Being tops in off-road capability is as much a part of Jeep's DNA as speed is to Usain Bolt's genetics. And the 2017 Jeep Cherokee lives up to that reputation, especially in the "trail-rated" Trailhawk trim level. Indeed, in that guise a Cherokee can tackle off-road terrain that would make drivers of less off-road ready compact crossovers think twice before venturing forth. Yet for the majority of compact SUV shoppers who care more about on-pavement performance, the Cherokee still has strong appeal. Some of its more notable features include a supple ride, a muscular V6 option, roomy front and rear seating, and a well-trimmed interior with an available user-friendly infotainment system that boasts a generously-sized 8.4-inch touchscreen.
Perhaps less laudable for some are the 2017 Jeep Cherokee's love-it-or-hate-it styling and the four-cylinder engine with nine-speed automatic transmission. The former is quite a departure for Jeep, whose styling identity is typically more macho and square-jawed, while the latter draws criticism for its somewhat lackluster performance and unrefined nature. Furthermore, the cargo space is a bit lacking compared to some rivals, something to keep in mind for those who frequently nab big hauls from Costco or who tend to take a lot of stuff on road trips.
Thrifty buyers who don't plan on hauling or towing heavier loads may be satisfied with the four-cylinder engine, as it delivers fairly respectable fuel mileage. However, those who like more spirited performance and/or plan on towing should strongly consider the V6, as it is considerably more powerful and responsive. Other notable benefits of the V6 are smoother and quieter operation and minimal fuel economy penalty. Buyers of the 2017 Jeep Cherokee have a choice of front- or four-wheel drive (4WD), and EPA fuel economy estimates range from 21 mpg combined (18 city/24 highway) for a 4WD V6 Cherokee to 25 mpg combined (21 city/30 highway) for a front-wheel-drive Cherokee with the four-cylinder engine.
The 2017 Jeep Cherokee is offered in a quintet of trim levels that range from the base Sport to the loaded Overland, with the latter boasting such niceties as a navigation system and power liftgate. Between those two are the well-equipped Latitude, aforementioned Trailhawk and luxurious Limited.
With its solid on-road manners, off-road capability, welcoming cabin and varied range of trim levels, the 2017 Jeep Cherokee makes a strong case for itself among the many available crossover SUVs. Be sure to use Edmunds to help you find the Cherokee that checks all your boxes.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.