When the Jeep Cherokee replaced the Liberty in 2013, the revived Cherokee arrived with a controversial face that was meant to help it stand out in the crowded compact crossover segment. The new Cherokee also ditched the Liberty’s more rugged platform to share its DNA with the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200, a move that clearly annoyed Jeep loyalists. Over time the Cherokee proved that even with its more car-like parts it could still tackle whatever you threw at it, but that ugly duckling face was a much harder sell.
Now Jeep has introduced a revamped 2019 Cherokee, which debuts with a entirely new face, new powertrain options and some small interior upgrades. The new face is easily the most significant change to the 2019 Jeep Cherokee, which ditches the dual headlight setup for more traditional and less offensive headlights. The new face brings the Cherokee closer in line with the styling of the bigger Grand Cherokee and the smaller Compass. At the rear the changes are smaller with the license plate being moved from the bumper to the tailgate and new taillights.
Inside the 2019 Cherokee gets new piano-black trim pieces on the dashboard and some styling updates to the center console. You’ll have more room for your gear, since the cargo area is also now three inches wider, giving the 2019 Cherokee 27 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seat up. The Cherokee didn’t actually need that many updates to its interior, since it already featured the 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment system and luxury features, like ventilated seats and a panoramic sunroof.
Under the hood the 2019 Cherokee is available with a new 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder, which is the same engine that’s offered in the new Wrangler, but minus the mild-hybrid portion. The 2.0L four-cylinder generates 270 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque. If you prefer a V6, there’s a 271 horsepower 3.2L V6, while the base engine is a 180 horsepower 2.4L Tigershark four-cylinder. No matter which engine you choose, the Cherokee comes standard with a nine-speed automatic transmission.
The 2.0L is the most fuel efficient choice, since it’s rated at 23/31 mpg with front-wheel drive and 21/29 mpg if you choose the all-wheel drive version. The 2.4L is rated at 22/31 mpg with front-wheel drive and 21/29 mpg with all-wheel drive. The front-wheel drive 3.2L V6 is rated at 20/29 mpg and the all-wheel drive version is rated at 19/27.
We tested the new turbocharged 2.0L under the hood of the Cherokee Trailhawk and it proved that it could easily tackle whatever we threw at it – something that we wouldn’t say about most of the Cherokee’s rivals. The trails in the Santa Monica Mountains didn’t throw the Cherokee Trailhawk off its game and it managed to crawl through the trails deep ruts like they were simple pot holes. The Hill Descent control system also makes going down a hill easy-peasy. The 2.0L packs enough punch that you’ll forget that it has two less cylinders than the 3.2L engine, mainly because it generated 56 more lb-ft. than the V6.
The compact crossover segment is one of the most hotly contested segments in the industry. While the Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue and Toyota RAV4 continue to battle it out for the top spot, none of them have has much character as the Cherokee, well at least if you pick the Trailhawk trim. For the 2019 model year, the Cherokee’s new face is softer to make it more appealing, but if you want a crossover that can easily take the kids to school and also have some fun on the trails, the Cherokee is your crossover.
Pricing for the 2019 Jeep Cherokee starts at $25,190.