By Veeno Dewan
The current Cherokee is a sleek modern compact CUV that offers an excellent mix of city and urban crossover talent and the ability to tackle serious off-roading. With Fiat-Chryslers Italian styling direction, the Cherokee offers a startling, but contemporary interpretation of a successful CUV. Jeeps legendary off road prowess is maintained as the Cherokee offer’s Jeep’s excellent Trail-Rated four-wheel drive systems. For 2017, Cherokee’s are now equipped with the 8.4-inch Uconnect system with Siri Eyes Free compatibility, a new drag-and-drop menu bar and a Do Not Disturb function that sends phone calls straight to voicemail and can generate an automatic reply to text messages.
The base engine in the Jeep Cherokee is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder rated at a decent 184 horsepower, or buyers can opt for a larger 3.2-liter V6 that makes 271 hp and 239 lb-ft of torque as on our Jeep Cherokee Limited High Altitude 4×4. A nine-speed automatic transmission is standard with both engines. There is a choice of front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive with either engine, Jeep offers two 4WD systems. Standard on four-wheel-drive Sport, and Limited models is the light-duty Active Drive I 4WD system; with a Selec-Terrain dial that features different terrain modes. Standard on the Trailhawk and optional on other 4WD Jeep Cherokees is the more efficient Active Drive II system, which features low-range gearing and a locking rear differential along with an additional “Rock” mode for the Selec-Terrain dial.
Standard safety equipment on all 2017 Jeep Cherokees includes antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front- and rear-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and front knee airbags. Options on our High Altitude tester included: Crystal pearl paint, ($225) and the 3.2L V6 engine, ($1595). The High Altitude package ($795) riffs on the current look for All- black tricked out rides and carried it off very well. Our tester featured 18-inch gloss black wheels, gloss black badges, grill surrounds, applique, black roof rails, luxury groups including leather faced seats, UConnect 8.4 inch touchscreen infotainment system, and the Cold Weather Group package comprising of remote start, windshield wiper de-icer, heated seats and steering wheel, all season floor mats, power heated exterior mirrors, leather wrapped shift knob, and ParkView rear back up camera Final price for our Jeep Cherokee Limited High Altitude 4×4 with all options, AC tax, and destination charge ($1,745) came to $49,130.
Additional features also added adaptive cruise control; optional lane-departure and forward-collision warning systems, blind-spot monitors and parking sensors that can also trigger the vehicle to a full stop at low speeds, if obstacles are detected. The 2017 Cherokee also offers more options than the competitor crossovers such as a CommandView panoramic sunroof and Sky Slider roof, memory heated/ventilated seats, and soft Nappa leather upholstery with ventilated front seats in our top Limited model. Infotainment systems include 8.4-inch Uconnect media center audio-streaming app connectivity (Pandora and Slacker, among others); and on top tier models a full-color reconfigurable LED instrument cluster.
The interior of the 2017 Jeep Cherokee has a high-quality look and feel, with durable soft touch plastics and a European feel to the design. Cabin room is generous with decent storage upfront, clear legible instruments and modern dash design. Legroom and headroom is good and the rear bench reclines, and provides for fore-and-aft adjustment. Cargo capacity is adequate with 24.6 cubic feet of space behind the second row and 54.9 cubic feet with the rear seatbacks folded down. There is a decent 5 inch touchscreen infotainment system, or the available Uconnect 8.4-inch touchscreen that is truly excellent, outclassing its competitors with its easy-to-navigate menus, large virtual buttons and a handy conventional knob that is far better than the mostly annoying, fiddly touch buttons and sliders other SUVs have. A tow package is available on all 2017 Jeep Cherokees and gives V6 models a decent 4,500-pound towing capacity.
The Cherokee is exceptionally quiet at highway speeds, and over rough city streets it provides a comfortable well damped ride. With its heavier V6 engine, and four wheel drive system, the Cherokee V6 is not as nimble or sporty as its lighter Four –cylinder engined sibling, but feels precise and confident in all conditions. Fuel economy for the V6 is rated at 11.1 L/100km combined. 12.8 In the city and 9.0 L/km on the highways. The 2017 Cherokee, obviously comes into its own when it comes to off-roading capability, making short work of rough trails and more serious boonie-bashing. In summing up, with its sleek, modern good looks, roomy cabin, powerful V6 engine, good handling and tenacious off-road capability – the 2017 Jeep Cherokee is a winner in this segment
2017 Jeep Cherokee Limited High Altitude 4×4 base priced from $36,845. Price as tested with options, AC Tax, and destination charge $49,130