2019 Jeep Cherokee

Performance


#12 out of 18 in Compact SUVs

$24,795 MSRP
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2019 Jeep Cherokee Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 7.6

The 2019 Jeep Cherokee has a comfortable ride and solid engine upgrades, but its performance on rough terrain is what sets it apart. However, it has an underpowered base engine – especially noticeable during highway driving – and there's some body lean when cornering.

  • "The 2019 Cherokee comes with a choice of three powertrains. The base 2.4-liter Tigershark inline-four and the optional 3.2-liter Pentastar V6 carry over largely unchanged from the previous Cherokee, but new for 2019, a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is available - the same one you'll find under the hood of the JL Wrangler, although without the eTorque mild-hybrid system. The V6 puts out 271 horsepower and 239 pound-feet of torque, which is plenty for pushing the Cherokee up and over the hills near Malibu, and more than enough grunt for quick merges and passes in notoriously hellacious Los Angeles traffic." -- CNET
  • "… the 2019 Cherokee isn't meant to carve canyons. It was designed to be a practical daily driver with more off-road capability than any other vehicle in the segment. And in that regard, the Cherokee delivers. Even in non-Trailhawk form, the Cherokee can do things you wouldn't think about attempting in a Rogue." -- Motor Trend
  • "The refreshed for 2019 Jeep Cherokee is not just a mall crawler, but also a capable mountain tamer too. Try the same trails in a RAV4 or Ford Escape and you'll probably have to call winch-equipped Wrangler for a rescue." -- Automobile Magazine

Acceleration and Power

The Cherokee has a standard 180-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that feels underpowered. It's connected to a nine-speed automatic transmission that delivers languid shifts. You'll want to upgrade to either the new-for-2019 270-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder or the 271-horsepower 3.2-liter V6. The turbo-four delivers quicker acceleration and the best fuel economy estimates of the bunch, at 23 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. The V6 is a suitable option for light towing.

  • … both the turbo and the V-6 offered plenty of power for around-town driving." -- Motor Trend
  • "New to the lineup -- and our new favorite engine in the Cherokee -- is the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder. Delivering 270 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, it finally makes the Cherokee feel spry enough that 'quick' is almost the right word." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Unfortunately, the nine-speed auto's sluggish shifting continues to be a problem. It's reluctant to downshift, especially on hills, and although Sport mode rectifies this to some extent, there are always issues picking a gear. Pairing it with the new turbo-4 doesn't help things, either. When acceleration is demanded, it kicks down at least one gear too many, resulting in a violent punch in the back as short gearing and lots of boost arrive simultaneously. The V6's smooth character seems to fit the nine-speed the best, but really, an entirely different transmission is the answer." -- Autoblog

Handling and Braking

While the Cherokee's numb steering, mushy brakes, and noticeable body lean aren't ideal for performance-minded shoppers, this Jeep is a comfortable daily driver. Its strength, however, lies in its off-road dynamics.

  • Curves start to throw off the Cherokee, as do situations in which acceleration demands are frequent and heavy. The steering, though weighted decently, is numb and lacks precision. It isn't particularly quick, either, and turn-in isn't eager. There's moderate body roll, too, but the Cherokee does manage to stick pretty well and for longer than you would expect." -- Autoblog
  • "Regardless of the engine, the Cherokee never felt especially quick, though, and anyone looking for sporty handling should shop elsewhere. There's too much body roll, not enough tire grip, and the brakes are too spongy to have much fun on a winding canyon road." -- Motor Trend
  • "Of course, the main attribute that sets a Jeep apart from just about all other SUVs is sensational off-road ability. That the Cherokee, which is a crossover engineered for heavier duty 4-wheeling, can tackle challenging off-pavement trails with complete confidence while delivering surprisingly sporty on-road manners speaks to its likeable dual personality." -- New York Daily News
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