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2019 Jeep Cherokee: What You Need to Know

US News & World Report - Cars logo US News & World Report - Cars 1/31/2019 U.S. News & World Report
a car parked on the side of a road: 2019 Jeep Cherokee© Fiat Chrysler Automobiles 2019 Jeep Cherokee

The Jeep Cherokee gets a midcycle refresh for the 2019 model year, adding more advanced technology features and a new available engine. Though these changes improve the Cherokee, they aren't enough to nudge it out of the bottom half of our compact SUV rankings.

The 2019 Jeep Cherokee is ranked:

Is the Jeep Cherokee a Good SUV?

The Jeep Cherokee is a good choice if you're searching for a compact SUV with commendable off-road abilities and a smooth ride on paved roads. The refreshed Cherokee comes standard with a larger 7-inch touch screen, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay – none of which are standard in rivals like the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, and Jeep Compass. Still, some competitors offer more cargo space, better gas mileage estimates, and a more powerful base engine.

Should I Buy the Jeep Cherokee?

You should buy the Jeep Cherokee if off-road prowess is your top priority. If you're looking for a good commuter vehicle, however, there are better alternatives. Spirited drivers should consider the Ford Escape, which has a livelier base engine and handles twisty roads with ease. Though Jeep expanded the Cherokee's cargo area a bit, many competitors still offer more cargo space. The Honda CR-V, for example, has one of the largest cargo capacities in the class.

Should I Buy a New or Used Jeep Cherokee?

The Jeep Cherokee is refreshed for the 2019 model year. Among its improvements are updated exterior styling, additional tech features, and a new optional engine. If these changes aren't at the top of your priority list, consider going with an earlier model to save some money. Keep in mind, however, that the Overland trim didn't debut until the 2016 model year.

For more information on older models in this generation, check out our reviews of the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Jeep Cherokee. Our Used Car Deals page also has information on discounts you can get on used vehicles.

We Did the Research for You: 39 Reviews Analyzed

To give you a complete overview of the 2019 Jeep Cherokee – and make your car-shopping experience easier – we analyzed 39 Jeep Cherokee reviews alongside reliability ratings, safety scores, and more.

This 2019 Jeep Cherokee review uses applicable research for all model years in this generation, which spans the 2014 through 2019 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our crew has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we do not accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an external company manages the ads on our site.

How Much Does the Jeep Cherokee Cost?

The 2019 Jeep Cherokee has a starting price of $24,690, making it one of the more expensive vehicles in the class. You can add four-wheel drive to the base trim for $1,500. A fully loaded Cherokee Trailhawk Elite costs about $44,000. Starting prices for the higher-ranked Honda CR-V and Ford Escape are a little less, at $24,150 and $23,850, respectively.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Jeep dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Jeep deals page.

Jeep Cherokee Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Jeep Cherokee or Ford Escape?

Those looking for a fun-to-drive SUV will prefer the Ford Escape to the Jeep Cherokee. The Escape's base engine puts out less horsepower than the Jeep's, but it provides faster acceleration. The Ford also has nimble handling and a smooth ride. Moreover, it offers more passenger and cargo space. The Jeep, however, has more standard infotainment features. Neither is the most fuel-efficient SUV in the class. The Ford Escape is the better vehicle unless you want a compact SUV with serious off-road chops.

Which Is Better: Jeep Cherokee or Honda CR-V?

On most fronts, the Honda CR-V is a better compact crossover than the Cherokee. The CR-V has 20 more cubic feet of overall cargo space than the Cherokee, which equates to roughly 15 extra grocery bags. It gets one of the highest fuel economy ratings in the class (26/32 mpg), and it has a better a history of safety and reliability ratings. The Cherokee has two advantages over the CR-V: more standard smartphone features and exceptional off-road capabilities. Unless off-roading is important to you, the CR-V's combination of value and quality makes it a better option.

Which Is Better: Jeep Cherokee or Jeep Compass?

