2020 Jeep Cherokee High Altitude review: At its best in the dirt

    The High Altitude trim proven right here is on the fancier facet.
    Emme Hall/Roadshow
    You need to be a sure sort of individual to understand what the Jeep Cherokee has to supply. It’s not the best-handling SUV in its class, neither is it essentially the most techy. Other crossovers look higher, and lots of provide extra utility. But solely the Cherokee will do correct Jeep stuff. If off-roading’s your sport, this SUV is for you.

    LikeWonderful off-road capabilitiesGenerous tow ratingExcellent infotainment system

    Don’t LikeNot many normal driving aidsSmall cargo spaceLazy transmission

    The Cherokee slots between the Compass and the Grand Cherokee in Jeep’s lineup. When the fifth-generation mannequin got here onto the scene in 2013, its design was actually controversial. The Cherokee acquired a refresh in 2019, so its seems to be aren’t fairly so divisive anymore.Cherokee Latitude, Latitude Plus, Altitude, Latitude Lux, Limited and High Altitude trims can be found with two- or four-wheel drive, whereas the Upland, North Edition, Trailhawk and Trailhawk Elite trims are four-wheel-drive solely. Drivers get a alternative of a 2.4-liter naturally aspirated I4, a 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 or a 3.2-liter V6, relying on trim. No matter what engine or driveline you select, each Cherokee comes with a nine-speed automated transmission.

    Tricky transmissionEarlier this 12 months, my colleague Craig Cole examined the Cherokee Limited with the two.0-liter turbo engine. My tester, in the meantime, is the High Altitude with the V6 engine, which gives 271 horsepower and 239 pound-feet of torque. This is greater than sufficient energy for toddling round city, however the nine-speed transmission is problematic — gradual to shift and continuously looking round for the suitable gear. The trick to smoothing it out is to really swap the Cherokee’s Selec-Terrain dial to Sport, which helps maintain the engine revving within the coronary heart of its powerband, although it means sacrificing a little bit of gasoline effectivity.This Jeep is hardly a corner-carver, but it surely handles itself respectively properly. The steering is properly weighted and the brakes provide assured stopping energy. Still, it is sort of sluggish, the physique rolls and total, it isn’t what I’d name enjoyable to drive. If that is a precedence, take a look at the Mazda CX-5.

    Head off highway, nonetheless, and the Cherokee shines. You can get it with Jeep’s elective Active Drive II four-wheel-drive system with a low vary, which additionally features a 1-inch suspension elevate. Combine that with the Sand/Mud and Rock modes within the Selec-Terrain system, in addition to the elective locking rear differential, and the Cherokee can simply go locations different compact SUVs cannot.

    My tester has the less-robust Active Drive I bundle, which is actually all-wheel drive that disconnects the rear axle when it is not wanted, like while you’re on the freeway, for higher effectivity. This needs to be sufficient for people who want all-wheel drive for snowy commutes or the occasional grime highway, and its extra economical operation helps me obtain the EPA’s mixed ranking of 22 miles per gallon throughout a week-long take a look at.I would not need to be doing this in a Mazda. 
    More assistance on the highwayFor 2020, Jeep expands the Cherokee’s driver-assistance choices, with the Advanced Safety Group now accessible throughout a better variety of trim ranges. This bundle contains lane-departure warning, forward-collision warning and rain-sensing wipers. It’s only a disgrace that no driving aids are normal on lower-grade Cherokees, and issues like blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert do not kick in till the Latitude plus. Adaptive cruise management can solely be had on the most-expensive fashions. Meanwhile, most of this tech comes normal on opponents just like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. Thankfully, my High Altitude tester has all of the bells and whistles, and I actually like that I can dial them in by means of the wonderful Uconnect infotainment system. For instance, I can regulate the lane-departure warning with early, mid and late settings, and may set the steering intervention to be low, medium or excessive. The blind-spot monitoring could be set to be only a visible alert, add an audible warning or I can simply flip it off. It’s nice to have choices.Beyond the adjustable driving aids, I’ve all the time liked Uconnect for its well-thought-out design. There is lots of data on every display, but in some way it stays clear and simple to make use of. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included on each the usual 7.0-inch display or the elective 8.4-inch show. The native navigation system has wonderful graphics however its voice recognition can often wrestle.If you are in search of superior driver’s aids you may need to pony up for a high-level trim.
    Emme Hall/Roadshow
    I need to give a shoutout to Jeep’s multifunction steering wheel, as properly. The entrance has properly organized buttons for my telephone and cruise management, and arrows to scroll by means of the gauge cluster data. The buttons on the again of the steering wheel management audio stations, presets, quantity and media supply. Like Uconnect, it may appear actually busy at first, however after some time, I actually develop to understand this person expertise.As for charging, the Cherokee would not have a wi-fi charging pad, however my tester has a USB-A and 12-volt outlet in each the entrance and middle consoles. The rear seats get two charge-only USB-A ports, in addition to a three-prong, 115-volt, 150-watt outlet. Another 12-volt outlet could be discovered within the cargo maintain.Inside storyThe Cherokee’s inside is not actually something to put in writing house about. It’s rugged-looking and the supplies are simply OK, and my tester’s shade palette is especially darkish, with just a few contrasting gray stitching to lighten it up. Thankfully, the seats are comfy and there’s loads of area for folks up entrance or within the again. Space on your cargo, nonetheless, falls beneath the competitors, with 27.6 cubic ft behind the rear seats with the cargo flooring in its lowest place and 54.7 cubes total. The RAV4, in the meantime, goes massive with 37.6 and 69.8 cubic ft, respectively, and the CR-V goes gigantic with 39.2 and 75.8. Heck, even the Mazda CX-5 with its sharply sloping rear hatch gives extra cargo area.The Cherokee’s cabin skews extra rugged than the rest. If you need luxurious appointments, seems to be elsewhere.
    Emme Hall/Roadshow
    However, there are a good quantity of small storage cubbies within the Cherokee, with a little bit bin within the entrance console and a hidey-hole on the sprint. Large pockets lengthen practically the complete size of the entrance doorways.The 2020 Jeep Cherokee begins at $27,580, together with $1,495 for vacation spot, however my High Altitude 4×4 tester is available in at a way more substantial $42,715. Personally, I’d seize the Cherokee Trailhawk, add the Cold Weather bundle (I will need to have heated seats) and choose the towing bundle to make the most of the Jeep’s 4,500-pound tow ranking. Very properly geared up, a Cherokee Trailhawk like my dream spec slots beneath $40,000, although it would not embody many superior driving aids.If off-roading is a daily a part of your life, the Cherokee is a superb alternative. With all its rugged choices and bona fide off-road {hardware}, it’s going to out-shine another small SUV within the grime. On pavement, nonetheless, the Cherokee cannot fairly sustain with its extra environment friendly, higher geared up, extra spacious competitors. The Cherokee is implausible for Jeep stuff, however as a each day driver, it suffers.

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