2018 Jeep Cherokee

2018 Jeep Cherokee Review

The Cherokee has excellent off-road ability, but it's perfectly suited for the urban jungle, too.
8.0 / 10
Edmunds overall rating
author
by Calvin Kim
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

The 2018 Jeep Cherokee stands out from the competitive small crossover segment thanks to its exceptional off-road ability. That's what Jeeps are known for, particularly in Jeep's Trail Rated Trailhawk trim. Ordered as such, the Cherokee can handle trails better than any other rival. But most shoppers are just looking for a comfortable vehicle to drive every day, and the Cherokee is effective on this front as well. With a supple suspension and a strong V6 engine option, plus an easy-to-use 8.4-inch touchscreen inside, the 2018 Cherokee is prepared for the daily grind.

There are a few downsides, including lackluster acceleration from the Cherokee's standard four-cylinder engine and a lack of cargo space. But if you want an affordable crossover SUV that can comfortably get you to work during the week and then hit the trail on the weekend, there's no better choice than the 2018 Cherokee.



What's new for 2018

The Jeep Cherokee returns for 2018 mechanically unchanged, but there are some revisions to the trim structure. The Cherokee Sport disappears, making the Cherokee Latitude the base trim level for 2018, A new trim level, the Latitude Plus, has been added, and Cherokee Trailhawk and Limited trims get additional equipment. The Latitude trim also gains a new Tech Connect package with Amazon Alexa integration.

We recommend

Go with the Trailhawk if your budget allows. While it's more expensive than most of the other Cherokee trim levels, its exclusive feature set makes the most of the Cherokee's off-road abilities, and that's the main reason to buy a Cherokee instead of another crossover in the first place. Otherwise, the Limited Plus offers a nice set of features for an agreeable price.



Trim levels & features

The 2018 Jeep Cherokee is a small crossover SUV offered in five main trim levels. The Latitude is the base trim, and the Latitude Plus adds premium equipment, but you have to go up to the Limited and off-road-focused Trailhawk trims to get standard safety equipment. Finally, the top-of-the-line Overland comes with all the interior and exterior amenities.

Standard on the 2018 Jeep Cherokees is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 184 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque. You can also get an optional 3.2-liter V6 that makes 271 hp and 239 lb-ft of torque. A nine-speed automatic transmission is standard with both engines. The Latitude, Limited and Overland are available with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The Trailhawk comes standard with all-wheel drive.

Standard equipment highlights for the Latitude include 17-inch wheels, xenon headlights, height-adjustable front seats, sliding and reclining rear seats with 60/40-split folding seatbacks, a folding front passenger seat with a storage compartment inside the seat cushion, Bluetooth, a rearview camera, a USB charge-only port, a 5-inch touchscreen interface and a six-speaker audio system.

A new Tech Connect package can be added to this trim and includes 18-inch wheels, an 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen infotainment system, a 115-volt outlet behind the center console, ambient interior lighting, a navigation system and a nine-speaker audio system. It also adds Amazon Alexa integration with remote start, unlock, navigation commands and vehicle monitoring. Along with all of this, you get an Amazon Echo Dot device, a three-month subscription to Amazon Music service and Audible.

The Latitude Plus trim goes without the larger wheels, the Alexa integration, navigation or audio upgrade but adds keyless ignition and entry, leather inserts in the upholstery, a power driver seat and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Satellite radio is standard, as is passive keyless entry with push-button starting.

The off-road-themed Trailhawk comes with an advanced all-wheel-drive system (Active Drive II) and also boasts slightly wider 17-inch wheels and all-terrain tires, increased ground clearance, off-road-oriented suspension tuning, a locking rear differential, hill ascent and descent control, skid plates, tow hooks, unique exterior trim, cloth and leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped shift knob, a larger driver information display, satellite radio and Jeep's 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen interface with a USB audio interface, Siri Eyes Free and smartphone-app integration. Additional features for 2018 include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic detection and parking sensors, as well as dual-zone automatic climate control.

The Limited sheds the Trailhawk's off-road hardware, but it includes largely the same standard convenience items plus 18-inch alloy wheels, remote ignition, a wiper de-icer, upgraded power-folding side mirrors, a larger driver information display, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power driver seat and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. For 2018, Limited trims also receive blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, parking sensors and a power liftgate.

The range-topping Overland has its own 18-inch wheels, unique body-color exterior trim, cornering lights, sound-deadening windshield and front windows, driver-seat memory functions, a leather-wrapped instrument panel, wood steering-wheel inserts, upgraded leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, a power-adjustable passenger seat, a nine-speaker audio system, a navigation system and HD radio.

