2019 Jeep Cherokee Overland 4x4 Review

The Grand Cherokee isn't the only upscale Jeep


Wade Thiel, Senior Staff Writer



Positives: Comfortable seats, high-quality materials, excellent infotainment, improved exterior styling, and a strong turbocharged engine.
Negatives: Overland trim price puts you in Grand Cherokee range, some torque steer, a little bit of turbo lag, transmission can be slow to downshift.
Bottom Line: The refreshed 2019 Cherokee was massaged into a new and more attractive form with exterior and interior updates as well as an improved powertrain lineup. It's better than the 2018 model in basically every way, but competitors drive better.
For the 2019 model year, Jeep decided to revise its well-known Cherokee to make it fit in better with the rest of its lineup. The company left what people loved about the KL Cherokee that was introduced in 2013, and changed what people didn’t like. The most noticeable change is the front end. Gone are the funky headlights. Jeep replaced them with a more conventional configuration. The front of the vehicle wasn’t the only thing that changed, though, and we got to spend a whole week with the model to experience what it's all about. Read on for the full review.
 

Driving Experience

7.8

 

The Jeep Cherokee isn’t a sporty crossover, but it does a good job on the road of providing a comfortable and at times fun driving experience. While some competitors offer a more engaging drive, the Cherokee is still satisfying.

Ride Quality: The model is smooth over bumps and gaps in the road. The suspension soaks up imperfections with ease.

Acceleration: The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder can make the model sprint from 0-60 mph in under seven seconds. We did notice a slight hesitation of the 9-speed transmission to kick down a gear or two when passing on the highway.

Braking: The pedal feel for the brakes on the Cherokee is progressive, and the brakes feel strong.

Steering: The steering is precise and properly weighted, but it lacks road feel.

Handling: The Cherokee does experience body roll in the corners, but it’s not terrible and the vehicle holds the road pretty well for a non-sporty crossover.

Technology

9

 

FCA has one of the best infotainment systems in the business, and the 2019 Jeep Cherokee gets the company’s latest version. Jeep might be best-known for its rugged machines, but its models have some seriously good tech.

Infotainment System: The 8.4-inch touchscreen makes accessing all of Uconnect’s various features easy, from Apple Carplay and Android Auto to Navigation or Bluetooth connectivity. It’s all right at your fingertips and the system responds quickly and functions smoothly.

Controls: The touchscreen is perfectly placed for ease of use, but we found the volume and tune knobs to be lower on the dash than we wanted.

Styling

8.2

 

The 2019 model year marks a shift for the Cherokee back to a more conventional look. We approve of the change, but we'd finally grown used to the funky headlight configuration the model used to have. We think customers will respond well to the changes Jeep has made.

Front: The front features Jeep’s corporate grille and a headlight configuration that brings the model in line with the Compass and Grand Cherokee. Finally, the Cherokee fits in.

Rear: The rear was made less bulbous, and it's much more attractive thanks to a pushed out liftgate and revised taillights.

Profile: From the side, the Cherokee looks a little longer than it actually feels. It keeps the overall shape that’s common for crossovers, but the character lines and fender flares help it stand out.

Cabin: The cabin is clean but far too dark for our liking. There's a lot of bulk, too. One thing we didn’t care for was the turkey-leg shaped shifter. It seemed a little too large and a more elegant design would do a lot to spruce up the cabin.

Comfort

8.6

 

The Overland trim level of the Cherokee takes things up a couple notches when it comes to comfort. There are a lot more soft-touch materials and the seating surfaces are improved along with a few other amenities.

Front Seats: The perforated, leather-clad heated and ventilated power-adjustable front seats provide plenty of support and decent bolstering, keeping you comfy for hours.

Rear Seats: The heated rear seats provide the same material and comparable levels of support. Leg, hip, and headroom were more than adequate.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The Cherokee surprised us with how quiet it was. The model is very refined, and we noticed no errant noises. The turbocharged engine does make itself heard when you really get on the gas, though.

Visibility: Seeing out of the vehicle is easy in all directions. The rear-view camera helps when reversing in tight situations, but overall the model’s visibility is on par or better than the competition.

Climate: The HVAC system was powerful and worked quickly. The heated seats were also very good, and the heated steering wheel surprised us by heating up all the way around even though the Overland model comes with a wooden steering wheel.

Safety

6.5

 

The Jeep Cherokee has earned very respectable rankings for safety in the past from the government and the IIHS. Because this is a refreshed model, we’d expect similar levels of safety and perhaps improved ratings. It scored above average with us due to its long list of standard and optional safety features.

IIHS Rating: Not yet rated.

NHTSA Rating: Not yet rated.

Standard Tech: There is a good amount of standard safety tech on the 2019 Cherokee Overland, including blind spot monitoring with cross-path detection, rear park-assist with stop, backup camera, hill start assist, stability control, and traction control.

Optional Tech: Our tester also came with the Technology p\Package, which included adaptive cruise control with stop and go, advanced brake assist, full-speed collision warning with crash mitigation, lane departure warning, and parallel and perpendicular park/unpark with stop system.

Storage/Cargo

7.3

 

The Cherokee has a good amount of storage space inside the cabin, and its cargo space is bigger than it was before. Jeep managed to redesign the liftgate of the model to give it a little more room in the back. Overall, it’s a very practical crossover.

Storage Space: There’s a decent amount of space under the center armrest and there’s a small cubby in front of the shifter for keys, a wallet, or your phone. Behind the shifter are two cup holders and a clever slot for a phone that works quite well.

Cargo Room: The Jeep Cherokee offers 26.8 cubic feet of storage space with all the seats in place and 54.7 cubic feet of storage space with the second row folded. That’s a respectable amount, but some competitors, like the Honda CR-V and the Mazda CX-5 beat it.

Fuel Economy

7.8

 

The turbocharged four-cylinder does a pretty good job of conserving gasoline on the highway and around town. We saw numbers pretty close to the EPA estimates during our week with the model.

Observed: 27.8 mpg

Distance Driven: 527 miles

Driving Factors: We drove a lot of miles on the highway with a few shorter drives in the city with heavy traffic. We tried to drive the vehicle regularly and not be too heavy or conservative with the throttle.

Audio

8.6

 

The 9-speaker stereo system with a subwoofer provided good quality sound to all areas of the cabin, but we expected a system with this many speakers to be a little crisper at high volume. It is a major upgrade over the standard 6-speaker unit.



Final Thoughts

The Jeep Cherokee is a pleasure in the Overland trim level. It feels upscale without paying a luxury crossover price. The model is plenty powerful enough for most people, features a quality 4x4 system, and it looks better than the previous model year. If you’re in the market for an upscale Jeep but don’t want to go all the way to the Grand Cherokee, the Cherokee Overland is the way to go.

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