With a new nose and hatch, the 2019 Jeep Cherokee finally looks like a member of the same family as the Jeep Compass and Grand Cherokee. Under the hood you'll find a new turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that's just as powerful as the V6 but with better torque. And inside, there are upgrades to appearance, storage and materials, and there's still an off-road-ready Trailhawk model prepped to take on rugged trails that make the Cherokee's competitors look the other way.
You'll Like The 2019 Jeep Cherokee If...
If your weekend plans could range from simple grocery shopping and movie watching, all the way up to camping in the back country to that little place by the lake that's just hard enough to drive to that you know you'll be the only one there, the 2019 Jeep Cherokee is a rock-solid choice.
You May Not Like The 2019 Jeep Cherokee If...
If off-roading isn't your jam, and you'd rather have peppy performance, solid fuel economy and class-leading cargo space, you might be better served with a Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue or any number of other competitors.
The 2019 Jeep Cherokee benefits from a thorough refresh. Updates include a restyled front end that brings the Cherokee closer to the Compass and Grand Cherokee design aesthetic, an updated interior with nicer materials and a bit more cargo space, and a new 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine.
Simple but classy, the 2019 Cherokee benefits from a handful of interior upgrades. The subtle dash redesign includes larger air vents, more soft-touch materials, and a bit more storage room as well. The standard infotainment system gets an upgrade to a 7-inch screen that now includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The front seats are comfortable enough, but the driving position takes a hit thanks to a steering wheel that neither tilts high enough nor telescopes enough. Rear-seat passengers get decent leg- and headroom, and the seatbacks recline a tiny bit as well. Surprisingly, Jeep found an additional three cubic feet of cargo space, although the resulting 25.8 cubic feet still trails many competitors.
Gone at last are the odd 3-level headlights that have drawn curious looks since the Cherokee debuted in 2014. Instead there's a new nose, with new LED headlights sandwiched into a slim enclosure that looks much more similar to the Compass and Grand Cherokee. In back, the license plate moves from the bumper to the tailgate, there are reshaped taillights, and the overall appearance is tidier. The 2019 Cherokee is a solidly handsome compact SUV, even if it's not a beauty queen like the Mazda CX-5. We especially like the rugged looks of the Trailhawk, with its beefy tires, black-out hood, and red tow hooks projecting from its lower-profile bumper.
As a city-dwelling competitor to the Honda CR-V and others, the Cherokee has its shortcomings. It's heavy, which means fuel economy generally lags competitors. The weight also means that even with the available V6 engine it never feels quick; as for the base 2.4-liter 4-cylinder, just skip over that. The Cherokee comes more alive with the new turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder thanks to its better torque delivery. All three engines come connected to a 9-speed automatic that occasionally lags downshifts and upshifts, but at least it's much smoother than it was when the current Cherokee debuted in 2014. With the extra weight -- we're talking hundreds more than an equivalently equipped CR-V -- comes poor fuel economy. However, ride and handling are spot-on, and even though the Cherokee isn't quick, neither are its competitors. Once you head off-road though, the Cherokee really shines. The Cherokee Trailhawk with its Active Drive Lock all-wheel-drive system is the most rugged choice, but even standard Cherokee models with Active Drive II and its low-range offer capability that most others can't match. Throw in the available 4,500 pounds of towing capacity with the V6, and the case for the 2019 Cherokee gets clearer.
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price for the 2019 Jeep Cherokee Latitude with front-wheel drive starts at about $25,900, including the surprisingly high $1,195 destination charge. But you'll probably skip it, and the $27,700 Latitude Plus in favor of the Limited, which starts at $31,600. A Trailhawk will put you back about $34,500, while the luxurious Overland starts at about $37,500. All-wheel drive adds about $1,500 to the price of the Cherokee, and the V6 adds about $1,750 to the bottom line, with the new turbo adding $500 over that. Jeep gets a little wonky with its drivetrain options; for example, for AWD on a Limited you must get the V6. Still, the prices are largely in line for the compact-SUV segment, which includes the Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, Nissan Rogue, Toyota RAV4 and many others. Before buying, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others paid in your area, and note that the Cherokee generally has lower resale value than many of its competitors.
