2019 Jeep Cherokee
by John Davis
The 2019 Jeep Cherokee is the latest edition of a true SUV pioneering name. In fact, it was the boxy 4-door 1984 XJ Cherokee that started the trend of SUVs becoming a family staple.
But when the current generation KL Cherokee arrived for 2014, there was an uproar among Jeep purists who saw their full-framed mountain goat SUV transformed into a car-based crossover utility, complete with softer lines and polarizing styling.
Jeep has already proven the latest Cherokee’s off-road chops, and the 2019 refresh attempts to rectify other issues. For one thing, the split, squinty front lights are gone. Now, the LED daytime running lights are blended into a single headlight unit. The 7-slot grille now also looks more upright and traditional. Around back, even more tweaks were done to the rear end, including repositioning the license plate from the bumper to the liftgate.
Under the new aluminum hood are 3 engine options: a 180-horsepower Tigershark 2.4-liter I-4, a 271-horse Pentastar 3.2-liter V-6, and the all-new 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 with 270 horsepower. The new turbo led to refinements in the 9-speed automatic transmission. Shifts come more quickly and smoothly. The electronic power steering also stayed on point during our initial drive through the California countryside.
Inside, less has changed, but again for the better. New piano black and satin chrome accents add style, while the latest-generation UConnect touch screens are available in two sizes, with both Apple Car Play and Android Auto now standard. The cabin remains overall very comfortable and reasonably roomy.
For more first driving impressions of the 2019 Jeep Cherokee, be sure to catch MotorWeek episode #3727 that begins airing March 16, 2018. For a listing of the public television stations that broadcast MotorWeek, go to motorweek.org and click the “About The Show” tab at the top. MotorWeek is also seen Tuesday evenings on the Velocity cable network.
So the 2019 Jeep Cherokee evolves even further. While it may no longer be a trendsetter, the 2019 rework easily keeps up with the escalating pace of consumer SUV wants and needs.