2018 Jeep Cherokee

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MSRP: $24,395 - 37,340

2018 Jeep Cherokee Review

The 2018 Jeep Cherokee’s weak base engine power, below-average cargo volume, and low predicted reliability rating contribute to its place in the bottom half of our rankings. However, it does have some positives, such as a comfortable ride and admirable off-road abilities. 

7.7

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.0
Performance: 7.8
Interior: 8.2
Safety: 8.8
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Pros & Cons

  • Comfortable, upscale cabin
  • Easy-to-use infotainment system
  • Remarkable off-road capabilities in this price range
  • Less cargo space than most compact SUVs
  • Underpowered base engine
  • Below-average fuel economy
  • Low predicted reliability rating

Is the Jeep Cherokee a Good SUV?

The Jeep Cherokee is one of the best off-roaders in the class of compact SUVs. While many rivals only offer one basic all-wheel-drive system, the Cherokee gives you the choice of multiple four-wheel-drive systems. Its cabin is also comfortable, adding a level of refinement to off-road adventures. However, the Cherokee isn’t the best companion for daily driving. It has an underpowered base engine, below-average fuel economy, and a small cargo hold. On top of that, the Cherokee has one of the lowest predicted reliability ratings in the class.

Should I Buy the Jeep Cherokee?

Buy the Cherokee only if you go off-roading enough to warrant the purchase. If you spend most of your time cruising around suburbia or commuting to the office, you may want to consider a better SUV. The Honda CR-V can carry more luggage and gear than many other compact crossovers. Families should find the CR-V's high safety rating appealing. It’s also worth considering an SUV like the Ford Escape if you prioritize performance. You could also step up to the larger Jeep Grand Cherokee for more space and utility. 

Compare the Cherokee, CR-V, and CX-5 »

Should I Buy a New or Used Jeep Cherokee?

The Cherokee was last redesigned for the 2014 model year. Although there have been changes since, none were drastic. The changes for the 2017 and 2018 model years are mainly just shuffling some available features between trim levels. With so few changes, you can get an older Cherokee without missing out on any new technology, potentially saving you thousands of dollars.

If you're interested in a used model, be sure to visit our overviews of the 2016 Jeep Cherokee and 2017 Jeep Cherokee. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Cherokee »
We Did the Research for You: 34 Reviews Analyzed

For our 2018 Jeep Cherokee review, we researched dozens of professional evaluations, along with safety scores, reliability data, and fuel economy estimates, to help you make the best buying decision possible.

This overview incorporates applicable data and reviews from all model years of the current generation, which spans the 2014 through 2018 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our team has more than a combined 75 years of experience in the automotive industry. To maintain objectivity, we don't accept incentives or expensive gifts from car companies, and an outside team handles the ads on our site.

How Much Does the Jeep Cherokee Cost?

The Cherokee is one of the more expensive compact SUVs. However, most classmates have prices within a couple thousand dollars of each other, so the Cherokee's above-average starting cost isn't all that troubling. The MSRP for the Cherokee Latitude, the entry-level model, is $24,395. Other trim levels include the new Latitude Plus ($26,295), the Limited ($29,795), the Trailhawk ($30,995), and the Overland ($34,095).

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 Honda CR-V?

If you’re looking for a crossover that can endure family duty and boasts great crash test ratings, it’s hard to beat the Honda CR-V. The Honda’s cargo space ranks among the best in the class. Also, its EPA-estimated fuel economy is higher than the Cherokee, meaning you can travel more with less fuel.

Which Is Better: Jeep Cherokee or Ford Escape?

The Ford Escape has one of the best overall performance ratings among compact SUVs, thanks to its engaging handling and capable standard engine. Two other optional turbocharged engines provide more power. If your idea of fun involves cutting corners on the pavement rather than traversing off-road trails, go with the Escape.

Which Is Better: Jeep Cherokee or Jeep Grand Cherokee?

If you have more wiggle room in your budget, the Jeep Grand Cherokee (a midsize SUV) is a better buy than its diminutive version. The Grand Cherokee has enough rear-seat room for adults. Although it has more cargo space than a Cherokee, it’s still less than what most other midsize SUVs offer. The Grand Cherokee also has an upscale and comfortable cabin, fitting its higher price tag.

