Jeep Cherokee (2013-2019) Review
Strong off-road ability and reasonable prices help the Jeep Cherokee stand out. As do controversial looks that you'll either love or hate
Strengths & weaknesses
- Large boot
- Capable off-road
- Plenty of standard equipment
- Bouncy ride
- Thirsty petrol engines
- Expensive top-of-the-range versions
It wasn't that long ago that Jeep and rival 4x4 manufacturer Land Rover were the only manufacturers offering a range of tough off-roaders, but times have changed and now these two old rivals face competition from sturdy four-wheel drive alternatives and style-centric 'crossover' pretenders that are no more capable off-road than a typical hatchback.
Despite this, Land Rover kept pace with the times by offering the comfortable and civilised Discovery Sport. By contrast, the Jeep Cherokee was beginning to look dated alongside its more sophisticated alternatives.
It still has plenty going for it, though, with strong off-road heritage and imposing styling. It’s also competitively priced, at least in entry-level to mid-range form.
There are also lots of trims available from basic Longitude all the way to the expensive 75th Anniversary special edition. Kit levels are good with even Longitude versions having air-conditioning, a digital radio, rear parking sensors and a five-inch touchscreen media system. Limited trim, with its larger touchscreen system and wireless phone charging, is the best all-rounder in terms of value for money. The interior looks stylish and feels well made, but nowhere near as polished as the likes of the Mercedes GLC, BMW X3 and Audi Q5.
And then there’s the Cherokee’s sliding rear seat. This clever contraption gives you the option of creating extra rear legroom or a larger boot, which varies in size from 591 to 714 litres. However, with the seats folded down to open up all of the available luggage space, the offering is smaller than what you'd find in an Audi Q3, and regardless of how far back you slide the seats, it's still rather cramped for rear passengers - rear legroom is especially tight. The Land Rover Discovery Sport, with its two additional seats, is a better all-round package.
Its slightly cramped interior is the first chink in the Cherokee’s armour, the second being its on-road performance. It’s comfortable, which is probably a good thing in most people’s eyes, but it isn’t especially engaging to drive. The steering lacks feel and there’s a fair amount of body lean in corners. The Nissan Qashqai and Ford Kuga strike a better compromise between ride comfort and handling on the road, but the Cherokee remains a far more capable off-roader.
The Cherokee’s diesel engines are outclassed by German motors, but the most recent 2.2-litre unit is smooth, punchy and economical, if not especially refined. It’s available in two power outputs, and makes for a good, relaxed cruiser.
If you don’t need the extra traction of four-wheel drive, the two-wheel drive versions are cheaper to run, offering greater fuel economy. The petrol versions are thirsty, and best avoided.