The refreshed Jeep Cherokee for 2019 has redesigned lighting, fascia, bumpers and grille. Some minor changes were made inside. The biggest news on the Jeep Cherokee is the new 4-cylinder, turbocharged engine bringing more torque than the V6 at lower rpm to improve off-line performance and towing.
The new LED daytime running lamps and headlamps include low-speed cornering lights that greatly improve visibility on corners. The redesigned grille returns to a more traditional Jeep bar appearance.
Take the family off-road
The small to mid-size CUV market has become a crowded field in the past few years, but the Cherokee has continued to thrive in the segment in large part due to its off-road ability. Combine that unsurpassed 4-wheeling capability with an attractive design, state of the art electronics and driver assist features, and a well-planned and comfortable interior and you have a natural winner.
Cherokee has a trim level for everyone, with nine selections ranging from a base Latitude to the pinnacle of the Overland edition. Pricing begins at $25,490 for the Latitude and increases with each trim level bumping up the cost and the Overland coming in at $36,745 without options. Our test car was the Latitude Plus 4×4, one step up from the base. The sticker price on the Latitude Plus was $27,995; however, with added options, it climbed to $34,220, including destination charges.
Small motor, big Tech, lots of power
The new 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine added $2245 to the cost. The standard engine is the 2.4-liter MultiAir plant that leaves a lot to be desired in horsepower and torque. Also available is the V6, 3.2-liter motor that adds a little over $1700 to the price of the Jeep Cherokee. I was pleased with the performance of the new engine, but I didn’t try to tow with it. The 270 horses and 295 pound-feet of torque should make light towing a breeze. Towing capacity is limited to 2000 pounds on all models, and when you get the towing package, it will include sway control and connectors.
Every Jeep Cherokee has available four-wheel drive. Jeep offers three levels of what they call Active Drive, and our Cherokee came with Active Drive 1, making it able to negotiate most off-road adventures that didn’t include a lot of soft-surface or rock climbing. The Active drive will disconnect the rear axle to improve efficiency when appropriate. Active drive 2 adds a low range transfer case, and Active Drive Lock provides a locking rear differential for improved traction in challenging conditions. Select-Terrain Traction Management comes with all four-wheel drives.
The interior is top notch. On our test car, the power seating was cloth and vinyl and comfortable enough for hours behind the wheel. Seat covering options change with trim level, but most higher trims offer leather. Latitude and High Altitude only offer cloth.
Legroom in the rear is the best in the class. Rear seats will slide back and forth and fold flat for more storage area. If there is one weakness of the Jeep Cherokee, it is the minimal storage area compared to other models in the class.
All the controls were well planned and placed in easy reach of the driver. The dual-zone climate control did a good job of keeping the cabin at the pre-set temperature. Keyless Start allows you to keep the key in your pocket or purse. Entry and exit through the large and wide opening doors is easy, even for mobility challenged people.
Safety and entertainment rule
The award winning U-Connect with weather maps in the 2019 Jeep Cherokee
The high point of the Cherokee, apart from the off-road ability, is the 7-inch screen U-Connect system.; the award-winning 8.4-inch U-Connect 4C is available on most models. Apple Car Play and Android Auto are standard on all models. Sirius Radio, traffic, and weather are subscription options with one year included in the purchase. There is one USB connection in the front console and two charging USB ports in the rear.
Driver aids can include Adaptive cruise control with full stop and go function, blind spot monitors, front and rear park sensors, automatic high beams, rear cross traffic alert, collision warning with emergency braking, lane keeping and parallel and perpendicular parking assist. Some of these features are standard or optional on higher level trims.
After a week behind the wheel, we were averaging 25 mpg overall. Jeep clams 22 city, and 31 highway. All engines get close to the same mileage rating.
I found the Jeep Cherokee Latitude easy to drive, comfortable to ride in and maneuverable in urban traffic.