The 2018 Jeep Cherokee crossover SUV has two engine options, and both are paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. The first is a 2.4-liter inline-4 engine with an output of 184 hp and 171 lb-ft of torque. The second is a 3.2-liter V6 with an output of 271 hp and 239 lb-ft of torque. Front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive can be configured for all but one trim, which is the Trailhawk that only comes in all-wheel drive. With the six-cylinder power plant under the hood, the acceleration took time to get going. Since it can also be equipped to tread on unpaved surfaces, the power delivery was tuned to suit off-road driving. However, taking eight seconds to reach 60 mph was still respectable in its category. The tall ride height did not detract from the balance when attacking the corner. That meant body roll was controlled and grip was sufficient on the asphalt despite the off-road tires. The steering was accurate and feedback from the road did not disappoint. But during off-road driving, the response from the uneven surface was muted. The brakes delivered a linear and predictable stopping force. The pedal was responsive and made the brakes easier to modulate. What held it back were the tires, which resulted in taking 131 feet to stop from 60 mph.
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The base Latitude trim comes standard with xenon headlights, Bluetooth, a USB charging port, a 5-inch touchscreen and a six-speaker sound system. The Tech Connect package adds remote start and unlock, navigation system, vehicle monitoring, ambient interior lighting, a 115V power outlet, Amazon Alexa integration, Amazon Echo Dot device and an infotainment system with an 8.4-inch touchscreen and a nine-speaker sound system. The Latitude Plus trim builds on the preceding trim by including keyless entry and ignition, power-adjustable driver seat, a push-to-start button and satellite radio. The Trailhawk trim is the off-road-oriented model and comes with off-road-tuned suspension, locking rear differential, hill ascent and descent control, automatic climate control, digital instrument cluster, satellite radio, a USB port, Siri Eyes Free, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and an infotainment system with an 8.4-inch touchscreen. Advanced safety and driver aids are now included for this trim. The Limited trim has the same standard features as the Trailhawk trim without the off-road parts. It also includes a wiper de-icer, remote ignition, power-folding side mirrors, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, auto-dimming rearview mirror and a power liftgate. The top-of-the-line Overland trim has all the goodies and comes standard with cornering lights, driver seat memory settings, ventilated front seats, power-adjustable front passenger seat, HD radio and a nine-speaker sound system. The Trailer Tow package for the Latitude Plus, Limited and Trailhawk trims include a transmission cooler, Class III hitch and a trailer wiring harness with a spare. The Technology package for the Trailhawk, Limited and Overland trims includes automatic wipers and more advanced safety and driver aids.
The 2018 model was tested by the NHTSA and it achieved four stars in the frontal crash test, five stars in the side crash test and four stars in the rollover test. Overall, it achieved a four-star safety rating from the NHTSA. It was also tested by the IIHS and it scored mostly “Good” for crashworthiness and “Superior” in front crash prevention. Its headlights, however, only scored “Acceptable” for crash avoidance and mitigation. The standard safety equipment for the base trim is a rearview camera only. Advanced safety and driver aids are added in higher trim levels and they include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic detection, rear parking sensors, forward collision warning, crash mitigation, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, automatic high beams and an automated parking system.
The 2018 model has a length of 182 inches, a width of 73.2 inches, a height of 65.7 inches and a wheelbase of 106.3 inches. The base trim comes standard with 17-inch wheels and has the option for 18-inch wheels. The Trailhawk trim comes with wider 17-inch wheels wider in all-terrain tires. It also has a higher ride height, skid plates, tow hooks and specific exterior parts. The two upper-end trims come standard with 18-inch wheels. The Overland trim has some of its exterior trim in the same body paint.
Stepping into the vehicle wasn’t a strain despite the taller ride height of the Trailhawk trim. The doors opened wide to a cabin with ample legroom and headroom for the two rows of seats. The sliding action of the rear seats was helpful in maximizing the space that’s available. There is room for up to five people on board and all the seats remained comfortable even during long drives. They remained supportive without inducing fatigue to the lower body. The range of adjustability for the driver seat allowed it to fit the majority of drivers. The suspension was set up for comfort in both on- and off-road scenarios. It took rough surfaces in stride and bigger bumps did not disrupt the smooth ride. Road and wind noise weren’t distracting to the atmosphere inside but slight tire noise during off-road driving was present.
There is 24.6 cu-ft of space behind the second row of seats, and folding those seats down opens up 58.9 cu-ft of space for loading cargo.