Published: Tue, January 16, 2018
Hi-Tech | By Grace Becker

The 2019 Jeep Cherokee gets a family facelift for Detroit

The 2019 Jeep Cherokee gets a family facelift for Detroit

The changes are an effort to attract new buyers looking for mid-size crossovers.

"It was a polarizing design", acknowledged Michael Manley, the head of FCA's Jeep and Ram divisions. Those numbers pale in comparison to competitors such as the Nissan Rogue and Toyota RAV4 which each topped 400,000 in sales past year.

"The architecture Cherokee is built on is comprised of common, modular and interchangeable components and allows for modularity of the wheelbase, front track, rear track, front overhang, length and width across vehicle lines", FCA reports.

FCA says it will make the 2019 Jeep Cherokee at the Belvidere Assembly Plant in IL, and that it is due out in the first quarter of 2018. LED lighting is in use in the projector headlamps and fog lamps. The result is bi-LED headlamps that are not almost as squinty as previous years, and in general, a much more traditional face.

M - Jeep won't admit it, but we pretty much know the truth of it here - the wild, weird redesign of the new-for-2014 Jeep Cherokee didn't go over that well.

A more modest interior upgrade for 2019.

"We took the geekiness out of it", says designer Mark Allen, a 30-year veteran of Jeep.

Jeep is retaining the current Cherokee's two engines, but adding a premium 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder. The engine features a twin-scroll turbocharger, direct injection and a pollution-cutting technology known as exhaust gas recirculation. The 180 hp 2.4-liter Tigershark engine remains the entry level choice. The new Wrangler will come available in both a hybrid and four-cylinder engine option. "In addition, Cherokee builds on its benchmark 4×4 capability and on-road dynamics with refinement and style, a host of new attributes, powertrains and the latest technology that is perfectly situated for consumers worldwide". All engines are paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission.

Pricing hasn't been announced for the new Cherokee. The current 2018 Jeep Cherokee has an Environmental Protection Agency rating of 21 mpg in city driving, 30 mpg on the highway and 25 mpg overall. It arrives in showrooms - showered and respectable - in the first quarter of 2018.

Determined that Jeep's reformation be more than skin deep, the Cherokee team has put the Cherokee on a 200-pound diet, introduced a premium 2.0-liter turbo-4 and expanded the rear cargo-hold. An optional 8.4-inch screen is available. That sounds like a small change, but it's enough to now accommodate longer objects, like a set of golf clubs, without having to put them in at an awkward angle.

First Look – 2019 Jeep Cherokee
Refreshed 2019 Jeep Cherokee debuts at the Detroit auto show

Inside, eight standard airbags keep passengers safe, while more than 80 available safety and security features keep the vehicle safe. Forward-collision warning and lane-departure warning are available only on the Limited, Overland and Trailhawk.

That emphasis on weight reduction carried onto the new exterior. Approximately 65 percent of the 2019 Cherokee body structure is made of high-strength steel.

What you won't immediately realize is that Jeep also took steps to lighten the 2019 Cherokee - which already had a light aluminum hood.

The hardcore 2019 Cherokee Trailhawk variant receives unique features created to highlight its toughness.

The new Cherokee Trailhawk adds unique fascia, skid plates and a one-inch lift.

The tailgate has also been redesigned to break up the large, empty, concave expanse that used to dominate the rear end of the old model.

Along the bottom, Overland models get chrome tow hooks while Trailhawk models get the now recognizable bright red hooks.

But even base versions of the 2019 Cherokee bring capability to the forefront.

There's Jeep Active Drive I, which is fully automatic and switches in and out of four-wheel drive at any speed. It includes a two-speed power transfer unit with an available low-range gear. The 4-Low mode locks the front and rear driveshafts and provides a crawl ratio of up to 51.2:1 for low-speed rock crawling.

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