2019 Jeep Cherokee is a truck-like crossover with benefits off-road, however points on-road

The historical past of the SUV has been one among ever-increasing refinement, and that arc bends in the direction of carlike varieties. It is a pattern that even the hardiest of nameplates has succumbed to, together with the venerable Cherokee, which for 2014, moved from the solid-axle brick of yore to the shark-nosed, independently suspended crossover of modern-day. That wasn’t essentially a foul factor. We discovered it to be fairly a aggressive machine on the time, and one which was a lot succesful.

However time marches on, and 5 mannequin years later, Jeep has up to date the Cherokee. The polarizing shark nostril has been toned down, with all of the headlight parts built-in into single items on both aspect. The hatchback has been revised and now sports activities a cutout for the license plate. Apart from bettering the appears on the again, Jeep says it allowed them to develop the rear cargo space to 25.eight cubic toes, a rise of 1.2 cubes, as a result of transferring the license plate area allowed them to drag the latch meeting farther out. It needs to be famous, although, that the Cherokee nonetheless would not have as a lot cargo capability as the brand new 27.2-cubic-foot Compass.

Apart from the beauty adjustments, the brand new Cherokee will get a brand new engine, a 2.Zero-liter turbocharged four-cylinder good for 270 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque that shares commonality with the Jeep Wrangler and Alfa Romeo Giulia engines. Nonetheless, it lacks the delicate hybrid expertise of the Wrangler due to area points, and it has a cylinder head with two camshafts relatively than the Alfa’s single-overhead cam design.

Along with the brand new 2.Zero-liter turbocharged engine, the Cherokee’s previous naturally aspirated engines, a 2.Four-liter four-cylinder (180 hp, 170 lb-ft) and a three.2-liter V6 (271 hp, 239 lb-ft), carryover unchanged aside from the addition of ordinary engine start-stop performance. The query is, can delicate adjustments to the Cherokee preserve it aggressive in a section the place a number of rivals have been utterly redesigned?

By way of functionality, the reply is a powerful, “sure,” notably for the Trailhawk, which in turbocharged guise, has even shorter gearing for its low-range four-wheel-drive setting than earlier than at 51.2:1. Just like the earlier mannequin, the Trailhawk consists of totally different entrance and rear bumpers for improved clearance and strategy and departure angles. It incorporates a set of skid plates and will get a metal oil pan for cover from obstacles, and the rear axle could be locked for extra traction. It additionally will get a complement of off-road assists akin to hill descent management, and an off-road low-speed cruise management setting much like Toyota’s Crawl Management.

That allowed the Cherokee Trailhawk to grasp a collection of obstacles that, sure, had been designed by the oldsters at Jeep, however had been nonetheless a couple of steps above plain dust roads and trails. They included a rugged rock backyard through which the Cherokee scrabbled throughout with none want for pedal enter. It tilted and tipped alongside articulation sections and managed to take care of traction, and eased itself down steep dust roads. Merely put, in Trailhawk configuration, the Cherokee is a strong on-road car that may additionally get you far-off from civilization. If you’ll want to go additional than a Trailhawk can take you, there’s at all times the Wrangler.

And when you do not want all the Trailhawk’s goodies however need some additional traction in slick circumstances, it is nonetheless potential to equip lesser Cherokees with four-wheel-drive and low-range, and there is a single-speed four-wheel-drive system when you’re trying only for added traction in inclement climate or on dusty paths. And naturally plain front-drive variations can be found for individuals who actually simply need the Jeep appears and worth a couple of additional miles per gallon over 4×4 traction.

That the Cherokee is a section champion off-road is nothing new. The identical might be stated about final yr’s model, and though Jeep did not present a Trailhawk to drive on pavement, we might suspect it’ll proceed to be a bit of rougher and noisier than the remainder of the Cherokee lineup that was on-hand for on-road driving.

We acquired an opportunity to pattern 2.Four-, three.2- and new 2.Zero-liter fashions, and briefly, the Cherokee stays aggressive in some elements on the highway, however has points in others largely because of the truth that even the less-dedicated trim ranges are extra succesful than different crossovers.

