2020 Jeep Cherokee
2020 Jeep Cherokee Review
- Available V6 and turbocharged engines provide smooth and assertive power
- Absorbent suspension smooths out rough surfaces
- Capable and user-friendly 8.4-inch touchscreen on many models
- Trailhawk offers unique off-road capability for a small crossover
- Sluggish acceleration with the base 2.4-liter engine
- Less cargo capacity than other small crossovers
- No significant changes for 2020
- Part of the second Cherokee generation introduced for 2014
Comfortable on the highway, capable on the trail, and better-looking than it was just a scant two years ago, the 2020 Jeep Cherokee is a strong choice in the compact SUV segment. More than just a comfy crossover that can tackle rocks, though, the Cherokee has appealing high-tech features, a surprisingly sporty nature, two respectable optional powertrains, and some class-leading numbers when it comes to towing.
While the standard 2020 Cherokee comes with a non-turbocharged four-cylinder engine, there are two others you can choose from: a V6 or a turbocharged four-cylinder. Both are strong performers, with the turbo engine pulling ahead in both power and fuel economy. Under the vehicle itself, there are multiple all-wheel-drive systems to choose from, including the sophisticated system used in the Cherokee Trailhawk, which can get you much further off the beaten path than the average crossover. What's more, the Cherokee, when equipped correctly, can tow as much as 4,500 pounds — a class-leading number.
Inside, the Cherokee comes standard with features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. And there are all sorts of available safety options including adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic braking, and blind-spot monitoring. On top of all that, you can get Jeep's 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment system, which is one of our favorites in the class.
The 2020 Cherokee has some stiff competition, though, in the form of vehicles such as the well-rounded Honda CR-V, the value-packed Subaru Forester and the newly rugged Toyota RAV4. We'd still recommend taking the Cherokee for a test drive, especially if you're a fan of plush seats, a quiet ride and above-average off-road capability.
What's it like to live with the Cherokee?
As a part of our long-term vehicle test program, the Edmunds' editorial team acquired and lived with a 2014 Jeep Cherokee for a year, putting over 20,000 miles on the odometer. We tested the Cherokee in all kinds of environments and reported on its off-road capability, cabin comfort, in-car tech and more. There are some differences between the 2014 and 2020 worth noting — the Cherokee's styling was refreshed in 2019 and an optional turbocharged four-cylinder engine was added to the lineup. But the 2020 is in the same generation as our test Cherokee, so many of our observations still apply.
The latest Jeep Cherokee ditches its non-traditional styling for a more familial Grand Cherokee Light design. The V6 here is still an option, but there's a hot turbocharged 2.0-liter engine as well. In proper Jeep fashion, the Cherokee remains one of the most capable compact SUVs in the segment.
How does the Cherokee drive?
We're pleasantly surprised by the Cherokee's sporty nature, especially when you consider Jeep's reputation for off-road capability. Steering is nicely weighted and feels direct. It also transmits some of the road texture to the driver. The wheel is well-balanced, and there's a good sense of on-center feel. Shifts feels sluggish with the nine-speed automatic, so we'd probably opt for the turbo 2.0-liter engine, which outperforms the V6.
The brake pedal has a good amount of effort and response, making it easy and predictable to stop smoothly in everyday driving. Off-roading is above average, too, with multiple trim levels from which to choose that offer varying levels of dirt-capability.
How comfortable is the Cherokee?
The Cherokee does a fine job of softening harsh roads but is less adept at controlling the ups and downs of smoother undulating roads. We found the seats to be comfortable, with nice, breathable upholstery, even if they don't provide a lot of lateral support. There's an average amount of road and wind noise, not enough to be distracting, but we wouldn't call it quiet either.
The climate control system maintains temperature well, and the controls are easy to locate and adjust. Some functions such as the seat- and steering-wheel heaters are located in the touchscreen, requiring an extra step, but pop up immediately when you start the car — a nice touch. Seat heaters get toasty quickly, too.
How’s the interior?
The high-mounted cabin is easy to climb into and see out of, and there's an ample amount of headroom. The view straight back is free of obstructions, and the generous glass — including the small window at each rear flank -- also helps to minimize blind spots. There's also a generous amount of seat height adjustment, which should suit a wide range of driver types. Backseat passengers will appreciate the generous legroom.
This Jeep is not only easy to use, it's also easy to figure out, thanks to a straightforward Uconnect infotainment system and large, easy-to-wield knobs and buttons. However, those who are eyesight-challenged might want to upgrade to the larger 8.4-inch infotainment screen.
How’s the tech?
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard and the entry-level infotainment interface is nice, even if the icons are on the small side. The touchscreen menu is pretty straightforward, providing prompts that are helpful in guiding you through the available commands. You can make calls, tune to a radio station, and even set the climate control system through voice commands. There are two USB ports up front and two more for charging in the back, and the upgraded audio system delivers great sound.
Our test car did not have many driver aids, but the alerts (such as blind-spot warning) can be configured to be audible or visual only. Adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist are only available on higher trims.
How’s the storage?
Despite the trunk's small volume dimensions, its layout is clever and useful. The adjustable load floor is handy and liftover height is manageable, but the Cherokee's 24.6 cubic feet of cargo space makes it one of the smallest trunks in the segment. There's a good variety of cabin storage options for the items people commonly bring inside.
Child safety seat anchors are clearly marked and accessible between the rear seatback and bottom cushion. Likewise the rear tethers are also easy to access on the back of the seats. For those who tow trailers, an optional tow package increases the Cherokee's capacity to a useful 4,500 pounds.
