2019 Jeep Cherokee Shows Off a Fresh New Look, New Engine

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The Jeep Cherokee lineup gets a facelift this year that brings it more in line with the rest of the brand’s offerings while improving rear cargo room. It also gets a new 2.0-liter direct-injected, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine for improved performance.

There are five available trims, so Jeep makes sure there’s a version of the Cherokee that suits your needs. Whether you’re taking a minimalist approach, want something with a bit more luxury, or plan to head off-road, there’s a Jeep Cherokee that fits the bill.

We spent some time with the Cherokee Trailhawk Elite which is the off-road focused version of the lineup with plenty of luxury amenities thrown into the mix. Just because you plan to go off-road doesn’t mean you don’t want to be comfortable, too.

Looking for a new or used Jeep Cherokee? Check out BestRide’s listings search here.

Off-road goodies include front suspension, underbody, and fuel tank skid plates for added protection along with two rear and one front tow hook for getting you – or the other guy – out of tough spots. Both the Trailhawk and Trailhawk Elite feature better ground clearance with a 29.9-degree approach angle, 22.9-degree breakover angle, and 32.3-degree departure angle.

An off-road suspension system along with Jeep Active Drive II and Jeep Active Drive Lock are standard. This equips the Cherokee Trailhawk with full-time four-wheel drive that automatically engages when it detects slippage. There’s also a four-wheel drive low mode for improved traction at low speeds and mechanical rear axle lock.

Rounding out the Cherokee Trailhawk’s capability is the Selec-Terrain traction management system. Choose auto, snow, sport, sand/mud, or rock modes to optimize the system to current road conditions.

While a 3.2-liter V6 engine with 271 horsepower and 239 lb-ft of torque is standard, our test car came equipped with the new 2.0-liter direct-injected, turbocharged 4-cylinder with 270 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. That’s basically a match on horsepower, but a big improvement on torque.

It’s a responsive engine that goes a long way toward proving that today’s turbocharged 4-cylinders offer better performance than V6 engines. There was a time when people shied away from anything less than a V8 because they wanted all the power. The same thing is true of V6 engines today, but if you’re nervous about a 4-cylinder, then you need to take one out for a test drive.

The Cherokee Trailhawk Elite is not a small vehicle. Yes, it’s smaller than the Grand Cherokee, but it’s still a roomy SUV with plenty of space for five passengers and 54.9 cubic feet of cargo if you flip the rear seats down. The new 4-cylinder, which is paired to a smooth 9-speed automatic transmission, makes the Cherokee easy to manage whether it’s city traffic or merging onto a congested highway at rush hour.

Looking for a new or used Jeep Cherokee? Check out BestRide’s listings search here.

This is part of what makes the Cherokee such an appealing choice, especially in the Trailhawk trims. It has everything you need to go off-road, but still has the power you need for highway driving and the smooth, well-mannered ride to match. It’s as comfortable for a family road trip as it is capable for an off-road excursion.

Standard features on the Trailhawk include dual-zone automatic air conditioning, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, and Uconnect infotainment with an 8.4-inch touchscreen. There’s also hill start assist, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross path detection.

The Elite package, which runs $2,995 adds numerous comfort and convenience features. These include heated and ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, power driver and front passenger seat with 4-way lumbar, leather-trimmed bucket seats, and remote start.

The 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk offers a great combination of off-road capability and on-road manners not often found in an SUV. Pricing starts at $33,320.

Nicole Wakelin

Nicole Wakelin

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