2019 Jeep Cherokee
Since its introduction back in 1993, the Jeep Cherokee (and its ‘Grand’ stablemate) have stood as enduring cornerstones of the crossover SUV segment. Like their first generation namesake, they were inspired heavily by the iconic Wagoneer of the ’60’s and 70’s, as well as the Jeepster Commando, both of which merged rugged versatility with a sense of youthful exuberance.
To this day, that inspiration remains intact, despite its continual evolution. Having taken various forms over two-and-half decades (and five generations) the Cherokee has been built upon several platforms, ranging from a full-size SUV to a compact-inspired crossover. A variation was even rebadged temporarily, for the North American market, as the Jeep Liberty before returning with its original moniker for the 2014 model year.
Returning with a more dynamic on-brand take on traditional Jeep styling, the (now mid-sized) fifth-generation Cherokee (KL) felt both classic and innovative. But those who may have felt that Jeep had veered closer to the latter in recent model years will be glad to see a more back-to-basics approach in the yet-to-be-released, but highly-anticipated 2019 Jeep Cherokee. This is especially true considering that this mid-cycle refresh appears to be an indication of where FCA plans to take the Cherokee in the model years to come.
Priced to start around $24,690 MSRP the 2019 Jeep Cherokee will be served up six core trim levels: the (base) Latitude, Latitude Plus, Limited, Trailhawk, Overland and Trailhawk Elite. Ranging from family-friendly to trail-rated, the Cherokee remains a vehicle that offers something for everyone. And with such an accessible starting point in terms of pricing, it offers something for every budget, as well.
Based on minimal changes made to the interior, one can only assume that changes made to the Cherokee’s infotainment system will be limited to the kind of organic evolution you’d expect between model years.
This means that, even at the base level, the Bluetooth-enabled Cherokee is likely to feature the Uconnect 7.0 system built around a 7-inch touchscreen interface. Compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the system will feature voice controls and hands-free calling.
Jump trims and you can expect to see the Uconnect 8.4 system, with or without built-in navigation. Additional features such as HD and SiriusXM satellite radio are likely to be included among the additional options. Of course, such features will be largely driven by the trim level selected, along with any enhancement packages that you may choose.
Mated to a refreshed 9-speed automatic transmission, the 2019 Cherokee is available in either front-wheel drive or 4×4 configurations and is powered by one of three powertrains. Carried over are the standard 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder, and the 3.2-liter PentaStar V6 serving up 271 hp.
The newest addition to the lineup is a 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 that wrangles 270 hp and a jacked up 295 lb-ft of torque. While EPA estimates on fuel economy have yet to be released, there is some anticipation driven from the use of lightweight materials and direct-injection technology.
In terms of the interior, there are fewer visible changes made. Then again, the purposeful cabin design required little in the way of an update. Easing into the driver’s seat reveals a forward-thinking design and thoughtful layout of both gauge cluster and control panels. The touchscreen interface finds itself tastefully reframed with a slightly restricted infotainment panel but otherwise remains a carry-over from 2018.
The same could be said for the cabin itself, reiterating that no changes were necessary. Spacious and well-designed, it is both well-designed and well-constructed consisting of appealing material choices (regardless of the trim level selected).
In addition, the 2019 Cherokee’s utilitarian nature is enhanced by the additional three-inches of width afforded by the redesign.The result is a total of 27 cubic feet of cargo space, an improvement over its predecessor.
As mentioned above, recent model years have presented a handful of design notes that were met with mixed response. Most notably would be the design and placement of the split-lighting. For 2019, the driving and headlights were reunited with one another, as well as with their original placement. Combined with a new design and LED headlamps, it merges the spectrum of expectations. And building from the fender flares, the placement of side scoops and body contouring lend the Cherokee a sporty, athletic feel that makes for a truly appealing accent.
Step around to the rear and you’ll see that the rear fascia receives similar touches including new LED taillights, as well as a redesigned tailgate. This new design houses the license plate in a manner that gives the Cherokee a lighter, less bottom-heavy feel.
Trim levels such as the Trailhawk and Overland feature additional accents, geared even more towards off-road endeavors. On either you’ll find accented tow hooks, while the Trailhawk receives an increased ride height, enhanced by a restyled bumper (allowing for better approach angle) skid plates and larger fender flares. Overall, this restoration of classic styling goes a long way to reunite the Cherokee with its heritage.