2017 Jeep Cherokee Review

by Edmunds
Edmunds Editor
If the 2017 Jeep Cherokee is going to stand out during your search for a small crossover SUV, its exceptional off-road ability is likely going to come to the fore. That's what Jeeps are known for, after all, and particularly in "trail-rated" Trailhawk trim, the Cherokee can take on dirt and rocks better than any other rival crossover. But most shoppers are looking for pavement-based performance in this class, and fortunately the Cherokee succeeds here as well. With a supple suspension and a strong V6 engine option, plus an excellent 8.4-inch touchscreen inside, the 2017 Cherokee is equally prepared for the daily grind. We're less bullish on the Cherokee's standard four-cylinder engine, which suffers from lackluster acceleration and a nine-speed automatic transmission that doesn't shift as crisply as we'd like. But if that underhood tandem doesn't bother you too much, there's not much else about the Cherokee that merits disapproval. To some, the sleek styling might seem un-Jeep-like, but we'd counter that it shows the company's forward-looking perspective. More objectively, the Jeep does come up a bit short in regard to cargo space, as some rivals allow you to shove more stuff in back, which can enable bigger Costco runs or less cramped road trips. If you're not totally sold on the Cherokee, you picked a great segment for cross-shopping. The usual suspects include the tried-and-true Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4, with the latter also available in exceptionally fuel-efficient Hybrid form. For more driving excitement, we'd steer you toward the athletic yet wholly practical Mazda CX-5. Meanwhile, the Subaru Forester delivers welcome doses of style and value. But with its blend of off-road skills and on-road refinement, the 2017 Jeep Cherokee continues to make a strong case for itself. Standard safety equipment on all 2017 Jeep Cherokees includes antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front- and rear-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and front knee airbags. A rearview camera is optional on the Sport trim level and standard on all other models. Cherokees with the 8.4-inch touchscreen come with a Uconnect Access system that includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, remote door unlocking and stolen vehicle assistance. Trailhawk, Limited and Overland models can also be equipped with an optional package that adds adaptive cruise control, a forward collision warning and mitigation system (with automatic brake intervention in potential collision situations), a lane departure warning system, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. In Edmunds brake testing, a Cherokee Trailhawk came to a stop from 60 mph in 131 feet. The all-terrain tires contributed to that lengthy stop, but it's still one of the longest distances we've recorded in this segment. A Cherokee Limited with more common all-season tires and 4WD came to a stop in 122 feet, which is about average. In government crash tests, the Cherokee received an overall rating of four out of five possible stars, with four stars for total front-impact protection and five stars for total side-impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Cherokee the best possible rating of Good in the moderate-overlap front-impact, side-crash and roof strength crash tests. The Cherokee's seat and head restraint design was also rated Good for whiplash protection in rear impacts, but the Jeep received a Marginal rating (second worst of four) in the small-overlap front-impact test. The IIHS also tested the Cherokee's optional forward collision mitigation system and gave a high score of Superior.

what's new

The 2017 Cherokee gets only minor equipment revisions, including standard xenon headlights on every trim but the base Sport. This is also the first full year for the top-of-the-line Overland trim that was introduced in mid-2016.


The 2017 Cherokee is on the heavy side for this segment, which is why the four-cylinder engine can feel sluggish despite its competitive horsepower and torque. This engine also has a more raucous sound than some other four-cylinders in this class. We really like the V6 engine, though; it gives the 2017 Cherokee a relaxed, refined demeanor not found in the typical four-cylinder SUV. There's plenty of power, too, and the nine-speed automatic feels more at home in this pairing. With either engine, though, that transmission can be a bit reluctant to downshift once you're cruising on the highway.

The Cherokee is exceptionally quiet for this class at elevated speeds, and over rough city streets it provides about as cushy a ride as you'll find for the money. The downside is that the Jeep feels rather ponderous when going around turns. Its steering is precise, but there's nothing like the sportiness that segment standouts such as the Ford Escape and Mazda CX-5 bring to the table. All Cherokees have solid off-road potential if one of the 4WD systems is specified, but it's the Cherokee Trailhawk that stands out for its trail-conquering ability. If you have the inclination, the Trailhawk can take on some pretty serious terrain, thanks to its low-range gearing, rear locking differential and other exclusive off-roading equipment.


The cabin of the 2017 Jeep Cherokee has a quality look and feel, especially on upper trim levels. The available Uconnect 8.4-inch touchscreen isn't the freshest system in this class anymore, but it's still wholly satisfying thanks to easy-to-navigate menus, large virtual buttons and an accompanying knob that makes whipping through long lists a breeze. It's certainly worth the extra cost if you can make the jump out of the Sport.

Passenger quarters are generous in the 2017 Jeep Cherokee. It's easy to get comfortable in the available power driver seat, which offers ample adjustability, but we also like that even the manual front seats come standard with height adjustments for both driver and passenger. The Cherokee also features one of the better backseats in the compact crossover class. Not only does it recline, but it also provides for fore-and-aft adjustment, and the high-mounted bench supports adults' thighs without pushing their heads into the rafters.

Alas, cargo capacity is unimpressive. There's just 24.6 cubic feet of space behind the second row and 54.9 cubic feet with the rear seatbacks folded down. Both figures are 5 to 15 cubic feet less than what most other small crossover SUVs offer; indeed, they're closer to the norm in the smaller subcompact crossover class. Another drawback is the lack of useful storage space up front for personal effects.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.