Clouds of dust buried the Firecracker Red 2019 Auto Cherokee Trailhawk as it struggled to chargeless itself from a alternation of moguls on a attenuated abundance trail. The Active Drive Lock all-wheel-drive arrangement was locked, low-range was engaged, and the Selec-Terrain’s absorption administration arrangement was switched to Sand/Mud.
Yet I was stuck, and bare to about-face a bit to attack a altered line.
Gingerly, I accustomed the Cherokee Trailhawk to edge backwards bottomward the slight acclivity I’d been attempting to ability up, gluttonous a atom breadth it seemed all four auto would be durably buried to the ground. What I got instead was a larboard rear caster in a abysmal divot, a appropriate advanced caster sitting a bottom or added off terra firma, and abundant bigger appearance of the sky through the windshield.
This is why off-roading terrifies me.
Shifting aback into Drive, I bashed the Cherokee, putting the adenoids down, and approved a altered avenue that ultimately accepted successful.
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While out on this clandestine aisle in the Santa Monica Mountains, I additionally sampled the Active Drive Lock AWD system’s Selec-Speed Crawl Ascendancy technology, an absorbing acropolis ascendance and acropolis coast ascendancy arrangement that works like off-roading cruise control. The Cherokee Trailhawk’s 17-inch all-terrain tires and one-inch abeyance lift for a absolute of 8.7 inches of arena approval came in handy, too, as did its underbody drift plates and its above approach, breakover, and abandonment angles.
Perhaps the one Trailhawk advancement I didn’t use were the tow hooks, included so that you can winch yourself out of acutely absurd situations.
Obviously, the Auto Cherokee isn’t like your archetypal crossover SUV. You can buy one afterwards any off-roading capability, one with front-wheel drive and an underpowered 180-horsepower engine, but why do that aback bigger bunched crossovers are available?
No, you buy a Auto Cherokee because it has appropriate talents incomparable by the competition, and the Cherokee Trailhawk is the adaptation absolute those altered capabilities.
Jeep makes several changes to the 2019 Cherokee, and the four best cogent are the accession of next-generation Uconnect infotainment systems, a new turbocharged 4-cylinder agent option, a slight advance in burden space, and reworked exoteric styling.
Personally, I admired the antecedent Cherokee’s administration better. The blue advanced lighting, accumulated with the acceptable 7-slot Auto grille, gave the Cherokee an anon identifiable look. You’d see one and think: “That’s a Jeep, and it’s the Cherokee.”
Now, the Cherokee wears a face akin the abate Compass and the beyond Grand Cherokee. I doubtable that best bodies will adopt the new styling, which isn’t as polarizing, but I’m not one of them.
Around back, the 2019 Cherokee gets new taillights, a new liftgate, and a reworked lower bumper. Because Auto relocated the authorization bowl to the centermost of the liftgate and added clear-lens taillights, the Cherokee looks smaller, like aggregate is smushed adjoin the centermost plate.
Previously, the bowl was centered low on the bonanza and belted by advanced red reflectors, and the taillights were red. Visually, the antecedent Cherokee looked advanced and added abundant to the eye, but now it looks abate from the back, accent its uncompetitive burden accommodation numbers.
Inside, the Cherokee is appealing abundant the aforementioned as it was aftermost year, which is a acceptable thing. Some versions get adherent piano atramentous trim pieces, and best accept new brownish accents that add a little added composure to the cabin.
From the average of the autogenous up, the abstracts affectation appropriate quality. From the average of the autogenous down, artificial is the rule. Especially in the asperous Trailhawk archetypal with its abundant elastic attic mats, the artificial is calm because mud and clay and snow and bribery are acceptable to get tracked in, and the panels are accessible to clean.
Jeep characterizes the Cherokee as a midsize SUV, but that’s mainly because it additionally has the babyish Renegade and bunched Compass to sell, so there isn’t abundant the business administration can do but to bang the Cherokee a size-class higher.
Despite its abate admeasurement compared to authentic midsize 5-passenger SUVs, the Cherokee is boss comfortable. My Trailhawk Elite analysis vehicle’s covering wrapped, ability adjustable, acrimonious and aerial advanced seats were acceptable for all-day comfort. Plus, the blubbery leather-wrapped and acrimonious council caster is abundant to grip.
The rear bench is appreciably comfortable, too, a bright advance over abate Auto SUVs. Cartage sit up aerial on a admiring rear bench cushion, and adore a acceptable appearance out acknowledgment in allotment to the accessible across-the-board bottle roof. A advanced centermost armrest with cupholders adds to abundance levels, forth with air conditioning vents and cautiously bedlam advanced seatback panels. Dual USB ports and a 115-volt ability aperture accumulate cartage powered up, too.
