The Jeep Cherokee is a five-passenger, two- or four-wheel drive SUV that was introduced in 2014. This compact SUV offers authentic off-road capabilities, unlike most of its competitors. Jeep sells the 2015 Cherokee in four editions and offers two engine choices.
In 2014, Jeep resurrected the Cherokee name, a model that helped get the modern SUV movement underway in the late 1980s. This compact model offers true off-road proficiency when properly equipped. Priced from $22,995, a fully outfitted top-of-the-line edition will cost you more than $35,000.
It has been said that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Indeed, the front fascia of the Jeep Cherokee has a polarizing look with people either loving it or hating it. It offers the most modern interpretation of a Jeep design ever with its trademark 7-slot grille offset by slit LED lamps and turn signals above its headlights and fog lamps.
The Cherokee comes with strong shoulders, deeply arched wheel wells, a high belt line and rocker panel trim. To the rear, this model is marked with a spoiler, wrap around LED tail lamps and dual exhaust ports.
Paint and trim embellishments across its four model lines can dramatically alter the appearance of this SUV, bringing in special color schemes, upgraded wheels and trim.
Most Jeep fans are aware that the current Cherokee replaced the earlier Liberty. Fortunately, the interior of the Cherokee is more refined than its predecessor and parallels the premium status of Jeep’s crown jewel, the Grand Cherokee SUV.
In the Cherokee, Jeep makes good use of soft-touch materials, choice cloth or available Nappa leather seating with accent stitching, which provides this model with a more discriminating presentation. All driver controls are intelligently arranged with auxiliary controls positioned on the steering wheel.
Behind the tilt and telescopic steering wheel the instrument panel features analog tachometer and speedometer displays, along with a digital driver information display that presents trip and other vehicle information.
The center stack is cleanly arranged and is dominated by a large, colorful display featuring Jeep’s Uconnect infotainment system. That touch-screen display is easy to decipher and is supplemented by switches and knobs. With it you also have voice-controlled access to the system. Beneath that is the audio system along with a storage compartment, a 12-volt outlet, a USB port and an auxiliary input connection. Illuminated cup holders, a drive mode knob and transmission shifter are located between the seats. Storage compartments are positioned on top of the dashboard, between the front seats and, when the front passenger seat is folded down, within that seat as well.
Drivers will find the Cherokee’s seat relaxing with ample back, hip and leg support. Both front seats are sufficiently bolstered with six-way manual adjustment standard. The Limited edition supplies an eight-way power driver’s seat and a four-way power front passenger seat. With these upgrades power lumbar support is also provided. The rear seats feature a 60/40 split-folding design with a center seat armrest containing a pair of cup holders.
All models, except for the Sport edition, offer a 115-volt outlet. Air conditioning, driver seatback pockets, front and rear floor mats, a locking glove box, an overhead console, and intermittent wipers are included. Upgrades with select models include: dual-zone automatic climate control, a heated steering wheel, a universal garage door opener and a wireless charging pad. Upgrades to the audio system, HD radio, navigation and a power moonroof are possible.
All 2015 Jeep Cherokee editions come equipped with a standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. This engine makes 184 horsepower, and is rated at 22 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. Also available (except in the Sport edition) is a 3.2-liter, V6 engine that makes 271 horsepower. Both engines are paired with a segment-exclusive nine-speed automatic transmission.
As tested, a Jeep Cherokee Limited 4×4 equipped with the V6 engine was made available. The V6 offers very good power off the line and excellent performance on the road.
The transmission shifts smoothly, although it rarely shifted into its highest gear at highway speeds. On-road handling is good, but this model best shines when taken off-road.
Jeep makes three four-wheel drive systems available with the Cherokee. The most capable of the three comes equipped with low-range gearing and a rear locker. It takes this SUV across mud bogs, up hills and over gravelly or sandy surfaces with ease. No other model in this segment can match this SUV’s off-road prowess.
The Jeep Cherokee is a technological warrior just by its three available four-wheel drive systems alone. Beyond the drivetrain, the Jeep’s transmission brings to the segment three more gears than what is found in any other model. Supplied by ZF, Jeep worked out an earlier problem that repaired rough and delayed gearshifts. The transmission is prized for improving launch performance and delivering optimal highway efficiency.
The select terrain traction control system offers enhanced capabilities under a variety of on- and off-road conditions.
Beyond the automatic setting, drivers can choose snow, sport, sand/mud and rock modes by adjusting the suspension system accordingly.
The Uconnect infotainment system found in all Fiat Chrysler (FCA) vehicles shines best in the Cherokee when the optional navigation system is included. Uconnect, with its available and brightly-lit 8.4-inch display screen, also provides sensible apps and the ability to seamlessly connect it with a smartphone and decipher voice commands.
The 2015 Jeep Cherokee, in tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), received the institute’s highest score of “good” in four crash test categories: moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraints & seats. The institute also recognized the Cherokee for its automatic front crash prevention technology, offered as optional equipment with select 2015 models.
Jeep outfits every Cherokee with numerous safety features and makes available other select features as part of package or single option upgrades.
For instance, a rearview monitor is standard on Latitude and Trailhawk models, and is optional elsewhere.
All models come with stability control; traction control; hill start assist; electronic roll mitigation; and front, front seat-mounted side, and side curtain air bags. Hill descent control is standard with the Trailhawk edition. Lane departure warning and park assist are available with the Trailhawk and Limited editions.
Jeep sells the Cherokee in Sport, Latitude, Trailhawk and Limited editions. All models except the four-wheel drive Trailhawk offer standard front-wheel drive or available four-wheel drive. Pricing for the base Sport edition begins at $22,995. The four-wheel drive Cherokee Limited retails from $30,595.
Option packages can add thousands of dollars to any vehicle’s sticker price. In the Trailhawk, such sought after equipment as a Uconnect navigation system ($845), an upgraded audio system with nine speakers ($895), a panoramic sunroof ($1,495), aluminum wheels ($369), leather package ($1,395), technology group ($1,495) and the V6 engine ($1,695) can place your final price near $40,000 with the destination charge included.
Package options for more basic models can still send your final price well above $30,000, putting the Jeep Cherokee at the pinnacle of this segment.
The small sport utility vehicle segment is populated by numerous models, including the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Hyundai Tucson, Chevrolet Equinox, Nissan Rogue, Mazda CX-5, Kia Sportage and the Toyota RAV4. None of these models can equal the Cherokee’s overall capabilities, which explains why the Jeep is the priciest model of them all.
For customers who have no need of off-road capability, a front-wheel drive edition with the standard engine should be sufficient. A fairly well-equipped model can be had for $26,000 or about $10,000 beneath a fully loaded Limited edition.