4x4Car Reviews

2019 Jeep Cherokee Limited Review

Dan DeGasperi’s 2019 Jeep Cherokee Limited Review With Pricing, Specs, Performance, Ride And Handling, Safety, Verdict And Score.

In A Nutshell Facelifted with new headlights and grille, this more handsome Cherokee Limited still delivers a big exterior and large V6 for the price of rival four cylinders…

2019 Jeep Cherokee Limited Specifications

Price $46,950+ORC Warranty five-years, 100,000km Safety 5 stars Engine 3.2-litre petrol V6 Power 200kW at 6500rpm Torque 315Nm at 4300rpm Transmission nine-speed automatic Drive all-wheel drive Dimensions 4651mm (L) 1859mm (W) 1683mm (H) 2707mm (WB) Kerb Weight 1806kg Fuel Tank 60L Spare full-size steel Towing 2200kg Thirst 9.8L/100km claimed combined, 11.8L/100km tested

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ACCORDING to the American-Indian tribe of the same name, the word Cherokee translates to ‘those who live in the mountains’. For a while now it has hinted that Jeep’s medium SUV, in this case the latest 2019 Jeep Cherokee Limited, is more than just another soft-roader, but rather an actual four-wheel drive.

For the first time in four years, however, the Jeep Cherokee has been given a facelift, yet its focus hasn’t been on anything more than improving its previously-challenging looks, boosting active safety equipment and leveraging in new infotainment technology. None of which is really needed up in the mountains, but certainly around town where many will live.

Even more so, this equal-flagship Cherokee Limited crams in more luxury than before, together with a more sophisticated all-wheel drive system than most, a powerful petrol V6 in a class of four-cylinder engines, and wraps it all within body dimensions larger than most.

Yet here’s the kicker – this Jeep costs no more than the flagships of the Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5 and Nissan X-Trail which, in that order, are the most popular medium SUVs on-sale.

What’s The Price And What Do You Get?

There’s good reason to refer to the Cherokee Limited as an ‘equal-flagship’ as above. While buyers can choose from two very different entry-level model grades – the front-wheel drive, 2.4-litre petrol four-cylinder Sport at $35,950 plus on-road costs, or the all-wheel drive, 3.2-litre petrol V6 Longitude at $41,950+ORC – buyers have two distinct choices at the summit.

Basically a Longitude only with extra luxuries, such as 18-inch alloy wheels (up from 17s), leather trim, heated and ventilated front seats, automatic up/down high-beam and adaptive cruise control, this chrome-tinted Limited asks $5000 more at $46,950+ORC.

Although $2500 more expensive again, the black-pack $48,590+ORC Trailhawk actually misses out on the above five luxuries. However, it adds a more serious all-wheel drive system, hill-descent control, a locking rear differential, raised suspension for greater ground clearance (from 185mm to 221mm), extra underbody protection plus front recovery hooks.

Both Limited and Trailhawk do share a larger 8.4-inch (versus 7.0in) touchscreen with satellite navigation, nine-speaker Alpine audio and automatic reverse-park assistance over the Longitude, in addition to the keyless auto-entry with push-button start, electric tailgate, electrically adjustable front seats, and dual-zone climate control it already has standard. But it’s clear that, as equal flagships, one heads for the ‘burbs and the other for the mountains.

What’s The Interior And Practicality Like?

At 4651mm long, 1859mm wide and 1683mm tall, the Cherokee is one of the largest medium SUVs. An X-Trail is longer (4690mm), taller (1740mm), but narrower (1820mm), while CX-5 (4550mm/1840mm/1675mm) and RAV4 (4605mm/1845mm/1715mm) fall short.

This Limited might not be able to deliver the box-like roominess of the Nissan and Toyota in particular, but it’s streets ahead for cabin design and semi-premium appointments, siding closer to the Mazda in these respects. Its front seats are cushy but not hugely supportive, and the same is true for a back seat that has a short squab and only decent legroom.

Of greater concern is the limited headroom when equipped with the panoramic sunroof, forcing riders any taller than about 178cm to recline the backrest.

Jeep claims a huge 781-litre boot volume, but this is measured to the roof and not the parcel shelf as rivals – 442L Mazda, 565L Nissan, 577L Toyota – do. In reality, the luggage area looks the same as the latter pair, with a nicely square space and simple 60:40 split-fold capability. The rear seat slides forwards or backwards to enable an owner to crimp legroom and expand boot space, or vice versa – ideal for when baby seats and prams are involved.

What Are The Controls And Infotainment Like?

This is where the Cherokee Limited makes up ground. With the exception of some differing button weight and a slightly blocky design for all the climate and trip computer dials, this model grade otherwise goes a long way to feeling high-end with its screens and systems.

The 8.4-inch touchscreen is sizeable and slick, instantly reacting to a finger-press and with menus that are plainly simple and entirely intuitive. Yet the graphics are also clear, even quirky, and presented in high resolution. It’s a nice complement to the 7.0in driver display.

About the only thing that is missing is wireless smartphone charging, which none of the aforementioned rivals have – only a similarly priced Hyundai Tucson Highlander gets it.

