• Car Review

2019 Jeep Cherokee Review

By Autolist Staff | April 19, 2019

Summary

The 2019 Jeep Cherokee is a compact SUV which is now in its fifth generation.

It competes in a highly popular segment which includes the Subaru Forester, Mazda CX-5, Ford Escape, Nissan Rogue, Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Chevrolet Equinox, Volkswagen Tiguan, Hyundai Tucson, and Kia Sportage.

New features for the 2019 model year are highlighted by a new front-end design which was notoriously polarizing for most who critiqued the pre-facelift Cherokee.

Another welcome change to the lineup is the addition of a new engine: the 2.0 liter, turbocharged engine is added to the powertrain options and produces 270 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque.

Additional rear cargo space, updated Uconnect infotainment updates, and the addition of standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto round out all of the Cherokee’s new features.

The Cherokee has come a long way since it was reborn from the Jeep Liberty in 2014. Small improvements over the years, both mechanically and stylistically, have made it a well-rounded choice for those who want to work during the day and play in the great outdoors at night and on the weekends.

Exterior

FCA made the 2019 Jeep Cherokee a more normal-looking crossover SUV thanks to its new facelift. It is more conservative and follows Jeep’s design language more closely, mimicking its Jeep Compass and Grand Cherokee siblings.

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It’s more aggressive capabilities still show through its softened exterior with 7.7 inches of ground clearance in non-Trailhawk models. The Trailhawk trim adds a whole inch of ground clearance with additional badging, red tow hooks in front, and more aggressive tires for a serious appearance.

Unique exterior trim is also present on the Trailhawk and Overland trims for a distinct appearance.

Interior Quality and Comfort

Interior quality has notably been improved for the 2019 Cherokee refresh.

Overall impressions from reviewers can be summed up in the word, “serviceable.” Though quality has been improved, materials and comfort are still average for the class.

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Higher trim levels do offer leather seating, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and upholstery for an upgraded feel, but plastic parts are present throughout the interior.

Headroom and legroom are both plentiful with an easy step-in height. Some reviewers noted that the lower roof overhang was slightly inconvenient when entering the rear seats. Seats were noted to be comfortable while not overly supportive.

Ride comfort and road noise are both reported to be average and expected for an SUV.

Utility & Practicality

Though the Cherokee’s cargo space increased for 2019, it still falls far short of the competition. With 24.7 cubic feet of cargo space, it falls behind almost all other competitors in the segment.

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Despite the lack of cargo space in the trunk, storage cubbies are plentiful throughout the cabin, and an adjustable cargo load floor makes trunk space more efficient. Both the rear seats can be folded down for longer or larger items.

In contrast to the Cherokee’s lack of cargo area, its towing capacity is best in class. Cherokees equipped with the 271 horsepower V6 engine can tow up to 4500 pounds while the new 2.0 liter turbocharged four cylinder engine can handle up to 4000 pounds.

One of Jeep’s best known attributes is that it can go anywhere. One tester noted that he tested the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk alongside the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, and it was able to do just about everything the Rubicon did, which is impressive.

It should be noted that the Cherokee’s approach and departure angle grant it slightly less utility than the Wrangler for serious off-roaders.

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Though its off-road and towing capabilities make it one of the most well-rounded SUVs in its class, its comparative lack of cargo space brings its overall practicality and utility down to about average for the segment.

Technology & Infotainment

Technology and infotainment features are well-represented in the 2019 Jeep Cherokee.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard across all trims of the Cherokee. While the Uconnect touchscreen infotainment system was upgraded for 2019, the standard screen size is only 7 inches in diameter, small compared to other competitors.

Testers commented that the infotainment system was one of the best and easiest to use as the layout was very simple and easy to understand. Many also commented that the icons and display lettering was small and hard to read.

An upgraded 8.4 inch touchscreen infotainment system is optional on higher trim levels.

Standard technology equipment offerings are strong with automatic HID headlights, heated mirrors, Bluetooth, and a rearview camera.

Optional technology features include an automated liftgate, a parking assist system, remote start, and Jeep’s more advanced Active Drive II 4WD system.

Safety & Driving Assistance

Safety and driving assistance features are available for Cherokee buyers, but unfortunately, many of those are only available on higher trim levels.

Standard features include a backup camera, traction control, and a rearview camera that can be turned on even when the vehicle isn’t in reverse.

Optional safety features have been increased for 2019 and are quite competitive for the segment. They include blind spot monitoring, forward collision alert, automatic emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, automatic high-beam headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and even active parking assist.

The 2018 Cherokee earned a “marginal” score in the small overlap crash test for the driver’s side while it earned top marks for child safety. The 2019 Cherokee has not been crash tested yet but is expected to be with reported improvements from Fiat-Chrysler, making it safer.

Driving Experience

Reviewers of the Cherokee were pleasantly surprised by its overall improvements, especially the new turbocharged four cylinder engine.

Jeep offers three engine options for the Cherokee, all of which are paired to a 9-speed automatic transmission:

  • the naturally-aspirated, 2.4 liter, four cylinder engine produces 180 horsepower and 171 lb-ft. of torque

  • the turbocharged, 2.0 liter, four cylinder engine produces 270 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque

  • the naturally-aspirated, 3.3 liter, V6 engine produces 271 horsepower and 239 lb-ft. of torque

Testers are surprised, though not overwhelmed, by the Cherokee’s handling capability. It weighs about 4000 pounds, which is more than most of its competitors.

When mated with the turbo four cylinder or V6 engine, it is noted that handling is surprisingly nimble, though acceleration is slightly underwhelming due to its weight and transmission.

Reviewers of the Cherokee almost universally cite its nine-speed automatic transmission as a downfall to the SUV. It is noted to be sluggish, poor to upshift and downshift at times, and finicky.

