The 2015 Jeep Cherokee comes in four different trims with two engines to choose from. Both front-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive are available across all trim levels.
The basic engine in the Cherokee is a 2.4L 4-cylinder unit that produces 184 horsepower. When mated to the standard (and industry-first) 9-speed automatic and front-wheel drive, the Cherokee is capable of up to 31 mpg on the highway. The more powerful engine option is a 3.2L V6, which produces 271 horsepower and gives the Cherokee quite good acceleration for its class. This engine features stop/start technology to help boost fuel economy, and it is also mated to the same 9-speed transmission used in the 4-cylinder version.
The base Cherokee is nicely equipped, with standard items such as 17-inch wheels, keyless entry, automatic windows and door locks, Bluetooth connectivity, USB and auxiliary inputs for the stereo, steering wheel mounted cruise and audio controls and a 5-inch touchscreen.
The next level up is the Latitude trim. It includes everything in the base model, along with aluminum wheels, body-colored exterior mirrors and door handles, roof rails, projector beam fog lamps, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and tinted privacy glass
Step up to the Limited trim and things begin to get quite luxurious. Limited Cherokees get leather seats, 18-inch polished aluminum wheels, heated front seats, heated exterior mirrors and a heated steering wheel, a nicer instrument cluster, an 8.4-inch color touchscreen display, an 8-way power adjustable driver's seat, a backup camera, satellite radio connectivity, automatic headlights, dual-zone climate control and automatic headlights among other things.
The Trailhawk edition steps away from luxury and instead concentrates on off-road capabilities. The Trailhawk Cherokee includes a much nicer 4-wheel-drive system with a locking differential for ultimate grip in low traction environments. It also has more undercar protection and a one-inch lift in the suspension. Interior amenities echo what's included in the Latitude trim; however the Trailhawk does come standard with the bigger 8.4-inch touchscreen from the Limited.
Safety features on the Cherokee include anti-lock brakes, traction control, stability control, hill-start control and ten airbags. Optional safety features include a blind spot monitor, park assist, a forward collision warning system and a roadside assistance button.
Ever since the fifth-generation Jeep Cherokee went on sale in 2013, it's been a notable jack of all trades in the compact SUV class. You might get a Honda CR-V if you want more cargo space, or maybe you'd pick a Toyota RAV4 for its focus on fuel efficiency, but the Jeep Cherokee's never been bad at any of that stuff, either. A slew of updates for the 2019 model year help the Cherokee become even more well-rounded.
When the paved roads end, however, none of the competition can roughhouse off-road like the Jeep. With that in mind, I took a road trip out to Zion National Park to let the 2019 Cherokee flex its Trail Rated abilities while also seeing how it composes itself over long distances.
Although the Cherokee is a car-based crossover SUV, this Trailhawk model's off-road preparedness makes it feel more like a lumbering pickup truck along twisty sections of road -- not that anyone is buying a rugged Cherokee for sporty driving dynamics, of course. The Cherokee Trailhawk works just fine for A-to-B driving with nicely weighted steering and confident braking, but exaggerated body motions are par for the course in this Trailhawk trim.
The Good The 2019 Jeep Cherokee has plenty of off-road ability with respectable on-road fuel efficiency and loads of creature comforts.
The Bad Nine-speed transmission can be sluggish, and the Trailhawk model is a lot more expensive than its competitors.
The Bottom Line If off-road adventures are your thing, the Jeep Cherokee is the compact SUV to get.
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