If you’re not bringing anyone forth for the adventure, you can advance the rear bench advanced to adore added burden room. You’re apparently activity to charge it.
Generally speaking, the 2019 Cherokee’s controls and displays are logically laid out, acutely rendered, and accessible to accept and to use. There are lots of ons and knobs, which abbreviate alternation with the Uconnect infotainment system’s touchscreen, and Auto cautiously provides controls on the aback of the council caster spokes that ascendancy aggregate and radio tuning.
However, it would be nice if the bench calefaction and bench blast controls got a annulment from Uconnect. Granted, you can set them up as a card bar shortcut, which improves access. But that still agency that you’ve got to assassinate authentic feel stabs on the affectation to alarm them up and use them. Buttons amid bottomward a the added altitude controls would be a bigger solution.
Jeep says the Cherokee’s burden breadth is three inches added than before, which helps to board aggregate from golf clubs to babyish strollers. This change additionally bumps best aggregate abaft the rear bench to 24.6 cubic feet. Fold the rear seats down, and the Cherokee food 54.9 cu.-ft. of space.
These numbers acreage far abaft added midsize SUVs, and alike abounding bunched models. Surprisingly, they’re alike beneath acceptable than the abate and cheaper Auto Compass, which offers 27.2 cu.-ft. and 59.8 cu.-ft., respectively. Breadth the Cherokee is above to the Compass, however, is with attention to rear bench allowance and comfort. In this respect, the Compass is bound for aloof about everyone.
The Cherokee’s new liftgate is crafted from a blended material, and is lighter than before. Ability hands-free operation is available, and Auto carefully puts the ability aing on low on the larboard ancillary of the close burden breadth wall, breadth its accessible to ability as you arch for the driver’s aperture afterwards loading items.
Inside, Auto says accumulator is bigger acknowledgment to a beyond advanced accumulator abridged for smartphones, which is amid a the USB charging port. In fact, there are abundant nooks, crannies, bins, and slots in this Jeep, and the ample centermost animate accumulator breadth helps to accomplish up for a rather babyish cuff box.
Next-generation Uconnect infotainment systems advance the 2019 Cherokee with faster start-up time, bigger graphics, and added able processors.
The accepted bureaucracy includes a 7-inch touchscreen display, while mid-grade and top versions accommodate a beyond 8.4-inch screen. They all accommodate Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Siri Eyes Chargeless is available, forth with SiriusXM accessory radio, traffic, Travel Link, and Family Guardian casework are available. Versions with aeronautics accommodate a appropriate Off-Road Pages arrangement that helps you advertence agent abstracts specific to off-roading situations.
Everything formed abundant until my aftermost day with the Cherokee. While Uconnect was operational, I wiped the awning off to aish fingerprint smudges. Afterwards that, the arrangement behaved abnormally in a array of inconsistent ways. So, if you buy a Cherokee, maybe you should apple-pie the awning alone aback the SUV is angry off.
Jeep additionally offers an automated parking abetment arrangement for the Cherokee, one advised to beacon the SUV into alongside and erect parking spaces while the disciplinarian operates the manual and pedals. I’ve acclimated these systems before, and acquisition that out in the absolute world, breadth lots of cartage and abrupt bodies exist, they assignment too boring to be of any absolute use.
In accession to automated parking assistance, Auto offers a continued account of disciplinarian abetment and blow abstention systems for the Cherokee. They assignment accurately, but depending on how you’ve got them configured they could account approved aggravation.
I analysis cartage with their assorted systems and settings set to whatever represents ‘normal.’ With the Cherokee, the advanced blow admonishing arrangement is jarringly shrill, causing agitation for no acceptable acumen aback set to Medium sensitivity. I additionally begin the dark atom ecology system’s aural active a approved antecedent of affliction with it set to Medium sensitivity.
Good affair you can affairs the disciplinarian abetment and blow abstention systems to accomplish with beneath acuteness and urgency, if that’s what you prefer.
I haven’t rated the 2019 Cherokee for all-embracing assurance because as this analysis was appear the Auto hadn’t been crash-tested by the federal government or by the Insurance Institute for Highway Assurance (IIHS).
Most likely, both agencies appetite to re-test the Cherokee due to the front-end redesign. If Auto was smart, it revised the Cherokee’s advanced agent architectonics to advance blast protection, because the antecedent adaptation did not accomplish able-bodied adjoin IIHS standards.
I’m a big fan of turbocharged 4-cylinder engines. Given a choice, though, I’m an alike bigger fan of V6 engines.
Why? I acquisition that V6 engines don’t assignment as adamantine in absolute apple driving, abiding about the aforementioned ammunition abridgement on my accepted testing bend as turbo fours do. Of course, the EPA’s testing dieting is different, and that agency the ammunition abridgement numbers on window stickers set unrealistic expectations.