Compare the Cherokee, CR-V, and Escape »

Cherokee Interior

How Many People Does the Cherokee Seat?

You can seat five people inside a Cherokee. The seats are tasteful, whether you have the standard cloth, the upgraded cloth/leather/vinyl, or the posh Nappa leather upholstery. Between the comfortable cushions and the amount of space per person, the Cherokee makes for an enjoyable ride.

Cherokee and Car Seats

The Cherokee has three tether anchors in the back seat. Caregivers need to double-check the hardware before installing a car seat, as these anchors can be mixed up with other hardware in the rear. The outboard seats each have a full set of lower anchors. Additionally, the middle seat has one anchor, and can borrow an anchor from the adjacent seat. All the lower anchors are easy to find and use.

Cherokee Interior Quality

The base Cherokee Latitude lacks niceties like air conditioning, but even this entry-level edition features stylish upholstery and lots of soft-touch materials. Midlevel trims and above are even nicer, showcasing premium upgrades like Nappa leather seats and a dual-pane panoramic sunroof.

Cherokee Cargo Space

Compared to most of its rivals, the Cherokee has a small cargo hold. There is 24.6 cubic feet of room behind the Cherokee’s seats, while the Toyota RAV4, for example, has 38.4 cubic feet. That said, there are a couple of features that make the Cherokee's space user-friendly. You can expand the rear cargo area by sliding the rear seats forward or folding them flat. The front-passenger seat can also fold flat in most trims, and a power liftgate is available.

Cherokee Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

There's little guesswork involved with operating Jeep's Uconnect infotainment system. The basic system comes with a 5-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, and a USB port. We recommend getting a model with the 8.4-inch display, however. With this enhanced system, sorting through the menus is intuitive, the graphics are crystal clear, and you can even pick your favorite shortcuts for the menu bar.

Read more about interior »

Cherokee Performance

Cherokee Engine: Go for the V6

The Cherokee comes standard with a four-cylinder engine and a nine-speed automatic transmission. This 184-horsepower setup can struggle to get the Cherokee moving, and it drones at highway speeds. It’s best to upgrade to the 271-horsepower V6 engine, which gets this SUV up to speed quickly and can tow up to 4,500 pounds.

Cherokee Gas Mileage: Thirstier Than Most

The Cherokee’s EPA-rated fuel economy with the four-cylinder engine is 21 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. That slots this vehicle as one of the least fuel-efficient in our compact SUV rankings. Fuel economy with the V6 is identical in the city and drops to 29 mpg on the highway.

Cherokee Ride and Handling: Steady and Easygoing

On the highway, the Cherokee is smooth and mostly comfortable. It makes for a stable daily driver, though its body lean and marginal agility mean this SUV doesn't feel very athletic.

Cherokee Off-Road Performance

The Cherokee is one of the most capable off-road vehicles you can buy in this price range. Front-wheel drive is standard, but you can add four-wheel drive to any model. The trail-ready Trailhawk trim comes standard with an upgraded four-wheel-drive system, along with extra goodies like an off-road suspension system. Four-wheel-drive Cherokees have up to five traction modes (Auto, Snow, Sport, Sand/Mud, and Rock).

Read more about performance »

Cherokee Reliability

Is the Jeep Cherokee Reliable?

The 2018 Cherokee is not expected to be as reliable as most other new vehicles. It earns a predicted reliability rating of 2.5 out of five from J.D. Power. Rivals like the Ford Escape and Kia Sportage are expected to be more much more dependable.

Jeep Cherokee Warranty

The 2018 Cherokee comes with a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Cherokee Safety

Cherokee Crash Test Results

The 2018 Cherokee has a four-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It earns five out of five stars for the side crash test but four stars for rollover resistance and frontal crash simulations. At the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Cherokee received the highest score of Good in four crash tests, but it earned a rating of Marginal in the small overlap front test.

Cherokee Safety Features

A rearview camera and parking sensors come in every Cherokee. Available advanced safety features include automatic high beams, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, rain-sensitive windshield wipers, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, parallel and perpendicular park assist, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.

Read more about safety »

Which Jeep Cherokee Model Is Right for Me?

