Now that the Jeep Compass has been redesigned to become a more refined and competitive model in the compact SUV segment, it was time for its slightly bigger brother to gain some enhancements as well.
The 2019 Jeep Cherokee will debut at the Detroit Auto Show, and although it doesn’t get a full redesign, the SUV does benefit from significant updates both inside and out.
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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles gave us a glimpse of the Cherokee last month, the most popular SUV in its lineup, which boasts a front end that more closely resembles the classic Jeep look. LED lighting is used for the headlights, fog lamps and taillights, while new paint colours and alloy wheel designs are also available. The reshaped tailgate is lighter and the option power assistance gains hands-free operation. The Overland variant also gets chromed tow hooks and 19-inch polished wheels.
The Cherokee’s cockpit has been revised as well with two new colour themes, and the brand says higher-quality and soft-touch materials have been used in the new design. The centre console front storage bin is bigger for storing portable devices closer to the USB port. Upscale comfort and convenience features such as a dual-pane sunroof, heated and ventilated front seats and a heated steering wheel are still available depending on the chosen trim level and option packages. The cargo area has been reshaped, now offering more than three inches in width. Cargo volume rises from 697 to more than 765 litres with the rear seatbacks in place.
The fourth generation of FCA’s Uconnect information systems are now on board. Buyers will have a choice between 7.0- or 8.4-inch screens, the latter being available with or without navigation. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration is included in all systems. The company claims faster start-up times and improved processing power.
The 2.4-litre four-cylinder, which now develops 180 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque, remains the base powerplant. A 3.2-litre V6 with 271 horsepower and 239 pound-feet is still available, too, providing the 2019 Jeep Cherokee with a class-leading towing capacity of up to 2041 kg (4500 lbs.). Both feature an automatic start/stop system.
However, a new turbocharged, 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine will also be offered, which features direct injection and automatic start/stop, producing 270 hp and 295 lb.-ft. Since it’s about as powerful and has more torque than the V6, the company is probably planning to phase out the latter in the near future, as the Cherokee is the only FCA model that gets it anyhow.
Jeep points out that the nine-speed automatic transmission matched to all three engines has been upgraded with new software, and “delivers new benefits, including aggressive launches, smooth power delivery at highway speeds and improved fuel efficiency versus a six-speed automatic transmission.”
Three four-wheel drive systems are available in the 2019 Cherokee. The base Jeep Active Drive I system has been redesigned with a weight savings of 17 pounds and improved efficiency. The Jeep Active Drive II system has been recalibrated, while the Trailhawk-exclusive Jeep Active Drive Lock is unchanged.
Pricing has not yet been set, but the 2019 Jeep Cherokee will arrive in Canadian dealerships in the first quarter of 2018, available in Latitude, Latitude Plus, Limited, Overland and Trailhawk trim levels.