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2020 Jeep Cherokee Review

The 2020 Jeep Cherokee places in the bottom half of our compact SUV rankings. The Cherokee is a terrific off-roader with a comfortable cabin, but its rivals have nicer interiors and feel more composed on paved roads.

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent off-road ability
  • Comfortable seats
  • Intuitive infotainment system
  • Underwhelming base engine
  • Below-average cargo capacity
  • Less upscale than some rivals
  • Not as agile as competitors

7.4

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 7.5
Performance: 7.1
Interior: 7.1
Safety:
This rating isn’t available yet for the current model year. In the meantime, last year’s rating of 8.9 for safety is being used to calculate this vehicle’s overall score.
TBD
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Is the Jeep Cherokee a Good SUV?

Yes, the Jeep Cherokee is a good compact SUV. It's capable of handling both your daily commute and challenging off-road terrain. Inside, the seats are comfortable and supportive, and the Uconnect infotainment system is user-friendly.

The Cherokee has some notable drawbacks, however. Its base engine is weak, and its on-road manners aren’t particularly refined. Several rivals also have richer interiors and more cargo space.

Should I Buy the Jeep Cherokee?

Unless off-roading is a priority for you, there are better options in this class than the Cherokee. Not only does this Jeep carry an above-average price tag, but it also sits in the bottom half of a highly competitive class. Many rivals can rightly claim to provide more bang for your buck than this Jeep. Options to consider include the Ford Escape and Honda CR-V.

Compare the Cherokee, Escape, and CR-V »

Should I Buy a New or Used Jeep Cherokee?

The 2020 Cherokee belongs to a generation that began with the vehicle's debut for the 2014 model year. There aren't any notable updates for 2020, but the 2019 model underwent a major refresh. It got updated exterior styling, additional standard tech features like Apple CarPlay and a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system, and a new optional turbocharged four-cylinder engine. If you can find a 2019, you’ll get a very similar model to the 2020 Cherokee and likely save money.

You can potentially save thousands of dollars with a previous-generation Cherokee, which includes 2014 to 2018 models, but these will not have the benefits of the 2019 refresh.

If you’re considering an older model, check out our 2017 Cherokee, 2018 Cherokee and 2019 Cherokee reviews to help make your decision. And be sure to browse our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts you can find on used vehicles.

Compare the 2018, 2019, and 2020 Cherokee »

We Did the Research for You: 40 Reviews Analyzed

We don’t base our car reviews on our personal opinions. Instead, we combine the findings of professional test drivers with data such as reliability ratings and safety scores to give you a complete overview of every vehicle we rank.

This 2020 Cherokee review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2014.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking vehicles since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the automotive industry. Our car reviews are objective. To keep them that way, our editorial staff doesn’t accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and a third party handles all the advertising on our site.

How Much Does the Jeep Cherokee Cost?

The Jeep Cherokee Latitude carries a base price of $25,740. That's one of the highest starting prices in the compact SUV class. The story is the same at the high end of the lineup, with the range-topping Jeep Cherokee Overland starting at $36,745. The Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk, which is the most capable trim for off-roading, starts at $34,505. High-end trims of most compact SUVs have starting prices well below these.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Jeep dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Jeep deals page.

Jeep Cherokee Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Jeep Cherokee or Ford Escape?

The Ford Escape doesn't have the Cherokee's off-road ability, but it's a better SUV. The Escape's lively engines and sharp handling make it more fun to drive than the Cherokee, and it gets better fuel economy. Both of these SUVs have user-friendly infotainment systems, but the Escape has more rear-seat passenger space and a higher cargo capacity. It earns a slightly better predicted reliability rating as well. The Ford costs a bit less than the Jeep, so it's not just a better SUV, it's also a better value.

Which Is Better: Jeep Cherokee or Honda CR-V?

The Honda CR-V finishes well above the Cherokee in our compact SUV rankings because it's better in almost every respect. It boasts significantly more cargo space, better gas mileage, and a nicer interior than the Jeep. The CR-V also earns a better predicted reliability rating, and it costs considerably less than the Cherokee. Unless you need a capable off-roader, the CR-V's combination of value and quality makes it a better option.

Compare the Cherokee, Escape, and CR-V »

Cherokee Interior

How Many People Does the Cherokee Seat?

The Cherokee seats five people. Both rows of seats are comfortable and supportive, and the front row has plenty of room for both the driver and the passenger. The rear seats have adequate space, but some rivals have more head- and legroom.

