If you’re in the market for a family SUV but you’re finding the fan favourites like the Mazda CX-5, Hyundai Tucson and the Toyota RAV4 a little bland, the Jeep Cherokee might be the perfect option for you and the family. The American option is billed as the go-to choice for buyers looking for something with both the family and adventure in mind, providing a comfortable platform for school runs and daily driving, while out-performing its major rivals when the road stops and the off-roading starts.
The question remaining, then, is just how good is the Jeep Cherokee when it comes to performing as both a reliable and family-friendly SUV, as well as a capable off-road adventurer. Let’s find out.
Starting Price: $50,450
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Jeep Cherokee (SPORT) Specifications
|Fuel type||UNLEADED PETROL|
|Transmission||9 SP AUTOMATIC|
|Engine configuration||VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM / 16 valves|
|Engine RPM||6400 / 3900|
|Fuel tank size||60.0|
|Fuel usage specs||8.5 / 0.0|
|ANCAP security rating||4|
For more details and other variants, check Jeep Cherokee car page.
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How Much Does It Cost?
The Jeep Cherokee lineup kicks off from $50,450 for the entry-level Jeep Cherokee Limited all-wheel drive, while opting for the Cherokee Trailhawk four-wheel drive brings the price tag up to $53,150. Finally, the range-topping Cherokee S-Limited all-wheel drive is priced from $53,150. Keep in mind these prices are subject to change and do not include on-road costs.
The Jeep Cherokee Limited and Trailhawk variants can be optioned with a dual-pane panoramic sunroof at a cost of $2,200.
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What Features Does the Jeep Cherokee Have?
The entry-level Jeep Cherokee Limited comes riding on a set of 18-inch alloy wheels, and receives an adaptive cruise control system, automatic headlights, powered boot lift, keyless entry & start, semi-autonomous parking assistance, leather upholstery with powered front seats with heating and ventilation, Jeep’s Active Drive all-wheel drive system, privacy glass and a 8.4-inch infotainment system with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and satellite navigation, paired with a nine-speaker Alpine sound system.
Moving up to the Trailhawk variant adds a number of off-roading elements, including a set of 17-inch alloy wheels, red tow hooks, active drive lock 4x4 system and terrain-select system, upgraded off-road suspension package, 4x4 transfer case, locking rear differential with hill descent control, skid plates underneath the body, Trailhawk seats inside, as well as weather-proof floor mats and some exterior styling tweaks.
Opting for the Cherokee S-Limited variant adds a number of exterior and interior upgrades, including a set of 19-inch alloys, premium leather upholstery with Tungsten contrast stitching, a dual-pane sunroof, and a modified front grille, set of roof rails and unique S-Limited bading and unique side-window surrounds.
Jeep Active Drive all-wheel drive system
8.4-inch infotainment system with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay & satellite navigation
Nine-speaker Alpine sound system
Powered boot lift
Power adjustable front seats with heating and ventilation
Adaptive cruise control
Keyless entry & start
Semi-autonomous park assistance
19-inch alloys (S-Limited)
Panoramic sunroof (S-Limited)
Premium leather upholstery with Tungsten contrast stitching (S-Limited)
Active Drive Lock 4x4 system (Trailhawk)
Off-road suspension package (Trailhawk)
Transfer case (Trailhawk)
Locking rear differential (Trailhawk)
Red tow hooks (Trailhawk)
Trailhawk seats with red stitching and all-weather floor mats (Trailhawk)
Jeep Cherokee Colours
|Bright White||Diamond Black|
|Pearl White||Granite Crystal|
|Velvet Red||Olive Green|
|Billet Silver||Light Brownstone|
Is it Comfortable to Drive?
While Jeep’s marketing materials might showcase the Cherokee’s off-road pedigree, when you stay within the confines of the urban jungle, it’s an extremely pleasant and comfortable place to sit. Power is supplied by a V6 engine that offers 200kW/315Nm which, translated back to English, means that you’ve got significantly more power at your disposal than the majority of the Cherokee’s competitors. This makes the process of getting up to speed from a set of lights or picking up pace onto a highway a simple task, with a heap of power available to the driver from low down in the rev range.
Power is thrown to the wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission, which isn’t quite as sharp as some of the other transmissions on the market, but it is undeniably smooth. This engine and transmission combination means that the Cherokee is effortless and relaxing to drive, picking up speed without hesitation in a smooth, fairly refined manner that offers a user-friendly driving experience for even those new to midsize SUVs. The only downside to the engine on offer in the Cherokee is the fuel economy, which we’ll cover later in this review.
Driving around town, the Cherokee is supremely comfortable thanks to Jeep’s soft and forgiving suspension system which, in the off-roader Trailhawk model, offers an even more buttery ride quality. All Cherokee variants retain the ability to glide over irregularities on the road and navigate their way over potholes and rough surfaces without transmitting the majority of the disturbance back into the cabin. This means that the Cherokee is a comfortable and quiet place to sit, making long journeys more relaxing thanks to its insulated cabin. This comfortable suspension setup does translate to a noticeable amount of body roll when you’re moving through the corners than something like a CX-5 or a RAV-4, however, the comfort benefits far outweigh how it performs when thrown into a corner too fast.
All up, then, the Cherokee is a confident and comfortable car to pilot around town, and becomes even more relaxing on long journeys thanks to its quiet, insulated cabin and the ample amounts of power you have at your disposal.
