Review & Compare the 2019 Jeep Cherokee at Larry H. Miller Chrysler Jeep Avondale

The 2019 Jeep Cherokee is a little softer these days--but no less gritty where it counts

In the olden days, a Jeep Cherokee was what you chose when you needed to tackle every obstacle, climb every mountain, conquer every roadblock. For this reason, the Jeep Cherokee sold incredibly well among off-roading enthusiasts, mudders, and the adventurous travelers. It also drove a bit like a bucket full of rocks. For this reason, the Jeep Cherokee didn't sell so well among... well, everyone else. And eventually, the number of people in the "everyone else" category significantly outnumbered the number of people in the "passionate about off-roading" category, and the Jeep brand knew it was time to make a change.

Today's Jeep Cherokee might not be as rough-and-tumble as its predecessor, but it's a lot more comfortable, it drives a lot more like a sleek crossover than a bucket of rocks, and its interior gives you a lot more features standard than it used to. This move has been a pretty big one for the Jeep brand, as the new 2019 Jeep Cherokee moved into a top spot for sales in the "everyone else" category, as well as certain factions of the "passionate about off-roading" category. It really is an SUV that anyone can love.

There are eight trim levels available in the new 2019 Jeep Cherokee lineup:

       
  • Latitude
  •    
  • Latitude Plus
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  • Altitude
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  • Limited
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  • High Altitude
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  • Trailhawk®
  •    
  • Overland
  •    
  • Trailhawk® Elite
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The history of a legend

The Jeep Cherokee was born in the mid-70s, and its unique approach to car design led to the very first use of the term "Sport Utility Vehicle". By that, it's fair to call the Jeep Cherokee the first SUV--and it hasn't taken that responsibility lightly over the years.

The first model combined the unibody frame design loved by commuter cars with the body-on-frame design that hefty, bumbling trucks rode on to create a new kind of vehicle framing system that could be as durable and strong as a work truck, but that was actually comfortable to drive, even on less-than-desirable roads. The Jeep brand called it the "Uniframe" and it set the stage for all future generations of the Jeep Cherokee, and for other models in the lineup as well.

Fast-forward to 2019, and the Jeep Cherokee's "Uniframe" design isn't what it used to be--bowing to pressure from the vast majority of the market, this SUV now uses a slightly more conventional full unibody design that delivers distinctly better interior comfort.

Engine options

The 2019 Jeep Cherokee offers three different options under the hood, including two 4-cylinder engines and a V6. All engines pair to a standard nine-speed automatic transmission, and all can run on either two-wheel or four-wheel drive, depending on trim level and configuration.

The base 2.4-liter Tigershark® MultiAir® 2 engine delivers 180 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque and is one of the most efficient options in the lineup. Its combination of practicality and decent fuel economy (and price--it's the cheapest engine you can get on a new Jeep Cherokee) makes it a good option for drivers who are primarily commuting.

The 2.0-liter Turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine, good for 270 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, is also a good option for commuters because its boost of turbo power doesn't compromise much on fuel economy. If you're not as worried about efficiency (if you're buying a Jeep SUV, you probably aren't too concerned) you could opt for the 3.2-liter Pentastar® V6, the most powerful engine in the lineup with 271 horsepower and 239 pound-feet of torque.

4WD options and capability

True to its nature, every new 2019 Jeep Cherokee comes with the option of a Jeep brand four-wheel-drive system. Yes, "a"--there are three distinct systems that are available within the overarching Jeep Cherokee lineup. The first is Jeep® Active Drive I, a fairly basic rear axle disconnect system that lets you choose when and how to drive in 4WD versus 2WD (which is more efficient and, some argue, a little more comfortable). The second system, Jeep® Active Drive II, is similar but offers an additional low range four-wheel drive ability and a neutral mode to give you the ideal high-torque/low-speed option that you might need.

The third system, Jeep® Active Drive Lock, is the most advanced option, features an exclusive Jeep® Selec-Terrain® Traction Management System with Rock mode. If you're pining for a Jeep Cherokee that's as close to the original as you can get (at least, in relation to capability), this option is the one you need.

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Is the Jeep Cherokee worth it?

While the most recent Jeep Cherokee probably couldn't best its grandsire in a straight-up rock-crawling event, its impressive combination of cushy interior features, unique and practical engine options, and better-than-most 4WD capabilities still makes the 2019 Jeep Cherokee a best buy for anyone who often travels off the beaten path.


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