Jeep Cherokee is adventurous but not roomy

The 2019 Jeep Cherokee gets more conventional styling this year and adds a powerful turbo-4 engine. It retains its off-road prowess, especially in the Trailhawk model, and it’s comfortable on pavement too. Interior room is an issue even though interior materials are not. Crash-test results are less than stellar, though Jeep makes plenty of active safety features available.

In addition to Trailhawk, Jeep offers the Cherokee in Latitude, Latitude Plus, Limited, and Overland trims.

The Cherokee made its debut for the 2014 model year and it is updated for 2019 with new styling, a new engine, an updated infotainment system, and revised transmission and suspension tuning.

The Cherokee’s new looks do away with the oddball six-eyed look of the previous model and bring the lighting together where it’s supposed to be. The headlights are now LEDs with integrated daytime running lights, and fog lights are located below. The front end is just different enough from the Grand Cherokee to look distinct, but the family resemblance is obvious. The rest of the body is rather generic, however.

Inside, the Cherokee is attractive and functional but lacks the space of rivals. The interior color choices are named after exotic locations, and Jeep updated the infotainment system with faster processors, a larger 7.0-inch touchscreen on base models, and standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The rear seat moves forward and back up to six inches, but moving it fully back cuts into an already small cargo area. Jeep carved out a little extra space back there by widening the cargo hold, but at 54.9 cubic feet with the rear seats down, it’s at least 15 cubic feet smaller than roomier competitors. The Cherokee also isn’t as wide as some rivals, so occupants won’t have as much elbow room.

Under the hood, Jeep added a new 2.0-liter turbo-4 engine that makes 270 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. It’s the fastest Cherokee and quicker than the 271-hp 3.2-liter V-6. The base engine is a rather weak 2.4-liter 4-cylinder. All three are mated to a 9-speed automatic that is less troublesome this year.

The V-6 can tow up to 4,500 pounds and the new turbo-4 can pull 4,000 pounds. New suspension tuning makes the Cherokee slightly smoother on the road, and the handling remains controlled but far from sporty.

With three all-wheel-drive systems, no competitor offers the off-road prowess of the Cherokee. That’s especially true in the Trailhawk model that adds knobbier tires, additional ground clearance, improved approach and departure angles, and skid plates. All AWD Cherokees also have a Selec-Terrain system to deal with tough surfaces. Jeep offers two types of low-range gearing to handle climbing and hill descent duties as well.

While crash-test scores are less than ideal, Jeep offers many active safety features. The amenities list is long, too, with things like nappa leather, a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, and a configurable LED gauge screen. (2019 Jeep Cherokee Review, Car Connection)

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