engine, its fuel economy falls a little short of class leaders. Overall, the new Cherokee’s off-road and towing capabilities and its improvements, make it a great choice for a small SUV.
What’s New For The 2019 Jeep Cherokee?
- New optional turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder
- New exterior look
- Part of the second Cherokee generation introduced for 2014
- Upgraded standard infotainment system
- Available V6 and turbocharged engines provide smooth and assertive power
- Absorbent suspension smooths out rough surfaces
- Capable and user-friendly 8.4-inch touchscreen on many models
- Trailhawk offers unique off-road capability for a small crossover
- Less cargo capacity than other small crossovers
- Sluggish acceleration with the base 2.4-liter engine