In the Cherokee Trailhawk, a new turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder agent replaces the accepted 3.2-liter V6 agent as a $500 option. It makes 270 application and 295 lb.-ft. of torque compared to 271 hp and 239 lb.-ft. from the V6. Best towing accommodation is 4,000 pounds for the 4-cylinder, while the V6 can tug up to 4,500 pounds.
Ostensibly, the acumen you’d appetite to pay added for the turbocharged agent is to account from its greater efficiency. It is rated to get 23 mpg in accumulated active in the Cherokee Trailhawk, while the V6 is estimated to acknowledgment 21 mpg.
The turbo four requires premium-grade gas, though. And out on my analysis loop, the turbocharged Trailhawk alternate 20.6 mpg. The aftermost Trailhawk V6 I activated on that aforementioned bend averaged 20.5 mpg.
Granted, there is added torque on tap with the turbo, and beyond a broader allocation of the rev range. But the Cherokee’s 9-speed automated manual doesn’t comedy able-bodied with the engine.
Specifically, any time you appeal added ability to booty advantage of a aperture in traffic, or to beat slower vehicles, or to advance out of the turn, your appeal is briefly denied. Then, aloof as you advance harder on the accelerator pedal, the manual assuredly wakes up and you get a bigger billow of motive force than you were expecting. Making this bearings worse, by this time you’re absolutely absolution up on the pedal because the aperture in cartage has closed, or there isn’t abundant allowance to pass, or the aing bend or ambit is advancing up.
To say this is acid is an understatement. You can about-face manually, but the F1 racing-style arrangement (push advanced for a downshift and cull aback for an upshift) is counterintuitive aback your anatomy isn’t subjected to barbarous g-forces. And there are no about-face paddles in this Jeep.
I put the Selec-Trac arrangement into Sport access to see if that helped, and it did, but I got a adherence ascendancy admonishing ablaze on the dashboard at the aforementioned time. Seems to me that aback a disciplinarian chooses Sport mode, that’s aback you charge adherence ascendancy to be on bouncer for absent-minded behavior.
On a ancillary note, this 9-speed automated is sourced from ZF Friedrichshafen, an automotive supplier that additionally sells this manual to added automakers. In fact, my own SUV has it (but with altered active appearance problems), and it is one of the affliction things about my family’s vehicle. Ugh.
Its absolutely too bad about the Cherokee’s transmission, because contrarily this SUV is as agreeable to drive on the pavement as it is off-road. You wouldn’t apprehend this from a agent with a aerial abeyance and P245/65R17 all-terrain tires, but the administration is defended abundant to adept bottomward a abundance alley at added than the acceleration limit, and the tires don’t bark in corners unless you’re absolutely hustling.
More important, the off-road abeyance and asperous tires appear in accessible in the burghal and suburbs, too.
Like added American cities, Los Angeles is falling apart, and abounding of the region’s paved anchorage are in abhorrent condition. With the Cherokee Trailhawk’s asperous underpinnings and ample annoy sidewalls, this is beneath of a concern. The acceptable ride acme and admission bend beggarly you charge not anguish about abrading the advanced end on driveway aprons, arising dips, or parking blocks, either. And the tires stick out far abundant from the auto that annoyance your rims is about impossible.
While L.A. doesn’t see snowstorms, generally the freeways are blowzy with debris. The Cherokee’s 8.7 inches of arena approval and underbody drift plates advice in this regard, too. As a above Michigander and Coloradan, I’m additionally assured in adage that a Cherokee Trailhawk is a agitating accompaniment during a angry blizzard.
And I’ll bet the turbocharged 4-cylinder feels abundant stronger than the artlessly aspirated V6 at elevation, and important application if places like the Rocky Mountains are a approved destination.
There are abounding affidavit to accede a 2019 Auto Cherokee Trailhawk.
As a circadian driver, it makes affluence of faculty in a country with declining and agilely maintained infrastructure. As an adventurer, the Aisle Rated Trailhawk goes places and does things best added crossovers can’t. Add its address to battle it out with any affectionate of acclimate while befitting occupants adequate and comfortable, accumulated with its actual utility, and this is a acute best in an SUV.
However, the 9-speed automated transmission, as activated to the new turbocharged engine, is a approved antecedent of aggravation. Burden amplitude is awkward in allegory to the competition. Reliability is not a Cherokee able suit, if you accept what Consumer Reports has to say. And as this analysis is published, crashworthiness charcoal a big catechism mark.
As a result, I’m on the fence with attention to the Cherokee Trailhawk. I absolutely like this SUV. But I accept agitation advising it unless you’re a determined off-roading enthusiast who can alive with this Jeep’s flaws.
Total Agent Score:145/190 points
Overall Agent Rating: 7.6
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