Entry Price: $25,490
Price as tested: $41,620
This week, we’re driving the re-designed 2019 Jeep Cherokee, arriving in upper class Limited trim. Before we delve into the Cherokee review, here’s a little bit of Jeep business. Actually, it’s not a “little bit” of Jeep business, it’s a “big bit” of Jeep business.
Specifically, the Jeep brand continues to be critical to Fiat Chrysler’s overall success, even more so than many realize. Jeep’s 2019 April sales rose to 82,641 units, eclipsing the previous record of 82,537 Jeeps sold in April 2016. Considering Fiat Chrysler reported total group sales of 184,149 vehicles in April, which include RAM truck, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat and Alfa Romeo, Jeep sales accounted for a stunning 44.9 percent of the corporate sales pie.
That’s a “big bit” of business for sure and worthy of note. Now, let’s talk about the popular 2019 Jeep Cherokee.
As the smaller brother to sibling Jeep Grand Cherokee, Cherokee is categorized by the EPA as a smaller SUV, but not a compact. It continues to be one of the better looking SUVs on the road and carries with it Jeep’s historic legend that dates back to World War II. Back then, the first ever Jeep military vehicle arrived and took troops and officers safely through rough terrain, resulting in a mechanical love affair with soldiers around the globe. If the armed forces were nearby, so were the Jeeps.
To this day, everyone from millennial to baby-boomer knows what a Jeep is and the love affair continues. This results in devoted consumers who are pre-sold before they ever walk onto the showroom floor. Be it two- or four-wheel drive, from Cherokee to Wrangler to new Gladiator pickup, Jeep consumers are a loyal bunch, period.
Built in Belvidere, Illinois, Cherokee Limited is a prime example of a small SUV that is ready for a comfortable highway drive or a weekend of off-road camping. New for 2019 are improved LED head and tail lamps, better wheel designs and premium exterior features that upgrade the Cherokee design. And, although our Cherokee 4x4 came with a standard V6 engine, an all-new 2.0-liter turbocharged engine joins the powertrain lineup and is available on many models.
With nine Cherokee trims available, the entry Latitude starts at just $25,490 in four-cylinder two-wheel drive form while the 4X4 Latitude starts at $26,990. Our Limited tester carries an entry price of $34,445 and is one of the most expensive of the Cherokee family. However, your Jeep dealer has a Cherokee in stock to match your economic situation all the way up to the ultimate Cherokee Trailhawk Elite that starts at $37,140.
Powered by a standard 3.2-liter V6, Jeep Limited 4x4 owners can rest assured there is more than enough horsepower (271), torque (239) and best in class towing ability (4,500 pounds with tow package) to take care of just about every requirement that comes your way. All 2019 Cherokees come with a nine-speed automatic and standard is a gas saving “Start-Stop” feature, which shuts the engine off when stopped for any reason. The result is V6 MPG numbers of 18 city and 24 highway for the 4x4 version while front wheel drive Cherokees deliver 21 and 29, respectively.
Most Cherokee front drive and some of the 4x4 models come standard with a 2.4-liter four cylinder putting out 180 horses and 171 lb. ft. of torque. Although not as powerful as the V6, this non-turbo four delivers 22 city and 31 highway for the front drive while the 4x4 slips to 21 and 29, respectively. However, the V6 now has a real competitor in the new 2.0-liter turbo four, optional on most trims and should be a major consideration. It delivers 270 horsepower and 295-lb. ft. of torque and generates good fuel mileage at 21 city and 31 highway.
The Limited 4x4 mechanicals include Jeep’s normal duty Active Drive I system that automatically engages 4x4 mode when driving conditions change. The system monitors wheel slippage and automatically applies torque when needed with maximum efficiency and control. However, the heavy duty 4x4 underpinnings with skid plates are not available on the Limited but are on the Trailhawk.
Safety features include all the airbags, blind spot with cross path detection, rear park assist, four-wheel discs, stability and traction controls, electronic brakeforce, hill start assist, and much more. The ride is good, handling secure and suspension tuned more so for comfort.
Standard fare on the Limited are an 8.4-inch Uconnect with SiriusXM, Bluetooth, Apple and Android compatibility, tilt and telescopic heated steering wheel, Nappa leather with heated and power front seating, power liftgate, nine-speaker stereo with subwoofer, blind spot and cross traffic, dual zone climate control, push button start, 18-inch tires on aluminum polished wheels and some 12 other amenities and style enhancements.
Recommended is the $1,095 Customer Preferred Technology option, which adds full-speed forward collision warning with active braking, parallel and perpendicular park assist, adaptive cruise control, advanced brake assist, lane departure warning, rain sense wipers, side distance warning, and automatic high beam control. It’s worth every penny.
A Customer Preferred Package, “26P,” for $1,795 adds numerous exterior upgrades ala body-color moldings, anodized gun metal interior accents, granite crystal style badges, grille and fascia upgrades, tungsten interior stitching, HD radio, GPS navigation and 19-inch Bridgestone Dueler tires on nice granite crystal alloys. It’s a little expensive and not really necessary, but sure adds to the aesthetics of the Cherokee.
The final options that spruced up the interior are a $1,595 full dual-pane panoramic sunroof (I never recommend sunroofs) and a $1,195 Luxury Group that adds ventilated front seats, hands free power liftgate, adjustable second row seating, and special cargo carpeting and trim. This brought the final retail to $41,620 with $1,495 delivery included.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 106.6-inches, 3,953 lb. curb weight, 15.8 gallon fuel tank, and from 24.6 to 54.9 cu. ft. of cargo space.
The sales numbers for Jeep vehicles tell everything you need to know about the brand’s popularity, so you won’t go wrong parking a Jeep Cherokee in your driveway. Make sure you check on current lease and buy incentives as several are big money savers.
Likes: Great Jeep looks, new turbo-4, reputation, 4x4 abilities.
Dislikes: Standard four-cylinder needs more ponies, large A-pillar hinders some vision.
Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and GateHouse Media. Contact him at email@example.com.