Many of the higher trims' features are available on lower trims via optional packages or as stand-alone extras. If you're planning on towing, equip your Latitude Plus, Limited or Trailhawk trim with a Trailer Tow group package. This package includes a stand-alone transmission cooler, Class III hitch, trailer wiring harness for both four- and seven-pin systems, as well as a full-size spare. V6-equipped models also receive additional engine cooling.

Jeep also offers the Technology group package available on the Limited, Trailhawk and Overland trims. Included in this safety-oriented package is forward collision warning with crash mitigation, radar-based cruise control, lane departure warning, automatic wipers, auto high-beam headlights, blind-spot monitoring, and an automatic parking system that works on both parallel and perpendicular spots.



Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk (3.2-liter V6 | 9-speed automatic | 4WD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Cherokee Trailhawk has received some revisions, including the addition of advanced driver assist systems and interior comfort features. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's Cherokee, however.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall8.0 / 10

Driving

8.5 / 10

Acceleration7.5 / 10
Braking8.0 / 10
Steering9.0 / 10
Handling8.0 / 10
Drivability8.0 / 10

Comfort

8.0 / 10

Seat comfort8.0 / 10
Ride comfort8.5 / 10
Noise & vibration7.5 / 10

Interior

8.0 / 10

Ease of use8.5 / 10
Getting in/getting out8.0 / 10
Roominess8.0 / 10
Visibility7.5 / 10
Quality7.5 / 10

Driving8.5

The Trailhawk gives up a little in ultimate handling and acceleration in return for off-road capability that's a cut above any other crossover. It's still nicely balanced. Those who don't go off-road can get the Latitude or Limited versions.

Acceleration7.5

The optional 3.2-liter V6 accelerates the Trailhawk to 60 mph in about 8 seconds flat, a decent performance in this class, especially considering the off-highway potential.

Braking8.0

Nicely firm and responsive brake pedal in daily use. The Trailhawk's knobby off-road tires result in a slightly long 131-foot panic stop from 60 mph; regular Cherokees should do better.

Steering9.0

The steering responds predictably and isn't oversensitive. The driver gets a good impression of what's going on down where the rubber meets the road, but there's zero kickback in rocky off-road terrain.

Handling8.0

The Trailhawk's off-road tires limit ultimate on-road grip but retain good balance and coordination. And body roll isn't excessive either, despite the high-riding stance.

Drivability8.0

The Cherokee's nine-speed transmission serves up smooth upshifts and ready downshifts. Initial throttle response is subdued, making for easy low-speed control. Note, however, that this transmission is not as well suited to the four-cylinder engine.

Off-road9.0

Among crossovers, the Trailhawk has no equal. Articulation is average, but its knobby tires, generous clearance, low-range gearing and rear locker are unmatched in this class.

Comfort8.0

Despite appearances, the off-road-ready Trailhawk isn't more harsh or uncomfortable than an SUV meant solely for street duty. It remains a comfortable and quiet machine you could happily drive every day.

Seat comfort8.0

It's easy to find a comfortable driving position. The front seats proved supportive and comfortable throughout an all-day off-road trip, and our backseat passenger was equally impressed.

Ride comfort8.5

The suspension is tuned slightly toward the soft side to promote off-road flexibility, but it's well-damped, too. The combination makes for a smooth and pleasant ride on and off the pavement.

Noise & vibration7.5

The optional 3.2-liter V6 is quiet and unobtrusive unless you mash the gas pedal. The Trailhawk's bigger off-road tires are quieter than expected, but there is occasional faint tread noise.

Interior8.0

The Cherokee Trailhawk does a lot of things right. There's plenty of room, it's easy to climb in and out of, and the controls are mostly self-explanatory. You won't find yourself thumbing through the owner's manual much.

Ease of use8.5

Simple and logical audio and climate control knobs. The Uconnect navigation and infotainment system is powerful and easy to master. The four-wheel-drive control system couldn't be easier.

Getting in/getting out8.0

The Trailhawk is taller than the average Cherokee, but the step-in height is still very reasonable. The accommodating front and rear doors open wide.

Roominess8.0

There's plenty of room up front, and the rear seat has a decent amount of head- and legroom, too. Storage bins are strategically placed about the cabin.

Visibility7.5

There's good all-around visibility with a rear three-quarter blind spot that's no bigger or smaller than average. The available rearview camera is useful for backing out of driveways and reversing off-road.

Quality7.5

It looks well-built inside and out, but a couple of the interior trim pieces are simply average. Still, nothing is likely to disappoint.

Utility8.0

The rear cargo space is a good size but not class-leading, probably because there's a full-size spare tire under the floor. The rear seats fold flat for more room. The door pockets are small but can hold a small water bottle.

Technology

Jeep's Uconnect system is well liked among many drivers. Its large graphics are clear and easy to read. Pairing with your phone is straightforward, and operation for regular entertainment functions requires no manual.

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.