Is the Jeep Cherokee Capable Off-Road?
While the entry-level Jeep Cherokee variants are undeniably more capable than their major competitors when it comes to off-roading, if you’re serious about heading to the hills, you’d be best served by the Trailhawk variant. The Trailhawk receives off-road tuned suspension, a transfer case for the transmission, an upgraded terrain select system and a locking rear differential, all of which combine for a much more capable off-roader that far outpaces what’s on offer in the rest of the segment, without upgrading to something like a Land Rover Discovery, which is significantly more expensive. As a result, the Cherokee glides up steep inclines and navigates loose terrain confidently, and when you consider just how capable it is on the road, it’s off-road pedigree becomes even more impressive.
Is it Practical and Spacious?
One of the first things that you’ll notice when stepping inside the Cherokee’s cabin is the sheer amount of features and premium finishes on offer for its reasonable sticker price. The front of the cabin receives a largely black finish, with the infotainment system flanked by large air vents and the wheel laden with buttons. One of the most noticeable things about the Cherokee’s cabin compared to its major rivals is the elevated seat position, as well as the plush soft touch finishes on offer, which make the cabin feel like a more premium offering, although some of the switchgear and buttons are beginning to show their age.
The driver and front passenger are treated to a comfortable set of seats, with a heap of adjustment in the steering column to get the perfect driving position. There’s not a huge amount of headroom inside the cabin, although the seat can, of course, be adjusted for taller drivers. The doors receive the usual set of bins for water bottles and loose items, while the storage on offer in the centre console is significantly less than what you’d find in the Cherokee’s major rivals. It makes up for this lack of space in the front of the cabin with a sizable amount of storage in the armrest, but overall, the lack of practical touches does shine through when put under the microscope.
Moving to the rear of the cabin and you’ll find a comfortable bench seat with ISOFIX anchor points and top tether mounts for child seats, as well as small door bins for bottles, air conditioning vents, two USB ports and a folding armrest with cup holders for those in the second row. All up, the legroom on offer in the Cherokee matches a number of its competitors, but it definitely doesn’t lead the pack when it comes to head room. There’s enough space for tall passengers in the rear cabin, although the cramped nature of the second row can present itself on longer drives for tall rear passengers. Thankfully, the second row is able to slide back and forth, allowing passengers to get some extra legroom, or slide forward to allow for more cargo space in the boot.
On that note, the Jeep Cherokee has a boot rated at 514L, which matches what’s on offer in a number of its key competitors, and expands to a sizable 1,555L with the second row folded down. While the Cherokee might not be the all-round practicality winner for the midsize SUV segment, it’s worth noting that Jeep squeezes a full-sized spare tyre under the boot floor while a number of its competitors include a space saver spare.
Is it Safe?
The Jeep Cherokee was awarded a five star safety rating when it was tested by ANCAP back in 2016, scoring 15.16 out of 16 for front impacts and 16 out of 16 for side impacts; ANCAP rated the whiplash protection as good, and the pedestrian protection as acceptable. The latest Jeep Cherokee range comes packaged with a number of active safety technologies as standard, including autonomous emergency braking with collision warnings, lane keep assistance and lane departure warnings, rear cross-traffic alerts and blind-spot monitoring.
This means that the Cherokee comes packaged with the most important aspects of an advanced driver assistance systems, and lacks no significant technologies that its competitors receive, making it a perfectly safe family SUV.
Is it Fuel Efficient?
While a number of the Cherokee’s main rivals utilise turbocharged four-cylinder engines for their family SUV lineups, Jeep has actually moved away from smaller engines and installed a fairly large capacity V6 into the Cherokee. This means that while there are power advantages, the Cherokee is not a fuel efficient family SUV when compared to its main competitors.
Jeep claims a 9.8L per 100km figure for its Limited and S-Limited variants, while the Trailhawk is rated at 10.2L per 100km. We found the manufacturer’s claimed economy figures hard to match, which means you’re likely to see permanent double-digit fuel economy figures from your regular driving.
Our Verdict: Is the Jeep Cherokee Worth it?
While it might not be the most conventional of choices for Australian families looking for a comfortable and practical family SUV, the Jeep Cherokee is an undeniably attractive value for money proposition. While entry-level variants might have higher sticker prices than their competitors, the sheer amount of equipment and features that Jeep throws into its entry and mid-level Cherokees more than justifies the price.
As a family SUV, the Cherokee offers effortless acceleration, comfortable suspension and a large, family-friendly platform that is more than up for the task of serving your family. While it might not have been your first choice, the latest Cherokee is more than deserving of a spot on your shortlist for a mid size family SUV. On that note, if you’re in the market for a new car, you can get a free quote and see how much OnlineAuto can save you on your next car, or call us on 1300 719 925
Five Specs You Need to Know
Five-year/100,000km warranty with five years of capped price servicing
Service intervals are rated at 12-months or 12,000km
V6 petrol engine fitted across the Cherokee range
Boot space of 514L with full-sized spare tyre under the floor
Five star ANCAP safety rating (2016)
Comprehensive features list for sticker price
Off-road ability paired with on-road refinement
Economy figures from the V6 petrol unit
Not the most spacious family SUV
Soft suspension adds to body roll in corners
OnlineAuto Rating: 7.5/10
Jeep Cherokee Competition
|Jeep Grand Cherokee|