Cherokee and Child Car Seats

There are two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the Cherokee’s rear outboard seats. There is also an upper tether anchor and one lower anchor for the rear middle seat, which has the ability to borrow a lower anchor from an adjoining seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not evaluated the 2020 model, but the LATCH system in the nearly identical 2019 Cherokee earned the best-possible rating of Good+ for ease of use. 

Cherokee Interior Quality

The Jeep Cherokee's interior features a mix of soft-touch materials and hard plastics. Overall, it's nice, though it's not as upscale as some competitors.

Cherokee Cargo Space

The Cherokee provides 25.8 cubic feet of space with the rear seats up and 54.7 cubic feet with them folded. You can lower the cargo floor to increase space behind the rear seats to 27.6 cubes. This is plenty of room for vacation luggage or outdoor gear, but most compact SUVs have higher cargo capacities.

Cherokee Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

This Jeep comes with the Uconnect infotainment system, a 7-inch touch screen, a six-speaker stereo, a USB port, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. Available features include a panoramic sunroof, an 8.4-inch touch screen, navigation, satellite radio, a nine-speaker Alpine audio system, and additional USB ports.

All of the Cherokee's infotainment controls are well-organized in the center stack, and they're easy to reach from the driver's seat. The Uconnect interface is one of the better ones in the industry. It has intuitive menu layouts, so it's easy to navigate, and you can make selections via the touch screen or secondary physical controls.

Read more about interior »

Cherokee Performance

Cherokee Engine: Ignore the Base

Buyers should skip the Cherokee's 180-horsepower four-cylinder base engine. With it, the Cherokee doesn't accelerate quickly or have good high-end power, making it an uninspiring choice for both city and highway driving.

The 270-horsepower turbo-four and 271-horsepower V6 are both better choices. These engines move the Cherokee with more verve in most driving situations, resulting in noticeably quicker acceleration.

Cherokee Gas Mileage: Not Terrible, but Not Great

The Cherokee's fuel economy ratings are similar to those of many rivals, though they still come in a shade below the class average. With its base engine, this Jeep gets 22 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. Ratings for models with the turbo-four and V6 are 23/31 mpg and 20/29 mpg, respectively.

Cherokee Ride and Handling: A Mixed Bag

While the Cherokee's numb steering, mushy brakes, and noticeable body lean aren't ideal for people who spend a lot of time on curvy roads, this Jeep is comfortable for daily driving. But as you might guess based on the Jeep badge, the Cherokee really shines when you take it off road. In fact, the only small crossovers that can claim to match its off-road prowess are other Jeeps, such as the Wrangler.

Cherokee Off-Road Ability

While it's no Wrangler, the Cherokee outperforms almost all compact SUVs when it comes to off-roading. It's capable of tackling many different types of terrain, and the Trailhawk trim is particularly adept when the pavement ends because it comes with features like an off-road suspension and enhanced four-wheel drive.

Cherokee Towing Capacity

When properly equipped, the Cherokee can tow up to 4,500 pounds.

Read more about performance »

Cherokee Reliability

Is the Jeep Cherokee Reliable?

J.D. Power gives the 2020 Jeep Cherokee a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Jeep Cherokee Warranty

The Jeep Cherokee comes with a three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Cherokee Safety

Cherokee Crash Test Results

The 2020 Cherokee received an overall safety rating of four out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It earned five stars in the side crash test and four stars in the frontal crash and rollover tests.

At the time of writing, the 2020 Cherokee has not been crash tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, but the nearly identical 2019 Cherokee was named a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS after receiving the top rating of Good in all six crash tests.

Cherokee Safety Features

The Cherokee comes standard with a rearview camera and rear parking sensors. Available driver assistance features include lane departure warning, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, and parallel and perpendicular park assist.

Read more about safety »

Cherokee Dimensions and Weight

The Cherokee is 15.3 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,590 to 4,260 pounds.

Where Is the 2020 Jeep Cherokee Built?

Jeep builds the 2020 Cherokee in Illinois.           

Which Jeep Cherokee Model Is Right for Me?

The Cherokee comes in five trim levels: Latitude, Latitude Plus, Limited, Trailhawk, and Overland. Three four-wheel-drive systems are available: Jeep Active Drive I, Jeep Active Drive II, and Jeep Active Drive Lock.