Let’s begin with the great: It is an impressively quiet machine. Highway, tire and wind noise are all barely noticeable. The journey does a pleasant job absorbing bumps and you do not hear the bumps a lot, both. Hit a bump within the highway, and the Cherokee takes some time to quiet down, due partially to the Cherokee’s weight, which hovers proper round two tons relying on spec.

Curves begin to throw off the Cherokee, as do conditions through which acceleration calls for are frequent and heavy. The steering, although weighted decently, is numb and lacks precision. It is not notably fast, both, and turn-in is not keen. There’s average physique roll, too, however the Cherokee does handle to stay fairly effectively and for longer than you’d anticipate. These traits are noteworthy as a result of many of the Cherokee’s on-road-oriented opponents (together with the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape that Jeep supplied as factors of comparability throughout the press launch), have much more responsive dealing with, sharper steering and yield a extra car-like expertise. After all, followers of conventional SUVs and extra critical multi-terrain capabilities might forgive the Cherokee’s on-road foibles.

Talking of opponents, you may test specs and examine the Cherokee and its rivals utilizing our automotive comparability instruments.

2019 Jeep Cherokee Trackhawk

Whereas all three engines are quiet at cruising speeds, they develop into pretty loud when accelerating arduous and holding excessive RPM, which might get tiresome. It is worst within the sluggish 2.Four-liter model, and greatest with the throaty three.2-liter V6, which really sounds good at full throttle and solely will get annoying with sustained revs. The brand new turbo engine falls between the 2, however scores factors due to its ample, accessible torque that may push you again into your seat in a really satisfying method.

Sadly, the nine-speed auto’s sluggish shifting continues to be an issue. It is reluctant to downshift, particularly on hills, and though Sport mode rectifies this to some extent, there are at all times points selecting a gear. Pairing it with the brand new turbo-Four would not assist issues, both. When acceleration is demanded, it kicks down no less than one gear too many, leading to a violent punch within the again as brief gearing and many increase arrive concurrently. The V6’s clean character appears to suit the nine-speed the very best, however actually, a wholly totally different transmission is the reply.

As for towing, the brand new 2.Zero-liter can deal with a stout Four,000 kilos when outfitted with a tow package deal, whereas the V6 picks up an additional 500 kilos over that. Most opponents are within the 1,500-2,000-pound vary, as is the two.Four-liter Cherokee. Right here is definitely one other space through which the Jeep’s truck-like functionality shines via.

Gas financial system numbers for the four-cylinder engines weren’t accessible, however the EPA says the V6 ranges from 21 to 23 mpg in mixed driving relying on drivetrain. Given the addition of computerized stop-start, the two.Four-liter would possibly get a small bump from 2018’s 23-25-mpg mixed vary, however we would severely doubt it will end in difficult its 27- or 29-mpg opponents.

2019 Jeep Cherokee Trackhawk

Not like the outside, the inside stays largely unchanged. That is simply high quality, because it stays a vivid spot regardless of having much less passenger and cargo area than its opponents. The reason being its superior ergonomics, that are aided by the newest variations of Jeep/Chrysler’s UConnect touchscreen leisure system. No matter display screen dimension, both 7- or eight.Four-inches, you get a high-resolution, extremely responsive touchscreen that is simple to make use of and fortunately has devoted shortcut buttons on the backside of the display screen it doesn’t matter what operate you are utilizing. We’d advocate springing for the larger display screen, although, since among the contact features on the 7-inch display screen could be crowded and small.

Ultimately, our time with the Cherokee proved that it is nonetheless aggressive, providing snug and quiet cruising, sturdy engines, and accessible off-road capability that is unmatched. However we would solely say it is aggressive, not class-leading, in most areas. Its old-school, truck-like tendencies in dealing with, gasoline financial system and inside area damage it when in comparison with extra civilized compact crossovers. However, when you’re in search of one thing that feels nearer to greater, burlier SUVs and vehicles relatively than one thing that is extra akin to a tall hatchback, the Cherokee’s tough edges might be thought-about a bonus. It simply will depend on how a lot functionality you want.

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