The only entry-level compact SUV in Canada that was still available with a V6 has lost its edge for 2023. The Jeep Cherokee is returning with a simplified model lineup including just two trim levels and a pair of four-cylinder engines, not to mention prices that easily exceed $40,000.
The 3.2-litre V6 producing 271 horsepower is gone, meaning the Cherokee can no longer brag about towing up to 4,500 pounds. The Sport, X, North, Limited and Trailhawk Elite models are no more, as well.
- Also: Jeep Grand Cherokee No Longer Available With HEMI V8
- Also: Jeep Cherokee’s Future Now Hanging in the Balance
That leaves Cherokee customers with the Altitude and Trailhawk. The former is exclusively motivated by a naturally aspirated 2.4-litre engine that puts out 180 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque, while the latter benefits from a turbocharged 2.0-litre engine delivering 270 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque for increased performance on and off the road along with towing capability of up to 4,000 pounds. Both are mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive system with multi-mode Selec-Terrain traction control.
Standard content in the Cherokee Altitude and Trailhawk now includes an 8.4-inch infotainment display with navigation and SiriusXM radio. Safety is also enhanced, featuring adaptive cruise control with stop and go, blind spot monitoring with rear-cross path detection, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and parallel and perpendicular park assist. The Trailhawk gets Nappa leather seats, 17-inch black alloy wheels and automatic high-beam headlamps.
At this point, the future of the Jeep Cherokee looks bleak. As we reported in mid-December, the Belvidere, Illinois assembly plant will be indefinitely put on idle on February 28. This is where the Cherokee has been manufactured since 2017. The 1,350 employees at the site will be laid off, with some of them being relocated to other positions as they become available.
A union leader told Reuters that production of the compact SUV—or its replacement—will be moved to Stellantis' manufacturing facility in Toluca, Mexico according to internal company documents.
While the current-generation Cherokee dates back to 2014 and North American sales are down significantly, it would be shocking if Jeep departed the segment.
On the other hand, the company has the slightly smaller Compass, which is fresh from a major upgrade and now gets standard all-wheel drive along with a more powerful engine.
Also, the all-electric Jeep Recon will officially debut later this year and production will start in 2024. We’ll have more details to share about this EV model in a few weeks, so stay in touch.