In case any of you have been living off the grid for the past few years, the Jeep Cherokee is back. Jeep brought the familiar nameplate back to the midsize SUV segment to replace the Liberty model they shuttered a few years ago.
As I quickly found out during my time with the Cherokee, observers are not afraid of rendering opinions on its styling. These are some of the most extreme comments on vehicle design I have experienced in my years of reviewing new vehicles, from true passion that led to ownership, to almost hostile disdain.
Personally, I lean toward the favorable side of the issue, especially after driving several new Cherokee models that have graced our test driveway in recent years. Most recently we spent time with the 2017 Jeep Cherokee Limited 4×4 model that was loaded to the gills with extras.
Before I get into the specifics of this tester, let’s take a look at the basic Cherokee architecture. Jeep delivers Cherokee on a global Fiat Chrysler Automobiles platform originally shared with the now-discontinued Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 sedans. It arrives in front- or four-wheel drive configurations and features the corporate nine-speed automatic transmission. Cherokee is powered by the global 2.4-liter Tigershark MultiAir 2 I-4 engine (delivering 184hp and 171 lb. ft. of torque in this application) or the 3.2-liter Pentastar V-6 at 271hp and 239 lb. ft. of torque. Our tester featured the latter that offered excellent acceleration and good power across the rpm range.
Jeep gives Cherokee an independent MacPherson strut suspension up front and an independent multi-link suspension under the rear. Cherokee features electronic power steering system that is tuned for optimal steering effort at all speeds. While we could tell we were driving a 4×4 utility vehicle (due to the periodic bounce) the vehicle exhibits good on-road manners with respectable handling and a quiet driving experience.