The base trim has a decent array of features and will appeal to plenty of buyers. It offers four-wheel drive, a V6 engine, and some nice comfort and driver assistance amenities. The Limited trim offers great value as well. It comes with more standard and available features than the lower trims, and you have your choice of all three engines. For the best off-roading experience, you’ll want the Trailhawk.

Jeep Cherokee Latitude

The Cherokee Latitude carries a base price of $25,740. It comes standard with a 180-horsepower four-cylinder engine, a nine-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. Standard features include cloth upholstery, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, a 7-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a six-speaker audio system, and a USB port.

You can add four-wheel drive for $1,500 and a V6 engine for $1,745. Options include the SafetyTec package ($695), which adds blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert. The Cold Weather Group ($895) has heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and remote start.

Jeep Cherokee Latitude Plus

The Cherokee Latitude Plus starts at $27,395 and gains cloth and vinyl upholstery, a power-adjustable driver's seat, additional USB ports, push-button start, and satellite radio.

You can add four-wheel drive for $1,500, a V6 engine for $1,745, and a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine for $2,245. The Cold Weather Group is also available in this trim.

The Comfort/Convenience Group costs $995 and adds features like a power liftgate, dual-zone automatic climate control, remote start, and auto-dimming rearview mirrors. A nine-speaker Alpine audio system ($695) and a panoramic sunroof ($1,595) are also available.

Jeep Cherokee Limited

The Cherokee Limited has a starting price of $31,150. In addition to the lower trims' features, the Limited comes with an 8.4-inch touch screen, Nappa leather upholstery, a power-adjustable passenger seat, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power liftgate, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.

All of the engines and four-wheel drive are available in this trim. The Technology Group ($1,595) includes adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and automatic high-beam headlights. The Luxury Group ($1,345) adds niceties such as ventilated front seats and a hands-free power liftgate.

Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk

The Cherokee Trailhawk starts at $34,505. It has an off-road suspension and enhanced four-wheel drive (Jeep Active Drive Lock). You can add navigation, an Alpine premium audio system, and a panoramic sunroof. The Cold Weather and Comfort/Convenience groups are also available.

Jeep Cherokee Overland

The Cherokee Overland starts at $36,745, and instead of the off-road gear from the Trailhawk, it gains comfort and convenience features. It comes with a 271-horsepower V6 engine. Standard features include interior wood trim, ventilated front seats, a nine-speaker Alpine premium audio system, a hands-free power liftgate, and navigation. The turbo-four engine and four-wheel drive are available. You can also get the Technology Group in this trim.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Jeep dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Jeep deals page.

See 2020 Jeep Cherokee specs and trims »

The Final Call

There are a lot of reasons to like the 2020 Jeep Cherokee. It has a comfortable interior with easy-to-use tech features, and it's one of the best off-roaders in the class.

However, the Cherokee finishes in the bottom half of our compact SUV rankings because many rivals surpass it in key areas like interior quality and cargo capacity. In fact, aside from the aforementioned off-road prowess, this Jeep doesn't really offer anything that rivals don't, and when you factor in its high price tag, it's clear that the Cherokee doesn't represent a great value in the segment.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • As a city-dwelling competitor to the Honda CR-V and others, the 2020 Jeep Cherokee has its shortcomings. It's heavy, which means … that even with the available V6 engine it never feels quick; as for the base 2.4-liter 4-cylinder, just skip over that. The Cherokee comes more alive with the available turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder thanks to its better torque delivery. … With the extra weight -- we're talking hundreds more than an equivalently equipped CR-V -- comes poor fuel economy. However, ride and handling are spot-on, and even though the Cherokee isn't quick, neither are its competitors. Once you head off-road though, the Cherokee really shines." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • The Cherokee is far from everyone's cup of tea. In this price point there are crossovers that handle better, look sleeker and offer more tech. It's only with the Cherokee, however, that you can take the shortcut home through the woods and live to tell the tale." -- CNET (2019)
  • … our time with the Cherokee proved that it's still competitive, offering comfortable and quiet cruising, strong engines, and available off-road ability that's unmatched. But we'd only say it's competitive, not class-leading, in most areas. Its old-school, truck-like tendencies in handling, fuel economy and interior space hurt it when compared to more civilized compact crossovers. But, if you're looking for something that feels closer to bigger, burlier SUVs and trucks rather than something that's more akin to a tall hatchback, the Cherokee's rough edges could be considered an advantage." -- Autoblog (2019)
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