Jeep has long been associated with SUVs that are at home both on and off-road. This is a quality that is undeniably cool and keeps the brand popular among anyone who looks at life as a series of adventures. If you drive far enough, the road ends and that’s where the fun starts if you’re in a Jeep.
Recently, we had the chance to take the latest version of Jeep’s venerable Cherokee for a drive. Through twisty Californian roads and up steep trails and rock-filled terrain we piloted a couple different versions of the 2019 Cherokee. Jeep did a pretty heavy refresh on the model for the upcoming model year, adding a new engine and making the vehicle more attractive and better to drive than ever before.
Modern, Improved and Still Rugged
The Cherokee underwent significant changes for the 2019 model year, most notably the front end, which features a shorter overhang, redesigned fascia and new headlights. The rear was also redesigned and is now better looking than the previous model.
The true improvements are under the hood. For the Jeep Cherokee 2019, they have added a new, optional 2.0-liter turbocharged engine to the model that makes 270 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Other engine options include a base 2.4-liter four-cylinder rated at 180 hp and a 3.2-liter V6 engine that makes 271 hp. Both the 2.4-liter and 3.2-liter engines have received minor improvements for 2019.
Aside from that, the Cherokee features a new Uconnect infotainment system with either a 7.0-inch or 8.4-inch touchscreen display, standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, over 80 safety and security features and plenty else. The cabin is clad with high-quality materials for its price point, and even the base model looks high quality. If you step up through its five different trim levels, you’ll notice that Overland and Trailhawk are the most eloquently adorned.
Geared for Off-Roading
There are three different four-wheel-drive systems available on the Cherokee depending on trim level. Active Drive I and Active Drive II are designed to handle inclement weather and some moderate off-roading. The Active Drive Lock that comes with the Cherokee Trailhawk provides top-level off-road ability.
In addition to the best 4×4 system, the Trailhawk comes with its own styling elements, improved approach and departure angles and skid plates underneath the vehicle to protect the model from rocks and vegetation while traversing difficult terrain.
Our time spend in the Trailhawk consisted of driving a course carve in the side of a Californian mountain by Jeep’s off-road team. The SUV handled the course with ease. Crawl control and hill descent control help make driving the Cherokee Trailhawk over tough obstacles easy. The system works like low-speed cruise control and keeps the Cherokee moving at the perfect pace.
If you have your sights set on doing some serious off-roading in the future, a Cherokee, specifically the Trailhawk should be on your list of possibilities. The model is more aesthetically pleasing than before, more capable on and off-road, and has all the tech and features you could need to become a true adventurer.