The standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine delivers 184 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque,, while providing a failry quiet driving character. The Cherokee's 3.2-liter V6 generates 271 horsepower and 239 pound-feet of torque. The added performance is welcome, although the additional weight pushes the Cherokee above two tons on some trim levels. Both engines work alongside a nine-speed automatic transmission, which is jerky at times. The best way to overcome the sensation is to shift into sport mode for sharper gear shifting.
The all-wheel drive models do an admirable job of mimicking four-wheel drive, beginning with Active Drive II, simulating low range and a decent crawl ratio. With the Selec-Terrain system, the selectable drive system handles mud, sand, rock and snow with ease. To save fuel, this system can even declutch its rear wheels. Consider the Trailhawk if you want an extra inch of ground clearance, improved approach and departure angles, and a locking rear differential.
When properly equipped, the 2018 Cherokee with the base engine can pull up to 2,000 pounds. The V6-equipped model has a best-in-class 4,500-pound tow rating.