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.
The Jeep Cherokee is a capable small crossover, able to ford creeks, scamper over boulders and take you places more urbane competitors likely can't. Favorable approach and departure angles, plus a trio of available four-wheel-drive systems help provide those mountain-goat talents. It's just a shame this vehicle's off-road abilities come at the expense of some refinement and everyday livability.
Fresh off a not-insignificant midcycle update for the previous model year, not much has changed with this Jeep for 2020. Designers added a couple new exterior colors and wheel designs. The Advanced Safety Group, which includes things like lane-departure and forward-collision warning as well as rain-sensing wipers is also offered on more trim levels. Additionally, Alexa skill technology is available on models fitted with an 8.4-inch infotainment screen. But really, that's about it.
To recap, for 2019 the Cherokee received a number of improvements, perhaps most significantly a redesigned front end, which is much more conventional looking. Gone are the stacked frontal lighting elements including those weird-looking, slit-like lamps. Equally significant: A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine joined the powertrain lineup, plus engineers retuned the suspension for a smoother ride and figured out how to add four more cubic feet of cargo space in the rear. Naturally, these enhancements and more carry through for 2020.
The Good ~ Superb Uconnect infotainment system ~ Smooth, turbocharged engine ~ Excellent off-road capability ~ Comfortable front seats
The Bad ~ More cabin space would be nice ~ Clunky automatic transmission ~ Overly ambitious pricing ~ Off-the-line punch
The Bottom Line If you want a smaller off-roader that's reasonably comfortable and offers excellent infotainment tech, the Cherokee could be ideal, provided you can make peace with its uncivilized transmission and ambitious pricing.
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