How economical is the Cherokee?
Our V6 test vehicle is rated at 22 mpg (19 city, 27 highway), which is well below what competitors return. We averaged 20.9 mpg over the course of two weeks, with a best return of 25.2 mpg on our 116-mile evaluation loop. The optional turbo 2.0-liter is not only more efficient but makes more power.
Is the Cherokee a good value?
Our midlevel Cherokee model was missing some interior refinement, but things weren't all bad. Control knobs have soft detents and rubberized knurling that makes for easy adjustment. The hard plastic trim has a ruggedness to it, but it looks a bit cheap compared to segment leaders.
The Cherokee has a three-year/36,000-mile basic and five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty, which matches most rivals. Roadside assistance is covered for five years/60,000 miles, which is better than some rivals. For pure value, segment leaders offer more standard features, but many of the Jeep's add-ons are affordable, and some are not offered by competitors. Ultimately, you're paying more for Jeep capability
The Cherokee is much easier on the eyes than it was before Jeep's midcycle refresh for 2019, but its design definitely lost some of its predecessor's boldness. Couple that with the fact that it's one of the most off-road-capable vehicles in the class that's also surprisingly fun to drive on-road, and it's a rig we'd be happy to drive daily.
Which Cherokee does Edmunds recommend?
Jeep Cherokee models
The 2020 Jeep Cherokee is a small crossover SUV offered in five main trim levels: Latitude, Latitude Plus, Limited, Trailhawk, and Overland.
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Most helpful consumer reviews
2020 Jeep Cherokee video
2019 Jeep Cherokee Unveil
NOTE: This video is about the 2019 Jeep Cherokee, but since the 2020 Jeep Cherokee is part of the same generation, our earlier analysis still applies.
Our experts’ favorite Cherokee safety features:
- Uconnect Access
- Automatically connects to 911 in an emergency, tracks the vehicle in case of theft, and sends an email or text alert if the alarm goes off.
- Trailer Sway Control
- Helps mitigate trailer sway by selectively applying the brakes and reducing power to keep the trailer in line with the car.
- Rear Cross Path Detection
- Helps prevent collisions by alerting the driver when a vehicle approaches from the side while the Cherokee is in reverse.
Jeep Cherokee vs. the competition
2020 Jeep Cherokee
2019 Honda CR-V
Jeep Cherokee vs. Honda CR-V
The Honda CR-V is probably the most well-rounded vehicle in the compact-SUV class. It offers a high level of build quality, lots of features for the price, above-average interior space, respectable power and impressive fuel economy. What it doesn't have, though, is the Cherokee's off-road capability. The Cherokee is good, but the Honda is very hard to beat.
Jeep Cherokee vs. Mazda CX-5
While the Cherokee feels a bit more tough and rugged than the average compact SUV, the Mazda CX-5 seems more refined and luxurious. Interior materials in the Mazda are some of the best in the class. And from behind the steering wheel, it's one of the sportiest rides in the segment, too. The Cherokee is pretty close, though, with a surprisingly sporty feel of its own.
Jeep Cherokee vs. Subaru Forester
The Forester is a great value in the compact-SUV segment, giving the Cherokee a run for its money when it comes to off-road capability. Both are pros in the dirt but comfortable on the pavement as well. The Subaru, however, has modest towing limits, while the Cherokee leads the class in pulling capability.
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Is the Jeep Cherokee a good car?
What's new in the 2020 Jeep Cherokee?
According to Edmunds’ car experts, here’s what’s new for the 2020 Jeep Cherokee:
- No significant changes for 2020
- Part of the second Cherokee generation introduced for 2014
Is the Jeep Cherokee reliable?
Is the 2020 Jeep Cherokee a good car?
How much should I pay for a 2020 Jeep Cherokee?
The least-expensive 2020 Jeep Cherokee is the 2020 Jeep Cherokee Latitude 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 9A). Including destination charge, it arrives with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $25,840.
Other versions include:
- Limited 4dr SUV 4WD (3.2L 6cyl 9A) which starts at $34,845
- Latitude Plus 4dr SUV 4WD (2.4L 4cyl 9A) which starts at $29,095
- Trailhawk 4dr SUV 4WD (3.2L 6cyl 9A) which starts at $34,755
- Latitude 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 9A) which starts at $25,840
- Latitude Plus 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 9A) which starts at $27,595
- Altitude 4dr SUV 4WD (2.4L 4cyl 9A) which starts at $30,290
- Latitude 4dr SUV 4WD (2.4L 4cyl 9A) which starts at $27,340
- Limited 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 9A) which starts at $31,600
- Altitude 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 9A) which starts at $28,790
- High Altitude 4dr SUV 4WD (3.2L 6cyl 9A) which starts at $36,840
- Latitude Lux 4dr SUV 4WD (3.2L 6cyl 9A) which starts at $31,400
- Overland 4dr SUV w/Prod. End 02/20 (3.2L 6cyl 9A) which starts at $36,995
- Trailhawk Elite 4dr SUV 4WD (3.2L 6cyl 9A) which starts at $37,950
- Upland 4dr SUV 4WD (3.2L 6cyl 9A) which starts at $30,720
- North Edition 4dr SUV 4WD (3.2L 6cyl 9A) which starts at $31,800
- High Altitude 4dr SUV (3.2L 6cyl 9A) which starts at $35,540
- Overland 4dr SUV 4WD w/Prod. End 02/20 (3.2L 6cyl 9A) which starts at $38,495
- Latitude Lux 4dr SUV (3.2L 6cyl 9A) which starts at $29,900