2019 Jeep Cherokee Review: The Ultimate Off-Road Adventure

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2019 Jeep Cherokee Review: The Ultimate Off-Road Adventure
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Video 2019 jeep cherokee review

Since its debut in 2013, the Jeep Cherokee has consistently stood out as a versatile and capable compact SUV. While other vehicles in its class may offer more cargo space or better fuel efficiency, the Cherokee has never disappointed in these areas. Now, with a range of updates for the 2019 model year, the Cherokee is more well-rounded than ever before.

To truly put the Cherokee’s off-road capabilities to the test, I embarked on a road trip to Zion National Park. This adventure allowed me to experience the Trailhawk model’s impressive Trail Rated abilities while also evaluating its performance over long distances.

Road Trip-Worthy

Despite being a car-based crossover SUV, the Trailhawk model’s off-road readiness gives it the feel of a rugged pickup truck. While it may not excel in sporty driving dynamics, the Cherokee Trailhawk handles A-to-B driving with ease, thanks to its nicely weighted steering and confident braking. Keep in mind that exaggerated body motions are to be expected in the Trailhawk trim.

Under the hood, the 2019 Cherokee is powered by a new 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 engine, delivering 270 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. While acceleration from a standstill is reasonable, the transmission is slightly slow to respond at highway speeds. This can make passing other vehicles a bit sluggish. However, the transmission performs well during upshifting and city driving.

During my lengthy road trip to Zion, covering 976 miles of mostly highway driving, I achieved an average fuel economy of 26.5 miles per gallon. Considering that the Cherokee Trailhawk is EPA-rated for 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway, this is quite impressive.

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Off-Road Trip-Worthy

Located just south of Zion National Park, along the Smithsonian Butte Back Country Scenic Byway, lies “Crybaby Hill,” a popular off-road route. Here, I had the opportunity to test the Cherokee Trailhawk’s off-road capabilities. While not suitable for rock crawling, Crybaby Hill allowed me to experience the Trailhawk’s hill-descent control, 56:1 crawl ratio, and 8.7 inches of ground clearance. The Trailhawk handled the rugged terrain with confidence, effortlessly maneuvering through Utah’s stunning landscapes.

The Cherokee’s suspension effortlessly tackled the rough paths of Crybaby Hill, while the responsive steering provided an excellent feel for the terrain. With its 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, the Trailhawk effortlessly powered through the off-road challenges, and the four-wheel drive system ensured traction and control. It’s worth noting that the Cherokee remains composed over washboard surfaces, although a few rattles may be heard from behind the dash. Nevertheless, the Cherokee presents itself as a well-built and capable off-road machine.

Chiseled Outside, Plush Inside

Compared to other Cherokees, the Trailhawk boasts more aggressive looks and a one-inch higher ride height. The front fascia features striking red tow hooks that add to its rugged appearance. The 2019 Cherokee has a refined design, with more conventional-looking headlights that enhance its overall handsome look.

Inside, the Cherokee’s cabin offers a plush and comfortable experience, making long drives a breeze. The Nappa leather seats, which are both heated and cooled, provide excellent support. The Cherokee’s quiet cabin is complemented by the immersive 506-watt Alpine premium audio system, making the road trip even more enjoyable.

The Cherokee is equipped with an 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen infotainment system, which is user-friendly and supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Other notable tech features include embedded navigation, HD and satellite radio, and a range of driver-assistance features, such as collision-mitigation braking, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot monitoring.

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How I’d Spec It

If I were in the market for a compact SUV that’s truly off-road capable, I would opt for every performance enhancement while balancing it with creature comforts. I highly recommend the Trailhawk’s black wheels, which beautifully complement the Firecracker Red paint. Additionally, the Elite package, priced at $2,995, is worth the investment, as it includes a heated steering wheel, auto-dimming mirror, foot-activated liftgate, power seats, leather upholstery, and remote start.

The Technology Group, which costs $1,095, is another essential option, adding advanced driver-assistance features for enhanced safety. I would also consider adding the engine block heater ($115), towing package ($795), and rock rails ($1,095) for the ultimate adventure-ready Cherokee. With these options, the total price would amount to $45,625.

Pay for the Prowess

With a price tag starting at $24,545, the Cherokee is a compelling choice in the compact SUV segment. However, the Trailhawk model, with a price approaching $45,000, is significantly more expensive than its competitors. While other vehicles may offer similar features at a lower cost, none can match the Cherokee’s off-road capabilities.

In conclusion, the 2019 Jeep Cherokee is a well-rounded and capable SUV. Its latest updates, including advanced technology, a refined turbocharged engine, and a spacious interior, make it an excellent choice for everyday driving. But when adventure calls, the Trailhawk is the only option for those who seek the ultimate off-road experience.

FAQs

Q: What is the fuel economy of the 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk?
A: The Trailhawk model achieves an EPA rating of 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. During a highway-heavy road trip, I achieved an average of 26.5 mpg.

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Q: Can the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk tow heavy loads?
A: The Trailhawk is capable of towing up to 4,500 pounds when equipped with the 3.2-liter V6 engine, making it suitable for towing recreational equipment or small trailers.

Q: What is the starting price of the 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk?
A: The base price of the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk is $24,545, while a fully equipped Trailhawk Elite 4×4, like the one I tested, can reach $43,620.

Q: Do the Cherokee Trailhawk’s off-road capabilities impact its on-road handling?
A: While the Trailhawk’s off-road readiness may result in exaggerated body motions, its steering and braking performance are confident, making it suitable for everyday driving as well.

Conclusion

The 2019 Jeep Cherokee is an exceptional SUV that offers a blend of off-road prowess and everyday practicality. With its latest updates, including advanced technology and refined design, the Cherokee is a strong contender in the compact SUV market. While the Trailhawk variant may come with a higher price tag, it’s the ideal choice for those seeking a vehicle that can handle any off-road challenge. Whether you’re venturing into the wilderness or navigating city streets, the Jeep Cherokee is built to satisfy your adventurous spirit.