The 2017 Jeep Cherokee lives up to the brand's reputation for off-road ability, but having been recast from its hardcore utility roots into something broader, its adequate road behavior, okay fuel economy ratings, and below average crash test ratings make other crossover SUVs more suitable daily drivers.

Pricing and Equipment

The Jeep Cherokee starts at $24,590 (including $995 in destination charges) in the base Sport model, which is competitively equipped with standard features that include Bluetooth audio, cruise control, power features, and 17-inch wheels with all-season tires.

But more buyers will gravitate toward the $26,540 Latitude or the $30,490 Limited trims. The luxurious Limited features:

  • An 8.4-inch UConnect infotainment system
  • A panoramic sunroof
  • Keyless ignition
  • Memory heated/ventilated seats
  • Nappa leather upholstery

Off-road enthusiasts will opt for the Trailhawk or Trailhawk L Plus models, which start at $32,190 and $36,190, respectively. These Trail Rated models get all of the Latitude standard equipment plus a higher ride height, off-road tires, unique front and rear fascias, added skid plates, and the Selec-Speed control system.

The 2017 Jeep Cherokee has two available engines: a base 184-horsepower inline four-cylinder and an optional 3.2-liter V6 that makes 271 horsepower. Both are paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission. Other available options include navigation, an open-air sliding glass sunroof, and a litany of option packages.

Performance Pros

Jeep Cherokee
  • Base 2.4-liter engine is smooth and quiet.
  • Even the base Cherokee rides and handles well on and off road.
  • Properly equipped, the Cherokee can pull 4,500 pounds.

Performance Cons

  • Steering is accurate, but fairly numb.
  • The transmission has a wide range of ratios that leads to some indecisive shifts, which is a common problem with FCA's new nine-speed automatics.
  • Fuel economy is only okay for its class. The front-wheel drive four-cylinder nets an EPA-estimated 21/30/25 (city/highway/combined) and it's only downhill from there. Around town, the V6 is particularly thirsty.

Interior Pros

  • Neatly organized cabin with high-quality, soft-touch surfaces and smooth-acting switches and buttons.
  • Interior is relatively roomy with a backseat that is suitable for adults on shorter trips.
  • Sliding second row allows drivers to choose between second-row legroom and cargo space.

Interior Cons

Jeep Cherokee
  • Taller drivers can have trouble finding an ideal seating position.
  • The Cherokee's crash test ratings are below average for the class, especially if the vehicle is not equipped with the available active-safety technology.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

We were impressed with the Cherokee's off-road ability, which isn't a surprise, considering the Jeep badge. Jeep's Trail Rated badge only applies to the Trailhawk trim, but a non-Trailhawk Cherokee equipped with Jeep's Active Drive II all-wheel-drive system system is capable of handling plenty of light off-road adventures.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

With exterior styling that doesn't feel quite right, we found ourselves happier inside looking out. The exterior styling is cluttered up front and too safe and bland on the sides and in the back.

The Bottom Line

The 2017 Jeep Cherokee wins over hearts and minds with its off-road ability, finely finished cabin, and quiet engines, but it lacks two big things buyers are looking for in an everyday crossover SUV – good fuel economy and strong crash test ratings.