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Jeep Cherokee Review

David Ross

Written by

David Ross

Jeep Cherokee
Jeep Cherokee

1/10

1 / 10

00/10
heycar rating
"Interesting but flawed crossover alternative"
  • Launched: 2014
  • Crossover
  • Petrol, Diesel

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Quick overview

Pros

  • Well equipped as standard
  • Very capable off-road
  • Reasonably comfortable

Cons

  • Refinement could be better
  • Not great to drive
  • Sluggish engines in early models

Overall verdict on the Jeep Cherokee

"As an alternative to SUVs like the Hyundai Tucson, the Jeep Cherokee has a few things going for it. Not least a strong image and a genuine off-road capability. Like all Jeep models, the Cherokee can cover proper tough terrain. This is no weekend soft-roader. Of course whether owners really want that is another matter. Ultimately, there are lots of other crossovers that do it better..."

Jeep Cherokee front

Jeep had high hopes for the Cherokee when it arrived in 2014. It marked the beginning of a reinvigoration for the brand now owned by Fiat. The previous year saw a much improved Grand Cherokee launched and, following that, Jeep unveiled a new smaller SUV, the Renegade.


For this Cherokee, Jeep moved things more upmarket. It realised it could not merely trade on its rugged and outdoorsy image as it once did, so it's no surprise to see big improvements from previous Jeep models in terms of quality and design. The Cherokee is certainly distinctive, especially from the front with that odd nose but some things continue like the traditional Jeep grille, albeit with a new take on the old design.


It's not the most handsome of SUVs but it certainly stands out. It's a shame therefore that the interior isn't as daring. Inside it's bland and full of drab plastics.

What’s the best Jeep Cherokee model/engine to choose?

The later 2.2-litre Multijet diesel, which arrived in 2015, is a much better engine than the earlier 2.0-litre so is worth seeking out. And while the Limited trim is well equipped, we'd go for a Longitude+ model which has the Uconnect media centre with 8.4-inch touch screen, navigation with Bluetooth voice recognition, and nine speakers with an Alpine sub-woofer.

What other cars are similar to the Jeep Cherokee?

While Jeep pitched the Cherokee as a rival to premium off-roaders, things like the Land Rover Discovery Sport, it didn't have the quality or image to compete. It is well equipped though so makes a good rival for cars like the Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage and of course the ever popular Nissan Qashqai

Comfort and design: Jeep Cherokee interior

"The Cherokee’s cabin is a fairly traditional and conservative design but on the plus side it gets all the basics right."

Jeep Cherokee interior

The interior is comfortable enough, with lots of head and leg room in the front and back, but the dashboard design and layout feel bland and nondescript. The chunky plastics and large dials also feel mundane, while the large button on the automatic gear shifter has a tendency to painfully trap the edge of fingers in the switch mechanism. 


The controls are all intuitive and well located while the Uconnect system which was first seen on the Grand Cherokee is an excellent media system which is simple to use and has a lovely crisp display. Other manufacturers could learn a lot here.

Quality and finish

One area that distinguishes upmarket SUVs is the quality of the cabin, with Audi, BMW and Land Rover being almost recognisable by their respective interiors alone. While the Cherokee is a huge improvement over its crude predecessor, with lots of soft-touch materials and a modern dashboard layout, it still lacks the high class materials or individual touches that distinguish its rivals.


Quality and finish is an area Jeep has focussed on with the new Cherokee and it's certainly better than Jeep offerings of the past, although that's hardly saying much. 


It feels a well built car inside with good perceived quality helped by the soft touch materials on the dash and a good quality leather steering wheel. It's not quite up to premium car standards, the door inners have a fair bit of flex in them and it doesn't feel particularly special or stylish, but it's solid nonetheless.

Space and practicality: Jeep Cherokee boot space

The boot doesn't feel as large as the official 591-litre figure suggests either, although the wide opening and low floor make it easy to load items into it. Likewise, the underfloor storage and hooks are useful for hiding valuables or carrying the weekly shop.

Handling and ride quality: What is the Jeep Cherokee like to drive?

"Jeep handling has traditionally been of the soft and soggy variety but the Cherokee is impressive for an SUV with good body control and responsive steering, albeit with an artificial feel."

