2019 Jeep Cherokee

2/7/2018, 10:07 a.m.
The 2019 Jeep looked a lot better than the model it will replace.
The 2019 Jeep Cherokee Submitted photo

The 2019 Jeep looked a lot better than the model it will replace.

I was one of those folks who thought it looked a little funny. The DRLs were above the headlamps on the old model and the fog lamps were beneath. It looked a lot better than it sounds here but still it was love it or loath it styling.

Jeep decided to dump it as it strove for more premium styling, which I think it achieved with the 2019 Cherokee. The headlights, DRLs and the fog lamps were placed in a single housing. But designers managed to maintain the vehicle’s catlike eyes and it still had that unique waterfall hood mated to the seven-slot grille. As a single piece, the sloping new hood maintained the Cherokee’s distinctive face.

All the sheet metal on the new Cherokee from the A-pillar forward was changed. There was anew fascia, aluminum hood, standard LED headlamps, daylight running lamps (DRLs) and fog lights. Through design and the use of lightweight materials like the aluminum hood, the 2019 Jeep Cherokee was 150 lbs. lighter than the outgoing model.

And they changed the liftgate too, moving the license plate pocket from the rear fascia to the liftgate, letting them extend the dual cargo floor just a little bit to create more interior space. There were 28 more cubic feet than in the old model. Stick your foot under the rear bumper and the liftgate would open automatically.

A new 2.0-liter direct injected turbocharged four-cylinder engine that made 270 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque joined the engine choices. It was equipped with start stop.

The 3.2-liter V6 remained; it made 271 horsepower and 239 pound-feet of torque and Jeep said it had a best-in-class towing capability of 4,500 lbs.

And then there was a 2.4-liter four cylinder engine that made a not so wimpy 180 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque.

All engines were mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. Of course there was a four-wheel-drive Trailhawk rated trim line which started at $33,320. It was joined by four other trim lines: the Latitude 4X2, $23,995, Latitude 4X4 $25,495, the Latitude Plus 4X2 $26,495, the Latitude Plus 4X4 $27,995, the Limited $31,875 and the Overland $37,775. Add a $1,195 freight charge to all base prices.

The Limited and the Overland only come in 4X4 trim while the Latitude and the Latitude Plus are available in two-wheel- or four-wheel-drive.

But the proof of Jeep’s intent to upgrade the Cherokee was on the road. The 2019 Cherokee just felt good to drive. The steering wheel was fat to the grip. The seats were comfortable; I was particularly pleased with the way the lumbar support hugged the curves in my lower back.

The suspension was firm. There were no dips when going over deep depressions in the pavement. In other words, there wasn’t a lot of bouncing or sway in the curves. The 2019 Jeep Cherokee felt good going over the road and it was quiet. They did a good job of keeping road noise outside