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2019 Jeep Cherokee earns Top Safety Pick, but pick the right headlights

Like so many other Top Safety Picks, the headlights are the asterisk of the award.

2019 Jeep Cherokee
This is one safe SUV.

Small SUV shoppers with a focus on safety can add another model to their potential list. The 2019 Jeep Cherokee has earned the IIHS' Top Safety Pick award, but it falls short of the even grander Top Safety Pick+ designation.

To qualify for the Top Safety Pick, any vehicle needs to earn the highest Good rating in every crashworthiness test aside from the passenger-side small overlap front test. There, a model can still score an Acceptable rating and walk away with a Top Safety Pick. In the 2019 Jeep Cherokee's case, it still earned a Good award.

In fact, every area but headlights qualified the Cherokee for a Top Safety Pick+ award. I'll get back to the headlights in a moment.

After the crash tests, the IIHS tests the model for frontal-crash prevention with standard or optional features. The Cherokee offers the technology as an option and the insurance industry-funded group rated it Superior, which is the best rating available. At 12 mph and 25 mph, the crossover SUV avoided a crash with the technology.

Now, we arrive back at the headlights. The IIHS found the SUV's best-available units were only Acceptable in testing. While that's good enough for a Top Safety Pick, the Cherokee needed Good headlights to earn the Top Safety Pick+ award. The best-rated lights are LED projectors and feature high-beam assist. Other Cherokee models get different LED projector lights that only scored a Marginal rating. Even then, there's a lesser LED projector unit that the IIHS scored Poor, which is the worst ranking.

Only Cherokee Limited, Trailhawk or Overland models equipped with the Technology Group package and built after April 2019 technically earn the Top Safety Pick designation, according to the safety group. With that information, know the cheapest way to park the Cherokee with the safety award in your driveway is a Limited model that starts at $32,945 after destination and the Technology package. The standard Cherokee starts at $26,540.

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