2019 Jeep Cherokee

2019 Jeep Cherokee Review

The Cherokee is the best small SUV for towing or off-roading, and it finally has the looks to match.
author
by Will Kaufman
Edmunds Editor

If you want a small SUV that can tow or go off-road, the 2019 Jeep Cherokee is worth a look. Thankfully, that look will be much more pleasant this year, too. Jeep has given the exterior styling a much-needed refresh and included some upgrades in the cabin and under the hood.

Beyond the obvious changes to the Cherokee's sheet metal, Jeep has added a few nice interior upgrades, such as a storage bin for phones in the center console and a few upgraded trim options. There's also a new optional turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that's more powerful than the Cherokee's base four-cylinder and more fuel-efficient than the optional V6 engine. You can read more about it in our 2019 Jeep Cherokee First Drive.

The Cherokee still doesn't offer as much cargo capacity as rivals, and even with the new 2.0-liter engine, fuel economy falls a little short of class leaders. The ever-practical Honda CR-V remains an easy choice for buyers who don't need the Cherokee's particular strengths thanks to its exceptional cargo space and efficiency. If you're going to be spending most of your time on the road, the Mazda CX-5 both feels more upscale inside and is more engaging to drive.

Overall, though, the Cherokee's off-road and towing capabilities along with its 2019 improvements make it a solid choice for a small SUV.



what's new

The Jeep Cherokee has been updated for 2019. Highlights include an exterior restyle with bigger headlights, a few interior upgrades such as a storage cubby for phones, and a new optional turbocharged 2.0-liter engine.

we recommend

The best reason to buy the Cherokee is because you want a small SUV that can go off-road, so we recommend the Trailhawk for its exclusive features and surprising capability. It also looks cool. But if off-roading isn't your thing, the Limited offers a nice feature set for the price, and access to more options. We highly recommend the new 2.0-liter turbo engine, which is more fuel-efficient than the lackluster base 2.4-liter engine, and delivers near-V6 horsepower and towing capacity. We think buyers who plan on serious towing should still opt for the V6 with the towing package, though.

trim levels & features

The 2019 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 180 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 or a 2.0-liter turbo that makes 270 hp and 295 lb-ft. A nine-speed automatic transmission is standard with all engines. The Latitude, Limited and Overland are available with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, while the Trailhawk comes standard with all-wheel drive.

Standard equipment highlights for the Latitude include 17-inch wheels, automatic xenon headlights, heated side mirrors, height-adjustable front seats, 60/40-split folding rear seatback, a folding front passenger seat with a storage compartment inside the seat cushion, Bluetooth, a rearview camera, a USB port, a new 7-inch touchscreen interface and a six-speaker audio system. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration is standard across the range for 2019.

The Latitude Plus trim adds keyless ignition and entry, leather inserts in the upholstery, a power-adjustable driver's seat, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. Satellite radio is standard, as are passive keyless entry with push-button starting and two extra USB ports.

The Latitude Plus has one notable package available, the Comfort and Convenience package, which adds features such as an auxiliary household power outlet, dual-zone climate control, a power liftgate, auto-dimming rearview mirror, remote start, and a universal garage door opener.

The Limited trim includes the Latitude's Comfort and Convenience package, and also adds 18-inch wheels, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, rear parking sensors, a power front passenger seat, leather upholstery, an upgraded driver information display in the gauge cluster, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel, and an 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

These three trim levels all come standard with the 2.4-liter four-cylinder. The turbocharged 2.0-liter and V6 engines are available as an upgrade for the Latitude Plus and Limited trims.

The range-topping Overland comes standard with the V6, with the option to add the 2.0-liter, and has its own 18-inch wheels, unique body-colored 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, sliding rear seat, a nine-speaker audio system, a navigation system and HD radio.

The nine-speaker stereo and sunroof are available as standard features in lower trim levels.

The off-road-themed Trailhawk comes with an advanced all-wheel-drive system (Active Drive II with Active Drive Lock) 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, and unique cloth and leather upholstery. Its equipment otherwise largely mirrors the Limited trim level's equipment, though it lacks the power liftgate, remote start, and auto-dimming rearview mirror. These are part of the Trailhawk Comfort and Convenience package. As on the Overland, the V6 is standard while the 2.0-liter is optional. Navigation is available for both the Limited and the Trailhawk.

The more advanced Active Drive II AWD system from the Trailhawk is available as an optional extra on AWD-equipped Latitude Plus, Limited and Overland Cherokees.

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 on the Limited, Trailhawk and Overland trims. Included in this safety-oriented package is forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, traffic-adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, automatic wipers, auto high-beam headlights, and an automatic parking system that works on both parallel and perpendicular spots.

driving

We like the V6's smooth power, but the new turbo 2.0-liter has a better balance of power and efficiency. The base four-cylinder engine is underpowered. Handling for the Cherokee is adequate, but this Jeep shines best with the Trailhawk and its enhanced off-road capability.

comfort

The Cherokee's supportive front seats and accommodating back seats make it a comfortable all-day car. The ride is tuned toward the soft side and is smooth and pleasant on and off pavement. But there's more noise than in some competitors, especially with the Trailhawk's knobby tires.

interior

The Cherokee 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. The interior feels well-built, but the materials quality is only average. There are rear three-quarter blind spots, but the rearview camera helps.

utility

The rear cargo space is a good size but not class-leading, and the rear seats fold flat for extra storage. The 4,500-pound max tow rating is best-in-class. The door pockets are small but can hold a small water bottle, and for 2019 there's a handy extra pocket for phones in the center console.

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.