The Jeep Compass is similar to the Cherokee. Neither comes with standard four-wheel drive, but when properly equipped, both have strong off-road capabilities. The Compass' starting price is about $3,700 less than the Cherokee's, plus it has a larger cargo area and a slightly higher fuel economy rating (23/32 mpg). That said, the Cherokee is a superior vehicle. While both Jeeps suffer from an underpowered base engine, the Cherokee has a selection of more powerful engines, and it comes with more standard tech features.

Cherokee Interior

How Many People Does the Cherokee Seat?

The Cherokee seats five in two rows of comfortable, supportive cloth seats. The front row has plenty of space. The rear seats have sufficient legroom, but rear-seat headroom is limited in models with the available sunroof.

Cherokee and Car Seats

The Cherokee has a full set of LATCH car-seat connectors on each rear outboard seat. The middle seat has an upper tether and one lower anchor with the ability to borrow a lower anchor from an adjoining seat. Both the lower anchors and upper tethers are easy to find, but the upper tethers can be confused with other hardware.

Cherokee Interior Quality

There are plenty of soft-touch surfaces in the Cherokee, and while it has a few hard plastics, they don't affect its overall appeal.

Cherokee Cargo Space

For 2019, the Jeep Cherokee's cargo area behind the second row seats expanded by 3 cubic feet to 25.8 cubic feet. Cargo width increased by about 3 inches. The overall cargo area is essentially unchanged at 54.7 cubic feet. The Cherokee also has a storage compartment underneath the cargo floor that allows you to discreetly hold additional items. Several rivals offer more space. The Honda CR-V, for example, has 39.2 cubic feet of space behind the second row seats and 75.8 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.

Cherokee Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The Cherokee's standard infotainment system is a major improvement from earlier models in this generation. It adds a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and pinch-to-zoom capability. Air conditioning is also now standard. You can upgrade the infotainment system to an 8.4-inch touch screen. Navigation and satellite radio are also available.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Cherokee Performance

Cherokee Engine: Improved Lineup, but Skip the Base

The Cherokee comes with a 180-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and a nine-speed automatic transmission. You'll want to step up to one of the larger engines, though, because the base setup struggles under the Cherokee's weight. A new 270-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine provides more power for much better acceleration, and its stop-start technology makes it the most fuel-efficient engine of the bunch. The Cherokee can tow up to 4,500 pounds when equipped with the available 271-horsepower 3.2-liter V6.

Cherokee Gas Mileage: Low for the Class

The base Cherokee's base four-cylinder delivers 22 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway, which is one of the lowest ratings in the class. The new-for-2019 2.0-liter turbo-four gets 23 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway, while the V6 engine gets a slightly lower rating of 20/29 mpg.

Cherokee Ride and Handling: Pretty Composed

The Cherokee comes standard with front-wheel drive and has a smooth, comfortable ride. There is, however, a little body lean when cornering, and while the steering is well-weighted, it's also numb. If you're looking for a more agile ride on pavement, consider the Ford Escape.

Cherokee Off-Road Performance

If you're looking for an off-roader that can also serve as a comfortable daily cruiser, the Cherokee is the right compact SUV for you. All Cherokees equipped with four-wheel drive come standard with the Selec-Terrain system, which allows you to choose from five terrain settings for various road conditions. Three optional four-wheel-drive systems are available: Jeep Active Drive I, Jeep Active Drive II, and Jeep Active Drive Lock. The Jeep Active Drive I is similar to an all-wheel-drive system and automatically engages when road conditions worsen. Jeep Active Drive II adds a Low mode for light off-roading and towing. The Jeep Active Drive Lock is for serious off-roading. It features a mechanical rear-axle lock and adds Rock mode to the Selec-Terrain system (only found in Trailhawk models).

Cherokee Reliability

Is the Jeep Cherokee Reliable?

Reliability data isn't yet available for the 2019 Cherokee. The 2018 Cherokee earned a below-average predicted reliability rating of 2.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Jeep Cherokee Warranty

The Cherokee has a three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Cherokee Safety

Cherokee Crash Test Results

Neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has crash tested the 2019 Jeep Cherokee. The 2018 Jeep Cherokee earned the highest rating of Good in four IIHS crash tests and a Marginal rating in the small overlap front test. The 2018 Cherokee has a four-star overall rating from the NHTSA.

