SUM UP (3 Stars)

By Automobile Magazine

What's New for Cherokee in 2015

Jeep Cherokee models with the 3.2-liter V-6 gain engine start/stop technology, and forward collision warning plus is introduced. Other changes address packaging availability...
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Vehicle Overview

The Jeep Cherokee is a midsize SUV that seats five and fits above the Compass, Patriot, and Renegade compact crossovers, but below the Grand Cherokee in the automaker's lineup.

Summary

The 2015 Jeep Cherokee can be had in front-wheel drive, or with one of three four-wheel-drive systems. The Active Drive I is an on-demand system, which can disengage the rear prop shaft for greater fuel economy, and comes with hill descent control and Selec-Terrain, with different terrain modes. Active Drive II adds a two-speed transfer case with low range. The Trailhawk gets a unique system called Active Drive Lock, which adds a locking rear differential and low-speed speed control.

The 2015 Cherokee's base engine is the same 2.4-liter I-4 found in the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200, which makes 184 hp and 171 lb-ft of torque and gets paired to a nine-speed automatic. We noted that the combination is well suited for the 200, but is ill-matched for the much heavier Cherokee. EPA-estimated fuel economy ranges: 22/31 mpg city/highway with FWD; 21/28 mpg with Active Drive I 4WD; 21/27 mpg with Active Drive II 4WD; and 19/25 mpg on the Trailhawk with Active Drive Lock. We recommend opting for the 3.2-liter V-6 that makes 271 hp and 239 lb-ft of torque, which also gets paired with the nine-speed automatic. EPA-estimated fuel economy: 21/29 mpg in FWD trim; 20/28 mpg with Active Drive I 4WD; 19/26 mpg with Active Drive II 4WD; and 19/26 mpg with Active Drive Lock on the Trailhawk.

Some of the most notable features on the 2015 Jeep Cherokee include: three available 4WD systems, parking assist for parallel and perpendicular parking, and a forward collision warning plus that can stop the vehicle in low-speed crash situations.

The 2015 Jeep Cherokee received a four-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars), and in IIHS testing received four ratings of good (the highest possible rating is good).

What We Think

We ordered a 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited with 4WD and the V-6 in a Four Seasons test to try out the controversial new SUV. Ours got the Active Drive I 4WD system, which we mildly tested during a rainstorm and down a dirt trail: it performed flawlessly. At the press introduction of the new Cherokee we drove the Trailhawk in Moab (the famous trail, and longtime proving ground of Jeeps of any vintage), and sampled the best of the 4WD systems, which will not disappoint despite the new Cherokee's car-based roots. Enthusiasts wondered about the new Jeep, and its transformation into a more docile crossover, a worry the Trailhawk edition has assuaged.

The more pedestrian Limited we have in our Four Seasons fleet is well-suited for the urban-only duties that most owners will subject it to, with one annoying niggle: the nine-speed transmission can be jerky and has caused multiple editors to spill their coffee. The transmission also exhibits a reluctance to shift – either up or down – making the Cherokee feel slower than it might otherwise be. A tech bulletin is said to update the software and alleviate the problems we're seeing. The interior is well appointed, and the ergonomics are simple. We also recommend sticking to the V-6 models, as the I-4 is underpowered in the Cherokee.

You’ll Like

  • Trailhawk for off-roading
  • Quiet interior
  • Trailhawk has mini-Grand Cherokee feel

You Won’t Like

  • Nine-speed automatic shifts are rough
  • V-6 models get poor fuel economy
  • High floor compromises some space with rear seats up

Key Competitors

  • Ford Escape
  • Mazda CX-5
  • Chevrolet Equinox
  • Nissan Xterra
  • Toyota RAV4

Rating

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