What comes to mind when you think of the Jeep name? Normally two models come right to your mind, which are the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee. Both of these models are amazing examples of great off roading vehicles that are known to be fantastic on the road as well. The new Cherokee gives us a different look, one that is less boxy and more of the form we want to see, which makes it another off road ready and comfortable and attractive SUV for us to enjoy from Jeep. Under the cabin the off road features are vast and varied while inside the Cherokee is luxurious and exciting.
When you look to the standard features of the SUV the Cherokee offers us an Uconnect infotainment system from a five-inch touch screen media center with Bluetooth, USB, SD and auxiliary ports. Other standard features include the 3.5-inch center display, ten airbags, electronic stability control, traction control, hill-start assistance, electric power steering, an electric parking brake, cruise control, air conditioning with rear seat ports and remote keyless entry. All these features are included to make sure you can have a Cherokee that will give you what you want and need from the SUV without the need to move up the trim levels.
For the Cherokee, when you do want to move up the trim levels the optional features include a variety of three four-wheel drive systems, an 8.4-inch touch screen for the Uconnect system, an Alpine premium audio system with nine speakers and a subwoofer, a CommandView dual-pane panoramic sunroof with a power sunshade, leather upholstery, heated power seats, a heated steering wheel, keyless Enter-N-Go, 18-inch aluminum wheels, skidplates and a higher ride height. The four upgraded trim levels are Latitude, Altitude, Limited and Trailhawk.
Now that we have reviewed all the cool features you can have on this SUV, let’s look at the engines. The base engine is a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine which shows up with 184 horsepower and 171 lb.-ft. of torque to give you a reasonable amount of power for this crossover. This is attached to a nine speed automatic transmission and shows up with a variety of fuel mileages because of the different 4WD systems to choose from. The range for fuel efficiency shows up at a low of 19 city/26 hwy mpg for the Trailhawk and a high of 22 city/31 hwy mpg for the FWD model.
The second engine present on this SUV is the 3.2-liter V6 engine which comes in with 271 horsepower and 239 lb.-ft. of torque. Not only does this offer a great improvement of power over the smaller engine but gives the Cherokee the ability to tow up to 4,500 pounds in order to bring some fun toys to the destination for a weekend adventure. Mated to the same transmission, this version gives you a fuel mileage of a low at 19 city/25 hwy mpg for the Trailhawk and a high of 21 city/29 hwy mpg for the FWD version.
Upgrades for the Cherokee for 2016 include improved front seats, a better steering column position and instrument cluster that are easier to read. The Uconnect system is improved with the optional 8.4-inch screen which gains the Drag and Drop Menu Bar, Siri Eyes Free and Do Not Disturb settings. These improvements certainly make it easy to choose the Cherokee when you need a crossover SUV that will take you off road and give you the right size for your family and driving needs.
On the inside the Cherokee offers a blend of modern technology with the traditional Jeep features. The traditions start with the trapezoidal center stack area which retains its shape but adds modern features and an improved layout. Every seat in the Cherokee is supportive and comfortable to ensure you have a great place to enjoy your ride from. For those in the second row the seats do slide forward and back to increase legroom or cargo space as needed. This row of seats also folds in a 60/40 fashion in order to maximize the versatility of this great SUV. Toss in the wireless charging pad and large glove box and this is a place you can really enjoy yourself from in any seat of the Cherokee.
The exterior of the Cherokee is best described as polarizing. Those who love the traditional look of the Grand Cherokee or Wrangler might not enjoy this look, but many others who have looked to other models of a similar style will love this look. The seven-slot grill is still featured up front, but the headlights are narrow and barely noticeable, which is a huge change for a Jeep. As a smaller crossover the Cherokee is sleeker than most and offers a low hood to roof angle to allow more fuel efficiency than a square model would.
How much does all of this cost? The base Jeep Cherokee Sport begins around $24,000 for the FWD model. The Latitude and Altitude start at $26,000 and $26,800 with the Limited showing up at $28,000. The Trailhawk will ask at least $30,000 with the ability to move up from there. The 4WD system will add between $1,000 and $2,000 and upgrading to the V6 adds a cost of $1,500 to the overall price of the vehicle. This pricing structure allows you to have the Cherokee you want at the price you can afford.
Driving the Cherokee offers the ability to enjoy not only a drive off the road and into the wilderness but an engaged and smooth ride on the road as well. No matter how it’s set up the Cherokee is one of the best SUVs to drive no matter where you are planning to take it. The Cherokee certainly offers a modern and different appearance from much of the Jeep lineup but it’s still a Jeep and gives you everything you want from the name brand that has meant amazing off roading capability for many generations to full enjoy.