2019 Jeep Cherokee Is a Whole New Animal

Dear Jeep, I recently tested your new 2019 Cherokee model, and I have two words – Thank You! The redesign has addressed many of the styling issues folks have not been shy about rendering opinions on, and that new engine with the turbocharger on it? Fuhgeddaboudit!

2019 Jeep Cherokee/Images courtesy Jeep

While not a complete makeover, Jeep has given the 2019 Cherokee significant upgrades. New fascia, hood, LED headlamps and more up front and a new lightweight, handsfree power liftgate at the rear. A redesign of the rear cargo area offers more storage space, suspension enhancements, and did I mention a new turbocharged engine?

“A stunning, more premium design and the addition of our new fuel-efficient 2.0-liter turbo engine make the new 2019 Jeep Cherokee even more desirable in the mid-size SUV segment,” said Mike Manley, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA Global. “In addition, Cherokee builds on its benchmark 4×4 capability and on-road dynamics with refinement and style, a host of new attributes, powertrains, and the latest technology that is perfectly situated for consumers worldwide.”

The new styling brings this model in line with the rest of the Jeep family and is no longer polarizing in acceptance. Inside and out, the 2019 Cherokee looks, well, like nearly every other crossover in its segment. But with the popularity of those models, Jeep has positioned itself much better in the marketplace, not only in the U.S. but in global markets as well. Not once during my week behind the wheel did I have someone come up to render an opinion on the Cherokee as they have with the previous generations – and that’s a good thing.

The suspension upgrades offer a more enjoyable ride both on-road and off, and while the chassis feels more solid it never delivers an unpleasant experience. The vehicle is easy to drive, almost effortless, and handles quite well with little roll or bounce. Things are nicely quiet and there is seating for up to five adults. Our tester included leather interior, but as we were enjoying the last few days of summer (and the summer heat), I would have preferred cloth or ventilated seating. This model arrived in 4×4 running gear so it was also complete with Jeep’s Selec-Terrain traction control system that allows drivers to match vehicle performance with driving conditions be it Auto, Snow, Sport, Sand/Mud, or Rock.

For me, the highlight of the new Cherokee is this new 2.0-liter direct injection turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine (but you can keep the automatic stop/start technology). This powerplant is good for 270hp and 295 lb. ft. of torque. It is silky smooth with almost no turbo whine and brings new life to the model. It is mated to the corporate nine-speed automatic gearbox that offers manual shift mode. Acceleration is outstanding, and passing slower vehicles seems effortless, if not automatic.

Pricing for the 2019 Jeep Cherokee begins at $24,195 for the Latitude FWD model with our Latitude Plus 4×4 rolling in with a final window sticker of $34,220. Fuel economy for the new turbo motor is 21 mpg city and 29 mpg highway in 4WD running gear.

My hat is off to Jeep for the improvements made to the 2019 Cherokee. Jeep is on a roll for the Fiat Chrysler Automotive group, and sales are higher than ever. It appears they may be learning from their mistakes and addressing issues that plagued the brand just a few short years ago. They fixed Compass last year, and now it is Cherokee’s turn. If you are shopping this segment, be sure to check out the 2019 Jeep Cherokee before making any final decisions.

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About the Author

David Goodspeed
David was editor of AutoworldToday at Today Newspapers in the Dallas suburbs until its closing in 2009. He was also webmaster and photographer/videographer. He got started doing photography for the newspaper while working as a firefighter/paramedic in one of his towns, and began working for the newspaper group full-time in 1992. David entered automotive journalism in 1998 and became AutoworldToday editor in 2002. On the average, he drives some 100 new vehicles each year. He enjoys the great outdoors and as an avid fly fisherman, as is his spouse Tish. He especially enjoys nature photography and is inspired by the works of Ansel Adams.