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James Flammang
Contributing Editor - September 2, 2015

2016 Jeep Cherokee OVERVIEW

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:


As the most affordable Cherokee, the Sport comes only with the four-cylinder engine. Standard features mimic a passenger car. They include a six-speaker audio system with SD card reader, Bluetooth phone and audio, and 17-inch steel wheels. The rear seat slides and reclines to reconfigure passenger/cargo space. An optional Cold Weather Group includes heated front seats and steering wheel, heated power-folding mirrors, and remote start. Individual options include 17-inch alloy wheels, a rearview camera, CD player, and satellite radio.


Most Sport options are standard on this step-up model, along with foglights, automatic headlights, rear privacy glass, roof rails, LED interior lighting, a folding front passenger seat with integrated storage, and leather-wrapped steering wheel. An optional Comfort and Convenience package adds a power liftgate, power driver’s seat, and dual-zone automatic climate control.


Active Drive II four-wheel drive is standard on the sporty off-road edition, which adds such features as all-terrain tires, hill descent control, skid plates, special suspension tuning, and a locking rear differential. Also standard is a nine-speaker sound system, with satellite radio. In addition to the available Comfort and Convenience package, an optional Technology Group includes several safety alert/mitigation systems, adaptive cruise control, and an automated parking system. Navigation and leather upholstery are optional.


Topping the lineup, the Limited includes all contents of the Comfort and Convenience package, augmented by leather seat upholstery, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and 18-inch alloy wheels. The Technology Group can be added. So can an exclusive Luxury Group with xenon headlights, plus ventilated front seats with a driver’s memory.

All models can be equipped with a towing package. Dual sunroofs may be added (except on Sport).

CarsDirect Tip

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.

Get your price on a Jeep Cherokee »

Read our review on the Jeep Cherokee »

Best Jeep Deals & Lease Offers In August

Jeep's deals are available for a few extra days heading into August. There's good news for those looking to buy as 0% APR for 72 months returned across most of the lineup.... View All Jeep Lease Deals


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