Shunning the strictly vertical look of its Jeep mates, the Cherokee is nevertheless one of the most lusty, robust crossovers on the market. While serving as a civilized daily driver for the family, it delivers authentic off-road talents. Beneath its unconventional exterior, you get the familiar Jeep characteristics and reputation for rugged competence.
What's New for 2016
For 2016, driver-comfort enhancements have been added to the steering-column tilt, instrument cluster, and front seats. Cherokees with an 8.4-inch touchscreen gain new Uconnect features, including a Drag and Drop menu bar, Siri Eyes Free, and Do-Not-Disturb (which temporarily blocks calls and texts). A freshened Cherokee is expected to appear during 2016.
Choosing Your Jeep Cherokee
Even though Cherokee seeks the same audience as various compact crossovers, it’s almost in a class by itself -- not only by design, but because it rides a little higher than competitors. Though the distinctive front-end look is somewhat polarizing, it does give this different breed of Jeep more of an SUV-like appearance.
All models get a standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 184 horsepower. The 3.2-liter V6, available for all but the Sport model, generates an impressive 271 horsepower. Both engines mate with a nine-speed automatic transmission and a choice of four-wheel drive systems:
Active Drive I is meant for on-road use in harsh weather, similar to AWD systems in ordinary crossovers.
Active Drive II has low-range gearing for off-road capacity.
Both systems have a terrain selector to ensure maximum traction under varying conditions.
EPA fuel economy estimates range from 22 mpg city/31 mpg highway (25 mpg combined) with the four-cylinder engine and front-drive, down to 19/25 mpg with the four-cylinder, four-wheel drive Trailhawk.
Four trim levels are offered:
All models can be equipped with a towing package. Dual sunroofs may be added (except on Sport).
Adding four-wheel drive to a Sport, Latitude or Limited model costs just about as much as stepping up to the next trim level. Picking 4WD is typically a wise choice, especially in northern climates, but it’s easy to go overboard with the option list. Better to make a basic decision first: Are you most interested in luxury features and conveniences, or does basic all-weather capability top your personal desirability list.