Jeep is synonymous with capability and the Cherokee Latitude delivers plenty. There are five different trim levels for the Cherokee with the Latitude falling near the bottom, but that doesn’t mean you’re losing out. This is a fully-featured SUV with 4×4 capability combined with plenty of safety and convenience features at an affordable price.
SUVs can get expensive when you start adding on features and amenities, but the Latitude is only one step up from the base model. It starts at $27,195 so there are no leather seats or fancy red tow hooks like you’ll find in the higher trims. Still, it is a comfortable and good-looking vehicle that never looks cheap. The materials look and feel good and create a welcoming interior.
There’s a 5-inch Uconnect touchscreeen, USB charging port, audio jack, and leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls. The audio control buttons are all on the back of the steering wheel right where your fingers naturally rest. It is a fantastic design choice. You don’t have to move your hands at all to change stations or adjust the volume and it lets you keep your eyes firmly on the road to reduce distraction.
Our tester had a few packages that made things more plush like the Cold Weather Group ($845), which added heated front seats, steering wheel, and power mirrors along with remote start. Things heat up fast and the cloth bucket seats get molten-lava hot in minutes, something you’ll absolutely love on cold winter mornings.
Seating is comfortable with plenty of support and light bolstering that is nice for wider frames. They’re easily adjustable to an ideal driving position with the optional 8-way power driver’s seat with 4-way lumbar support.
The standard engine on the Cherokee is a 2.4-liter I4, but our tester had the optional 3.2-liter V6 with 271-horsepower and 239 lb-ft of torque. The more powerful engine is our preference between the two for its ability to accelerate smoothly onto highways and for sounding less strained when pressed. At $1,745 it is an expensive option, but is well worth the cost. Drive both to experience the difference before making a decision.
The rugged exterior gets almost imposing with the addition of the $795 Customer Preferred Package. This adds 18-inch, gloss black, 5-spoke, aluminum wheels and matching gloss black finishes on the fascia, grille surrounds, and roof rails. Combined with Granite Crystal paint it looks like it means business and it has the capability to back that up.
Jeep Active Drive I is the standard 4-wheel drive system, but our tester sported Jeep Active Drive II which adds a low range mode, hill descent control, and off-road suspension. Whether you’re tackling snowy roads or heading off-road for a weekend, the Cherokee Latitude is ready. This option will run you $995 and is really only worth the cash if you’ve got off-roading in your future. Active Drive I will get you out of most of what mother nature will throw at you in the winter.
The size of the Cherokee makes it perfect for those who want SUV capability in urban environments. There is 54.9 cubic feet of cargo space behind the first row despite its smaller size and an additional 200 pounds of towing. It still easily tucks into narrow spaces and isn’t a chore to parallel park on busy city streets. Its smaller size also helps its fuel economy which runs 19/26/22 city/highway/combined.
There is a good range of safety features, though again it’s not as fully-featured as more expensive SUVs. There’s hill start assist, all speed traction control, stability control, tire pressure monitoring, trailer sway damping, and electronic roll mitigation all as standard features.
The 2016 Jeep Cherokee Latitude delivers Jeep capability in an affordable package. It offers just enough without going overboard on features that you don’t want and will never use.
2016 Jeep Cherokee Latitude 4×4
Base Price: $27,195
Price As Tested: $32,665 (not including destination charge)
- Competitive Pricing
- Quality Materials
- 3.2-liter is Pricey Option
- Some Safety Features Only in Higher Trims