Under the Hood: 2017 Jeep Cherokee

It is debated whether “Cherokee” originated from the Choctaw exonym meaning “people who live in the mountains.” Yet, while the meaning of Cherokee is often lost in translation, one thing’s for sure – the Jeep Cherokee has great off-roading abilities that will let you explore the outdoors.

The Jeep Cherokee is a five-passenger mid-size SUV, and it is back new and improved for 2017. It still has the signature grille and sleek modern design that Jeep is known for, but it comes with plenty of innovative features that will appeal to families just as much as outdoor enthusiasts.

The Cherokee range fits nicely in the middle of the Jeep family, between the alluring Grand Cherokee, and the more basic Patriot and Renegade.

Under the Hood

The Jeep Cherokee is available with a four-cylinder engine, as well as the option for more power with a V6. The 2.4-liter engine gets 184 horsepower, while the 3.2-liter engine has 271 horsepower. If you have the need for speed, the V6 Jeep Cherokee can go from 0-60 in 7.4 seconds. Although it doesn’t quite compare to a Ford Mustang, it is still impressive for a Jeep SUV.

The nine-speed automatic transmission makes the Jeep Cherokee a high performer and allows smooth cruising on the highway, as well as promoting lower fuel consumption and efficiency. Just what we are all looking for in a new 2017 vehicle hitting the road.

Trim Levels

The Jeep Cherokee is available in five main trim levels to match everyone’s lifestyle. From the outdoor explorer to the city driver, Jeep has successfully designed a model for everyone to enjoy.

The Sport stands as the most affordable trim level in the Jeep Cherokee family at $27,695. This model sports 17-inch steel wheels and LED daytime running lights in its sleek modern design, as well as today’s technology packed into one vehicle, including keyless entry and Bluetooth. Drivers will also love cruise control features for a comfortable and efficient journey. The five-inch touchscreen has a supporting audio port, SD card reader, and a compass, as well as and other media add-ons to play around with. Climate control is basic compared to the other models, yet the rear seat air conditioning vents are an extra compared to other SUVs out there.

Similar to the Sport, the Jeep Cherokee North has extra features to justify its higher $31,395 price tag. On the outside, there are upgraded alloy wheels, automatic xenon headlights, body colored door handles, and tinted glass adding to its modern style. Inside, the North has LED lighting, a leather wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, and a rear-view camera to make parking a lot easier. Although the Jeep Cherokee is not as spacious as people had hoped for, the North allows you to fold down the front passenger seat for extra room. There is also a built-in storage compartment inside the seat cushion.

The Jeep Cherokee Limited has a starting price of $34,895. It provides off-road potential and comfortable city driving. Features to note include the remote ignition capability, power-folding side mirrors for convenience, and wiper de-icer for cold mornings. In addition, the heated driver and passenger seats are sure to keep you warm in the winter, as well as the luxury of a heated steering wheel for ultimate comfort.

The trim level aimed at those with an active lifestyle is the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk. The model’s suitability for off-roading means that the Trailhawk lives up to Jeep’s famous reputation. Starting at $35,895, this SUV model is designed for exploring with its four-wheel drive system, all terrain tires, off-road suspension, skid plates, and tow hooks. With unique exterior elements exclusive to this trim, as well as extra interior features, there is no doubt the Trailhawk meets the need for the higher price tag. Technology worthy of mentioning include the larger 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen, which has Siri Eyes Free for safe driving, navigation, and audio integration.

Often compared to the larger Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Overland is the top of the range at $40,395. It packs in various luxurious features not found on the other trim levels, such as dazzling polished alloy wheels, body color cladding trim, a superior leather dashboard, and wooden steering wheel insets. In addition, the Overland spoils drivers with modern technology that makes traveling a breeze. From rear parking sensors and blind spot monitoring to heated and cooling leather passenger seats, driving has never been so easy or enjoyable. The upgraded audio system is a particular highlight of the Overland, with nine speakers and a subwoofer — so everyone can feel the bass drop. The built-in navigation in the Uconnect’s 8.4-inch touchscreen will also make sure you never get lost again. To finish off the refined design, you can choose from a range of stunning crystal pearl paint colors.

Image via FCA Canada

Model Highlights

The Jeep Cherokee succeeds in its off-road potential. Being a four-wheel drive, the Cherokee works well off the beaten track, with good traction and control. The Sport, Latitude, and Limited trim levels have an Active Drive I system, as well as Selec-Terrain, which allows you to master any landscape, and is perfect for exploring the outdoors in all weather. You can blaze along muddy trails and plough through snow with an easy to use system that enables you to adapt to the conditions.

What’s more, this also allows your Jeep Cherokee to be more fuel efficient on the road. The Trailhawk and Overland trims enjoy a sophisticated Active Drive II system, which has low-range gears and a locking differential for tackling particularly difficult terrain, as well as an additional Selec-Terrain rock mode for scaling boulders and cliffs.

Drawbacks

While the passenger space inside the cabin is praised for being comfortable and deluxe compared to previous models, the Jeep Cherokee trunk space is disappointing for an SUV of its size. Although there are roof rails and the rear (and front passenger) seats fold down for more space, the Cherokee still lacks the same room offered by other SUVs on the market.

Its rivals, the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape, offer more interior storage space. Of course, it will all depend on what you intend to use your Jeep Cherokee for. City drivers will have plenty of room for doing their weekly food shopping, but if you are going camping with a lot of equipment, you may face problems.

The Verdict

Overall, the Jeep Cherokee impresses with its fuel efficiency, off-roading abilities, and modern technology. Jeep has done well to create varying trim levels that offer everyone a slice of the pie. Whether you are a city driver commuting to work, a family going on a road trip, or an outdoor enthusiast hitting the trails, the Jeep Cherokee could be the SUV for you.

Image via FCA Canada