For 2018, Jeep reshuffled its trim names and features list for the Cherokee. Five trims are available: Latitude, Latitude Plus, Limited, Trailhawk, and Overland. The differences between the first three are related mostly to interior amenities. Each comes with a four-cylinder engine, a nine-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. A V6 engine is available, as is four-wheel drive. The Trailhawk has the same choices between engines and is trail-ready, with four-wheel drive and other off-road components.

If you're looking for the best offering of features for a low price, we recommend the Latitude Plus. For about $2,000 more than the base model, you get an upgraded interior that includes a convenient fold-flat front-passenger seat (for hauling extra-long cargo) and the enhanced Uconnect interface, which comes with an 8.4-inch touch screen, a customizable menu bar, a Wi-Fi hot spot, and satellite radio. More details on each trim level are listed below.

Jeep Cherokee Latitude

For 2018, the Latitude ($24,395) is the new base trim. Cloth upholstery, six-way manual adjustments for the front seats, and a 60/40-split-folding rear seat come standard, along with Jeep's Uconnect infotainment interface, a 5-inch touch screen, a six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, a USB port, a rearview camera, parking sensors, and keyless entry.

Jeep Cherokee Latitude Plus

The Latitude Plus ($26,295) is a new trim level for 2018. Its seats are upholstered in cloth, leather, and vinyl, and it includes power-adjustable front seats and a fold-flat front-passenger seat. Other standard features include an upgraded Uconnect interface, an 8.4-inch touch-screen display, satellite radio, air conditioning, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a proximity key, and push-button start.

Jeep Cherokee Limited

Standard features in the $29,795 Cherokee Limited include Nappa leather upholstery, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power liftgate, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.

Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk

The off-road-ready Cherokee Trailhawk ($30,995) comes with an enhanced four-wheel-drive system, a rear locking differential, an off-road suspension, and five terrain modes (Auto, Snow, Sport, Sand/Mud, and Rock). Several features, such as Nappa leather seats, carry over from the Limited trim.

Jeep Cherokee Overland

Goodies such as heated and ventilated front seats, wood trim, a nine-speaker Alpine premium audio system, and a navigation system are added to the $34,095 Cherokee Overland.

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 2018 Jeep Cherokee specs and trims »

The Final Call

The Jeep Cherokee earns well-deserved praise for its off-roading abilities. It provides an excellent four-wheel-drive experience in an environment that's comfier than a Jeep Wrangler. It's also much less expensive than a Jeep Grand Cherokee. However, a small cargo hold limits its practicality, its base engine is both thirsty and sluggish, and its predicted reliability rating is below average.

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

  • "The 2018 Jeep Cherokee stands out from the competitive small crossover segment thanks to its exceptional off-road ability. That's what Jeeps are known for, particularly in Jeep's Trail Rated Trailhawk trim. Ordered as such, the Cherokee can handle trails better than any other rival. But most shoppers are just looking for a comfortable vehicle to drive every day, and the Cherokee is effective on this front as well. With a supple suspension and a strong V6 engine option, plus an easy-to-use 8.4-inch touchscreen inside, the 2018 Cherokee is prepared for the daily grind." -- Edmunds
  • "The 2017 Jeep Cherokee is among the best reasonably priced crossovers out there. It blazes a trail of its own through the compact SUV world with distinctive styling, a refined ride, a handsome cabin and remarkable off-road talent. There doesn't seem to be anything crossover shoppers are seeking that this Jeep lacks. … Space for rear passengers is good -- the seats are comfortable, and they slide forward and back and recline by a few degrees. Crossover buyers really should take this one for a spin." -- Autotrader (2017)
  • "You'll Like This Car If... If you're looking for a compact SUV that offers a broad range of drivetrains, trim levels and high-end options, the 2017 Jeep Cherokee compact-crossover SUV is unmatched in this segment and even bests some luxury brands. You May Not Like This Car If... Jeep's 2017 Cherokee features some rather untraditional styling. It also has less interior room than a Hyundai Santa Fe Sport or Honda CR-V. Power from the 4-cylinder engine is a bit underwhelming, and Jeep's long-term reliability and resale figures, while improving, still lag behind most Japanese competitors." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
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