Jeep Cherokee rear

Sadly, the Cherokee is not a rewarding SUV to drive, with its soft ride providing comfort over rough surfaces, but pitching heavily in the corners. 


The steering is also something of a conundrum, with inconsistent weighting that makes it difficult to judge how much turn is required to navigate corners or exit tight junctions. As a result the Cherokee is a car that requires constant correction at all speeds, while its high levels of road and engine noise add to its general disquiet. 

What engines and gearboxes are available in the xx?

In terms of engines the Jeep uses a Fiat-sourced 2.0-litre MultiJet II common rail diesel that comes in two versions. There's a lower powered 140PS model with a manual gearbox that's available in either two or four-wheel drive, or a top 170PS version that comes with an automatic gearbox as standard. 


A more off-road version called Trailhawk, which is powered by a 3.2-litre V6 petrol, will be available but in very limited numbers in the UK as a 'special order' version.


The 2.0-litre diesel pulls well well with both versions delivering 350Nm of torque from low down so there's no reason to really work the engine hard. The 140PS version is sluggish although the six-speed manual gearbox offers reasonably positive changes.

The more powerful 170PS engine would be our choice but mainly because it's the only one that comes with the automatic gearbox. This new nine-speed auto may seem to have an excessive number of gears, but it works well with the MultiJet II diesel with swift yet smooth changes. It avoids the often common problem of hunting for the right gear at town speeds and is responsive when you ask it to kickdown.


In 2015 a 2.2 Multijet diesel was introduced and it's a huge improvement. It is far less noisy and gives smoother acceleration. All 2.2 diesels get a nine-speed automatic as standard, along with Jeep's proven four-wheel drive system. As a result the Cherokee provides a firm footing in the worst of winter weathers, regardless if you're on or off the road. 


Both versions of the four-cylinder engine pull strongly, with 440Nm of peak torque and a caravan-friendly towing capacity of 2.5 tonnes. Even the 0-62mph sprint can be completed in less than nine seconds, while the nine speed auto box has been tweaked to provide smooth changes.

Refinement and noise levels

The 2.0-litre diesel is hardly the last word in refinement and is noisy on start-up or when pressed into hard work, but in every day driving the four-cylinder diesel quietens down somewhat. The 2.2 Multijet is far more refined - another reason to choose it.

MPG and fuel costs: How much does it cost to run a Jeep Cherokee?

"The Jeep's diesel engine means it's cheap to run with decent economy, although there are no hybrid or PHEV versions in the range."

Jeep Cherokee front headlights

Officially, the Cherokee is pretty good on fuel with an official average of 48.7mpg for the 170PS 2.0-litre diesel. The two-wheel drive 140PS is the most frugal with a claimed 53.3mpg and CO2 of 139g/km.


The later 2.2-litre Multijet 185PS returns a claimed 49.5mpg and 150g/km of CO2. Even the 200PS is pretty frugal with an official 49.6mpg and 150g/km. Although remember, these are old NEDC figures so you'll struggle to get close to them in real world driving.

How much should you be paying for a used Jeep Cherokee?

"The Cherokee was never a huge seller for Jeep in the UK, so you won't find a glut on the used market."

Jeep Cherokee side profile

Used prices start at about £8000 for early models but if you want to pick and choose, you'll be looking at closer to £10,000. The 2.2 Multijet diesel is a far better engine and worth seeking out.

Trim levels and standard equipment

Standard equipment in the entry-level Longitude includes body-coloured door mirrors, LED tail lights, 17-inch alloy wheels, dual zone climate control, Bluetooth, DAB radio, leather-wrapped steering wheel and rear park assist.


Longitude+ adds a Uconnect media centre with 8.4-inch touch screen, satellite navigation with Bluetooth voice recognition, and nine speakers with Alpine sub-woofer.


A trail-rated Trailhawk version added distinctive looks, suspension lift and special off-road equipment including Jeep’s Active Drive Lock system, along with a host of other standard equipment.

Jeep Cherokee cars for sale on heycar

8
Number of cars available
£13K - £23K
Price bracket of these cars
BlackGreen+ 3 more
Colours available on heycar
5 doors
Door options available

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