Otherwise the Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone mirroring syncs easily, via two USB ports up front, while another duo of fast-charge ports are placed on the back of the centre console for rear riders. Alternatively, there is a digital radio and Jeep’s integrated nav complete with a superb voice control that allows for destination address entry in one simple sentence.

What’s The Performance Like?

This is where Cherokee becomes mountain-conqueror. With 202kW of power at 6500rpm and 315Nm of torque at 4300rpm, the 3.2-litre petrol V6 ousts the RAV4, X-Trail and CX-5, all of which conform to a 2.5-litre capacity and four cylinders. The latter is the most powerful of them, with 140kW/252Nm, yet all flagships cost within $2000 of this Jeep…

To be fair, this medium SUV is also a heavyweight at 1806kg, where all the others figure it at 1600kg to 1670kg. It doesn’t take the shine of a supremely smooth and potent powerplant, which thanks also to a nine-speed automatic can claim a strong 7.5-second 0-100km/h time.

However, it certainly does like a drink. Where four-cylinder rivals unanimously claim combined-cycle fuel usage of less than 8.5 litres per 100 kilometres – sometimes sub-8L – this big American engine slurps 9.8L/100km officially, but 11.8L/100km on test.

With a 60L fuel tank, that makes for a 500km range, at best. The engine’s a real charmer, though, and much nicer than all the other weedy fours. If only the auto was a bit quicker and more decisive to respond – in undemanding conditions it’s fluent, but ask for full-throttle kickdown and it labours, which is ridiculous when there are nine gears to pick from.

What’s It Like On The Road?

Popular contenders don’t often make the best contenders – think McDonald’s in relation to food – and certainly here the best medium SUV models to drive on the road are the CX-5 and also Hyundai Tucson. The Cherokee Limited can’t quite reach the standards of those models in terms of ride quality or handling prowess, but it gets closer than RAV4/X-Trail.

Its suspension is generally comfortable, but it can feel a bit stiff-legged on some occasions, and a little too floaty on others. It takes a good middle ground where driver and passenger are unlikely to complain, but without being as entirely plush or level over bumps as the best.

Likewise, dynamically, this Jeep is pretty good when switched from normal to Sport mode, which relaxes the otherwise ridiculously aggressive electronic stability control (ESC) calibration and allows this SUV to breathe and flow through bends. It’s balanced, not sharp.

But the steering is very impressive, though, proving unendingly linear and impressively consistent in its response when parking.

What’s It Like Off Road?

If the CX-5 and Tucson are on-road benchmarks, then the Subaru Forester is best off it, and especially on corrugated dirt where the week before this test that Japanese rival blitzed it.

This Cherokee isn’t quite as smooth in the rough, and unless the console-mounted rotary dial is switched to Sand or Mud, the front wheels can spin briefly before the active driveline engages the rears.

But at least, proactively, you have the option here. Most rivals like the Mazda, Hyundai and Toyota get no modes at all, though the latter duo at least get a 50:50 ‘lock’ button.

Even so, in addition to higher ground clearance, the Trailhawk ups its clearance angles – including approach (18.9 degrees to 29.9deg), departure (25deg to 32.2deg) and ramp-over (19.5deg to 22.9deg), as well as adding a Rock mode, chubbier tyres and a locking back diff.

Does It Have A Spare?

Yes, a full-sized 18-inch steel wheel.

Can You Tow With It?

Yes, up to 2200kg (braked) on all V6 all-wheel drives. This is among the highest in the class, with petrol CX-5 (1800kg), Tucson (1600kg) and RAV4/X-Trail (1500kg) behind.

What about ownership?

Jeep offers a five-year warranty, which is great, but only to 100,000km where ‘unlimited’ travel is the norm. Even so, it will offer lifetime roadside assistance so long as customers use dealer servicing.

That isn’t cheap, though. In fact, annual or 12,000km intervals ask $495 each for the first and second service, $545 for the third and $620 for the fourth, to four years or 48,000km.

What about safety features?

A five-star ANCAP performer, the Limited scores seven airbags, ESC, forward and reverse autonomous emergency braking (AEB), blind-spot monitor, and lane-departure warning with active lane-keep assistance. All that’s missing is a 360-degree camera – only a rear-view monitor is standard.

However, the lane-keep worked nowhere near as fluently as that tested in a Tucson, though it equals the average performance of a Forester’s system and beats the CX-5 (which warns but doesn’t actively assist).

Editor's Rating

How do we rate the interior and practicality?
How do we rate the infotainment and controls?
How do we rate the performance?
How do we rate the ride and handling?
How do we rate the safety?
Practical Motoring says: The Cherokee Limited rarely puts in a class-best performance, with the exception of infotainment, foot-to-the-floor speed and towing. But with the exception of expensive servicing and a penchant for unleaded, it otherwise treads above average in most cases, with a fully-loaded and decently roomy cabin, plus solid on- and off-road ability. In the latter case, though, pick the Cherokee Trailhawk if more than sand and dirt-road driving is required. Either way, you’re getting a smoother V6, for the price of others’ fours…

Dan DeGasperi

Dan DeGasperi