Jeep Cherokee Buyers Guide
Posted on August 14, 2020
Jeep has created a great little crossover with the Cherokee. Unlike some options from other companies, the vehicle doesn't have to just stick to the pavement, since it can be outfitted for some pretty rigorous outdoor fun. You'll learn about that and more, helping you to choose the version that's best for you.
First off, know that the modern Jeep Cherokee is a unibody, with a fully independent suspension, rack and pinion electric power steering, and other modern innovations that make it handle great on streets.
Don't be fooled by these details, or the non-blocky exterior, because the Cherokee is ready to take you down some pretty impressive trails. It comes with more than sufficient approach, breakover and departure angles, plus a mechanical locking rear differential and low-range gearing.
There are two engine choices: the 2.4-liter Tigershark four-cylinder and the mighty 3.2-liter Pentastar V-6. To be honest, the six-cylinder option makes for much better acceleration, climbing ability, etc. Both engines work with a nine-speed automatic transmission, which keeps the RPMs in the "sweet spot" more.
You should know there are five different trim levels. The first is called the Sport, and it's the most basic. Standard equipment includes 17-inch steel wheels, cloth upholstery, two-wheel drive, a 5-inch infotainment touchscreen, six stereo speakers, project headlights and hill start assist. The four-cylinder engine is the only powertrain option. You can get a pretty long list of options, but one of the most important is four-wheel drive. A Trailer Tow Group adds a class III hitch, an auxiliary transmission cooler, trailer wiring and a full-size spare tire.
The Latitude trim is much nicer, with more standard equipment like foglights, 17-inch aluminum wheels, a rearview camera and even a leather-wrapped steering wheel. You can add the V-6 to this trim, plus four-wheel drive. If you really want to do some trail driving, go with the off-road suspension paired with the Active Drive II 4x4 system. Not all of the options are about hardcore outdoor fun. A Comfort and Convenience Group adds some amenities like a power liftgate, automatic temperature control, satellite radio and even remote start.
With the Altitude, you get some cool black exterior trim pieces, which go great with the 18-inch black aluminum wheels. Other than that, the trim shares the same options as the Latitude.
Going with the Limited adds some high-end features, including leather upholstery, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, keyless entry and a big 8.4-inch infotainment touchscreen. It can also be outfitted with the V-6 engine, plus an off-road suspension paired up with the Drive II 4X4 system. Another interesting option if the Technology Group, which adds collision warning with crash mitigation, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, park assist, automatic high beams and even rain sensitive wipers.
If you really want to take the Cherokee out on some tough trails, the Trailhawk is the trim level you need. Standard equipment includes an Active Drive Lock 4-wheel drive, off-road suspension, hill descent control, auxiliary transmission cooler, more skid plates than other models and even red tow hooks. Not only can you add the V-6 engine, a lot of creature comforts and advanced assistance technologies are available through several packages.
Ultimately, you have to decide which version of the Jeep Cherokee is best-suited for your lifestyle.