The Jeep Cherokee is available in no less than eight trim levels including three limited editions. That’s no shortage of choices. Trims range from the base Sport all the way up to the luxurious Overland. Each comes with the capability that is synonymous with the Jeep brand, but if you want the most off-road ready Cherokee available, then you want the Trailhawk.
Jeep reserves the Trailhawk badge for models with a little something extra for off-road enthusiasts. On the Cherokee, that includes a standard Off-Road package with SelecSpeed Control, locking rear axle, heavy-duty engine cooling for 3.2-liter models, auxiliary transmission oil cooler, fuel tank skid plate, front suspension skid plate, transmission skid plate, underbody skid plate, and trail rated badge.
There are also 17-inch off-road wheels and tires and design tweaks to improve the approach and departure angles. Some mid-size SUVs offer the look of an off-roader, but the Trailhawk backs up those looks with genuine capability. While the Wrangler is the go-to Jeep for those who plan to get dirty on the weekend, there’s good reason to go with the Cherokee instead.
You can’t take the doors or roof off of the Cherokee, which is a drawback, but there are plenty of times when you don’t want to take off your doors. If your weekdays involve any kind of commute, the Cherokee Trailhawk has more to offer.
As fantastic as the Wrangler is as an off-road vehicle, its on-road manners are a challenge. The ride is rough and there’s a fair amount of road and wind noise. It’s also not easy to get kids in and out, especially if they’re in car seats. That’s not a problem for some, but for those who want a family-friendly Jeep with good on-road manners, the Cherokee is the better choice.
The Cherokee Trailhawk offers plenty of room for five passengers with comfortable seating for everyone. There’s ample headroom even for the six-foot crowd and matching legroom. Although cloth seats are standard, available packages offer leather trims and heated seats that make your off-road beast and on-road dream.
Pricing on the Cherokee ranges from $29,495 to $34,895 with the Trailhawk sitting in the middle at $31,195. Our test model came with plenty of extras, which bumped that price significantly to $43,290.
What makes this SUV a winner is its ability to walk the line between off-road monster and on-road cruiser. There are Jeeps that are more rugged. There are Jeeps that are more plush. The Cherokee Trailhawk takes the best bits of both and combines them in one vehicle.