The base-model 2019 Jeep Cherokee Latitude comes standard with front-wheel drive (FWD), the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder and 17-inch steel wheels. The 7-inch Uconnect 4 screen includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with Bluetooth, three USB ports, and the display for the rearview camera. Along with hill-start assist and start/stop, the base Latitude also comes with blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-path detection standard; those last are usually upgrades at this price level. There's also standard air conditioning, the 6-way manually adjustable seats covered in durable cloth, a black-and-white digital info display between the gauges, and keyless entry. If you get all-wheel drive (AWD), Jeep's Selec-Terrain traction-management system is part of the package.
The most obvious options are related to the drivetrain. The base 4-cylinder can (and should) be skipped in favor of either the V6 or, even better, the new turbocharged 4-cylinder. Various AWD systems are also available, with the Jeep Active Drive Lock reserved for Trailhawk models. Other options come as you climb the trim ladder. Limited models get a larger Uconnect screen, leather upholstery and power driver and passenger seats. The luxurious Overland comes standard with the 3.2-liter V6, plus navigation, an upgraded audio system, and generally nicer interior trim. The trail-rated Trailhawk model adds under-body skidplates, a more aggressive AWD system, upgraded suspension, and other enhancements to make it more capable off road.
It seems like every automaker is introducing a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder these days, and Jeep is no exception. The same basic engine that Jeep recently debuted in the all-new Wrangler, the new 2.0-liter 4-cylinder offers up just as much horsepower as the V6, but more torque, giving the Cherokee decent acceleration at last.
This is a Jeep after all, and there are reputations to be upheld. The Trailhawk increases the ride height, offers the most sophisticated all-wheel drive system, and includes things like a rock-crawl mode and bright red tow hooks. It's not just appearances though, as the Trailhawk really does acquit itself surprisingly well over the rough stuff.
Under the Hood
The 2.4-liter 4-cylinder manages 180 horsepower, but it has a lot of Cherokee to haul around, and it strains under any but the lightest throttle. Instead, skip it entirely and pick between the 271-horsepower 3.2-liter V6, or even better, the 270-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that's new this year. While the horsepower numbers are nearly identical, the new turbo-4 has a distinct advantage in torque, offering up 295 lb-ft versus the 239 lb-ft of the V6. However, the V6 can tow 4,500 pounds, 500 more than the turbocharged 4-cylinder. All engines come connected to a 9-speed automatic that's reasonably smooth, but often slow to respond; it's better with the V6 and turbocharged engines. All-wheel drive is also available with all three engines, depending on which model you choose.
180 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
171 lb-ft of torque @ 4,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/31 mpg (FWD), 21/29 mpg (AWD)
271 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
239 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/29 mpg (FWD), 19/27 mpg (AWD), 18/26 mpg (Active Drive II), 18/24 mpg (Trailhawk)
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
270 horsepower @ 5,250 rpm
295 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/31 mpg (FWD), 21/29 mpg (AWD), 20/27 mpg (Active Drive II), 20/26 mpg (Trailhawk)
The 2019 Jeep Cherokee solidifies the Jeep crossover SUV as a unique proposition in the compact-SUV class. While segment leaders like the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Nissan Rogue -- along with virtually every other player in the class -- have concentrated on around-town utility, the Cherokee stays true to its Jeep roots with a Trailhawk model that is surprisingly capable off-road. It's a good trick, and the Cherokee Trailhawk is comfortable on terrain that would send its competition running for the soft comfort of smooth asphalt. Yet it's not a one-trick pony, offering a V6 engine that can tow up to 4,500 pounds, a new turbocharged 4-cylinder that makes the Cherokee feel almost peppy, and, at last, rugged Jeep good looks. We wish it weighed less, and that there was more cargo space, but if you want a comfortable around-town ride and still want to hit rough terrain in your compact-crossover SUV, the 2019 Jeep Cherokee is in a class of one.