It should also be noted that reviewers also found the transmission to be slightly improved for 2019, adding that the additional power of the V6 and the 2.0 liter turbo engines help mitigate the feel of any transmission sluggishness.

Almost all reviewers agreed that the 2.4 liter four cylinder base engine option was slow to respond, not adequate for the weight of the Cherokee, and should be avoided in favor of one of the other two engine options.

Braking was noted to be better than average in both feel and actual testing. Braking results show better than average stopping distance for the segment, a highlight for how much the SUV weighs.

Fuel efficiency

The Cherokee's fuel economy lags behind the competition.

The base 2.4 liter engine gets an EPA estimated 22 miles per gallon in the city and 31 miles per gallon on the highway with front wheel drive. Adding all wheel drive drops those numbers to 21 miles per gallon in the city and 29 on the highway.

The 2.0 liter, turbocharged engine gets an EPA estimated 23 miles per gallon in city driving and 31 in highway driving with front wheel drive. Adding all wheel drive provides two less miles per gallon in both the city and on the highway.

The 3.2 liter V6 delivers an EPA estimated 20 miles per gallon in the city and 29 on the highway with front wheel drive. With all wheel drive, you can expect 19 miles per gallon in the city and 27 on the highway.

The Active Drive II Four-Wheel Drive system decreases fuel economy further. When equipped with the 2.0 liter turbocharged engine, EPA estimates fall to 20 and 27 miles per gallon in the city and highway respectively. The V6 falls to 18 and 26 miles per gallon in the city and highway respectively.

Pricing & Value

The Jeep Cherokee provides varied levels of value.

If interior space, upscale interior, and a great driving experience are important to you, the Cherokee will fall behind competitors such as the Mazda CX-5, Honda CR-V, and Toyota RAV4.

If you are the adventurous type, consistently haul trailers, or feel like going anywhere at any time, the Jeep Cherokee provides excellent value and tremendous off-road capability.

The Cherokee’s base price is higher than most other competitors, but its capability far exceeds most in the segment.

Another area of value the Cherokee provides is the ability to choose several features instead of choosing entire package options for different trim levels. Jeep does offer several packages to add to the Cherokee, but not all are necessary for certain individual features to be added to your trim of choice.

All trim levels of the Cherokee are available with all wheel drive with it being standard on the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk. Adding all wheel drive to any of these trim levels will raise the price by $500.

All trim levels, except the base Latitude, receive the 2.4 liter four cylinder engine as standard but can be optioned with either the 2.0 liter turbocharged engine or V6 engine. The 2.4 liter engine is the only engine option available on the base Latitude.

Trim levels able to be fitted with all wheel drive are also able to be upgraded to the Active Drive Four-Wheel Drive system standard on the Trailhawk trim.

A tow package is available for Latitude Plus, Limited, and Trailhawk trims. It includes a Class III hitch, transmission cooler, and trailer wiring. Cherokees with the V6 engine and tow package coupled include a more robust engine cooling system as well.

A technology package with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and forward collision warning can also be equipped to Limited, Trailhawk, and Overland trims.

The Cherokee is available in five different trim options:

Jeep Cherokee Latitude

The Latitude is the base model Cherokee and starts at just over $26,000 with destination fee included.

Standard equipment on the Latitude includes the 2.4 liter engine, front wheel drive, air conditioning, 17-inch alloy wheels, a rearview camera, a six speaker audio system, automatic headlights, and a 60/40 split rear seat. A 7-inch touchscreen Uconnect infotainment system is also standard on the base Latitude.

Jeep Cherokee Latitude Plus

Opting for the Latitude Plus will push the price to $28,000 with destination and the base 2.4 liter engine equipped with front wheel drive.

The Latitude Plus adds some luxury features to the base model such as push button start, leather upholstery, a power driver’s seat, and satellite radio.

Jeep also offers the Comfort and Convenient Package for the Latitude Plus trim. This package includes remote start, dual-zone climate control, a regular household electrical outlet, a power liftgae, and programmable garage door opener.

Jeep Cherokee Limited

The Jeep Cherokee Limited starts at around $32,000 with destination and the base 2.4 liter engine as well as front wheel drive.

The Limited trim is essentially a Jeep Cherokee Latitude Plus with the Comfort and Convenience Package included and the addition of several luxury and safety features.

It includes heated front seats, a power passenger seat, the upgraded 8.4 inch Uconnect touchscreen infotainment system, and a driver information system integrated into the gauge cluster.

Safety features include blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and parking sensors.

Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk

The Cherokee Trailhawk starts at about $35,500 with destination.

It comes standard with the 271 horsepower V6 engine and Active Drive Four-Wheel Drive system which is a more advanced system than Jeep’s regular all wheel drive system. Included in this system is Active Drive Lock and Jeep’s selec-terrain management system for various driving conditions.

The Trailhawk is equipped with most of the Limited trim option except for the power liftgate. Additionally, it is equipped with skid plates, larger and wider wheels and all-terrain tires, unique exterior trail rated badging and trim coloration, a cloth-leather combination interior, Jeep’s hill management system a locking rear differential, and a more robust suspension system which adds 1 inch of ground clearance.

A navigation system is an optional extra.

Fully optioned, a Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk Elite will exceed $45,000 and is the most well suited trim level for serious off-roading.

Jeep Cherokee Overland

The Cherokee Overland tops out the Cherokee line and starts at just over $38,000 with destination. It is equipped with the V6 engine and front wheel drive as standard.

A nine-speaker audio system, navigation system, sunroof, 18-inch alloy wheels, upgraded leather seats, upholstery, and center console, driver memory seats, power passenger seating, and ventilated front seats are all features available on the Overland trim.

More Photos

See more 2019 Jeep Cherokee Photos.

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