With winter in full swing, The Car Guide escapes, albeit for a short time, to sunny California for a first drive program with the mid-cycle refreshed 2019 Jeep Cherokee, recently shown off at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The event takes place in Westlake Village, along the western edge of Los Angeles County in the region known as Conejo Valley. And as one could only guess, we're talking an off-road playground with its fair share of trails, challenges and adventures.
Exterior styling hasn't taken a dramatic turn, except for one noticeable area – its headlights. For the past five model years, the Cherokee's thin squinting dual headlights drew the ire of many Jeep faithful. That's all been altered through a more standard LED appearance, while still keeping things modern through a sleek, pushed-back look.
It's not all about headlights, as the Jeep nameplate is known for its rugged, no-nonsense approach towards styling or the road ahead. Those thoughts will be put to the test with a new 270-hp, 2.0-litre turbo four engine matched to a nine-speed automatic transmission. Weight savings and better fuel efficiency have been a major push for the American brand and that's not lost on this new Cherokee, with its new engine utilizing direct injection methods, as well as automatic engine stop/start technology.
We would expect the new engine to be on hand, but should note the other engines on offer are the 3.2-litre Pentastar V6 and 2.4-litre Tigershark four cylinder that come with the same aforementioned tranny. Fuel economy ratings have not been released, but we'll be able to get real-world data shortly, so stay tuned for this latest Jeep adventure.