The Jeep Cherokee moves into the 2016 model year pretty much the same as the 2015 version.
Buyers will have the choice of a couple of new colors — something called Rhino Clear Coat for the Trailhawk trim and Light Brownstone for all the others — and some tweaks to the steering column, instrument cluster, and front seats.
Cherokees equipped with the 8.4-inch touchscreen get three new features in the UConnect system:
— The drag-and-drop menu bar gives techno-savvy drivers the ability to personalize their vehicles to give them one-button access to features they use the most, including Travel Link and
— Siri Eyes Free capability;
— A Do-Not-Disturb function that routes incoming calls directly to voicemail while also giving the driver the ability to send a prepared response to an incoming call or text message.
And that’s about it. (For a more detailed review of the 2015 version of the Jeep Cherokee, click here or on the link below.)
The base engine on all four trim levels — Sport, Latitude, Trailhawk, and Limited — is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that with 184 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque could be a bit shy when it comes to power. On the other hand, it delivers up to 31 miles-per-gallon on the highway in 4X2 mode using regular fuel.
More suited to the Cherokee is the optional 3.2-liter V6 rated at 271 hp and 239 lb.-ft. of torque that is going to deliver a more satisfying performance without doing too much damage in the way of fuel mileage.
Fuel economy is up to 29 mpg in two-wheel drive configuration and also using 87 octane fuel.
Both engines are mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission.
Three four-wheel drive systems are available depending on how serious you want to get when it comes to taking your Cherokee off-road. Active Drive I is available on Sport, Latitude, and Limited models and requires no input from the driver.
Active Drive II features a low-range mode for more severe off-road conditions and is available on Latitude and Limited trims. The most serious off-roader will want to go for the Trailhawk model that gets the Active Drive Lock as standard with all the features of Active Drive II plus a locking rear differential for more power to handle more daring off-roading ventures.
All the 4X4 systems feature Jeep’s Selec Train system that gives a drive the option of adjusting to road conditions with settings of auto, snow, sport, and sand/mud with the Trailhawk getting an extra rock setting.
The Cherokee’s interior got a serious upgrade in materials when Jeep brought back the nameplate in 2014 after a 13-year absence, making it a much more competitive vehicle in the compact SUV segment. It no longer is the spartan vehicle of the 1990s.
Legroom is particularly generous both for front- and second-row occupants, but comes at a cost in cargo capacity. Maximum stowage is under under 55 cubic feet, quite a bit less from what many of its toughest competitors offer.
Pricing for the base model, the Cherokee Sport, has gone up a bit to $23,990 (including destination and deliver) but the Limited remains at $31,890.
For a look at the Cherokee Limited and some specs, check out the accompanying slide show.