Cherokee Safety Features

Every Cherokee has a rearview camera and parking sensors. Available advanced safety technology includes forward collision warning, automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, rain-sensing windshield wipers, parallel and perpendicular park assist, automatic high beams, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Which Jeep Cherokee Model Is Right for Me?

The Cherokee is available in six trim levels: Latitude, Latitude Plus, Limited, Overland, Trailhawk, and the new-for-2019 Trailhawk Elite. Three four-wheel-drive systems are also available: Jeep Active Drive I, Jeep Active Drive II, and Jeep Active Drive Lock. The base trim has a good number of features, including some that weren't available in the 2018 model. For the best value, we recommend going with the base Latitude model and upgrading the standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine to the optional V6 ($1,745) for quicker acceleration. We also recommend opting for the Jeep Active Drive I four-wheel-drive system for improved traction in inclement weather. If you're looking an excellent trail-rated vehicle, you'll want one of the Trailhawk trims.

Jeep Cherokee Latitude

The base Jeep Cherokee Latitude ($24,690) has standard cloth seats, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, air conditioning, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, a 7-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a six-speaker audio system, and a USB port. You can add Jeep Active Drive I for $1,500 and a V6 engine for $1,745. Two packages are available: The Popular Appearance package ($695) adds aluminum wheels, and the Cold Weather package ($795) adds features like heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and remote start.

Jeep Cherokee Latitude Plus

The Jeep Cherokee Latitude Plus starts at $26,495 and includes cloth and vinyl seats, a power-adjustable driver's seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, additional USB ports, push-button start, and satellite radio. You can add Jeep Active Drive I for $1,500, a V6 engine for $1,745, and a fuel-saving 2.0-liter engine for $2,245. The Cold Weather package is also available in this trim. A Comfort/Convenience package is an additional $795 and adds features like a power liftgate, dual-zone climate control, remote start, and auto-dimming rearview mirrors. If you plan to tow, you'll want the Trailer Tow package ($795), which requires Jeep Active Drive II ($1,205) and either the turbo four-cylinder or the V6 engine.

Jeep Cherokee Limited

The Jeep Cherokee Limited ($30,375) includes an 8.4-inch touch screen, a power-adjustable passenger seat, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, Nappa leather seats, dual-zone climate control, a power liftgate, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. All additional engines and Active Drive I and II are available in this trim. The Trailer Tow package is also available. The Technology package ($995) includes adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic braking, lane departure warning, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and automatic high beams. The Luxury package ($1,195) adds niceties like ventilated front seats and a hands-free power liftgate.

Jeep Cherokee Overland

The Jeep Cherokee Overland starts at $36,275 and includes the V6 engine, interior wood trim, heated and ventilated seats, a nine-speaker Alpine premium audio system, a hands-free power liftgate, and a navigation system. The 2.0-liter engine and Active Drive I and II are also available. You can also get the Technology and Trailer Tow packages in this trim.

Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk and Trailhawk Elite

If you're eager to hit the trails, you'll want one of the Trailhawk trims. The Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk ($33,320) has off-road suspension and enhanced four-wheel drive (Active Drive Lock). Trailer Tow, Cold Weather, and Comfort/Convenience packages are also available. The Trailhawk Elite ($36,315) adds comfort features like heated and ventilated seats and power-adjustable front seats. The Technology and Trailer Tow packages are available. Both trims come with a V6 engine.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Jeep dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Jeep deals page.

The Final Call

If you're looking for a dynamic off-road vehicle that maintains composure on pavement, you should be happy with the 2019 Jeep Cherokee. Its 2019 refresh includes a longer list of tech features and an optional fuel-saving engine that further increase its appeal. Still, some competitors have more-powerful base engines, a larger cargo area, and more agile on-road handling.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

Read the full 2019 Jeep Cherokee review on U.S. News & World Report for more details, photos, specs and prices.

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