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by David Zatz
The 2019 Jeep Cherokee is here — and so is the “Hurricane” engine, without any electric motors. Despite its code name and tradition, the engine wasn’t branded “Hurricane,” but that’s what it is — and it’s a major improvement over the old 2.4 liter “World Gas Engine” ... which, like the 3.2 liter Pentastar V6, continues with minor changes.
The new 2.0 liter direct-injection turbo engine is pumps out 270 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque — roughly what Allpar had predicted two years ago, and enough to easily outpower the 3.2 liter V6.
The turbo is optional on every trim but the base; the V6 is optional (except where it’s standard, including on the Trailhawk); and the 2.4 is the base engine for Latitude and the Limited FWD. The Trailhawk is V6-standard, turbo-optional.
The 2014-18 Cherokee had leading approach, breakover, and departure angles, with crawl ratios up to 56:1, a locking rear differential, rear axle disconnect, and 20 inches of water-crossing ability. The chassis is mainly unchanged, but the Trailhawk’s new front fascia may have a better approach angle (press materials showed the same angle, but the text said it was better).
Other than engines, the main changes are:
The dashboard has some minor adjustments from the 2014-18 Cherokees. Gauge backgrounds are bolder and easier to read.
The color list is now Blue Shade, Sting-Gray, Velvet Red, Firecracker Red, Olive Green, Hydro Blue, Light Brownstone, Granite Crystal, Billet Silver, Diamond Black Crystal, Pearl White, and Bright White.
The interior has eight standard airbags for safety; high-gloss black trim and satin-chrome elements help the interior to be distinctive and upscale in appearance. The parking brake lever has been enclosed for easier use, and the front USB port and A/C outlet moved back to create extra space between the front seats. The designers used lighter color tones on lower trim panels, matching the seating; new seats come with cloth or Nappa leather, and can be power adjustable and heated/ventilated.
The big news is the Hurricane, as noted before; it comes with standard engine stop-start, about the same horsepower as the V6, and much more torque — which comes at lower engine speeds (3,000-4,500 rpm vs the V6 at 4,400 rpm). The down-side for owners is the fuel: premium (91 octane) gasoline is recommended, though it will take regular 87 octane with lower performance. Is the highest torque of any Cherokee and better gas mileage worth it? We’ll find out when Jeep releases its economy figures.
WARNING: TECHNICAL STUFF STARTS HERE. The engine uses a single low-intertia, twin-scroll turbocharger; the turbo itself is mounted to the head for durability, and a dedicated cooling circuit is used for the charge air cooler, throttle body, and turbocharger. The GME engine has dual overhead camshafts with independent timing, and cooled EGR; FCA claimed that this is the first time a twin-scroll turbo, cooled EGR, central direct injection, and independent liquid cooling intake of air, throttle body and turbo have been employed together, which is an impressive if highly specific feat.
The common-rail injection system hits 2,900 psi. The aluminum-alloy head has a central injector and high-tumble intake ports, with an integrated, water-cooled exhaust manifold. The block itself is formed in a low pressure sand-cast system, with cast-in iron liners; the bore is 84 mm and the stroke is 90 mm, so the engine displaces 1995cc (1.995 liters). The cylinder bores have gallery-mounted oil cooling jets for lower piston temperatures and higher durability. Select-fit main and rod bearings cut clearances, and floating piston pins have a diamond-like coating. Sodium-filled exhaust valves and plasma-coated rings round out the durability measures.
The engine takes five quarts of oil and just 3.4 quarts of coolant, versus the V6 with six quarts of oil and nearly 10 quarts of coolant. Even the 2.4 takes 5.5 quarts of oil and 7 quarts of coolant.
The spark plugs are in the center of the cam cover for easy replacement. The cams are chain-driven, with an inverted-tooth chain drive; cams are assembled using hollow shafts (saving 3.5 pounds each), and have polished journals. END OF TECHNICAL STUFF.
We originally thought the 3.6 liter engine would replace the Cherokee’s 3.2 liter; it’s the only FCA car to use the 3.2, after all. The 3.2 does continue, though, no doubt annoying Manufacturing, which has to supply special heads, cams, and such for just one vehicle. The V6 has a variable-displacement oil pump to cut parasitic losses.
We were told that the base 2.4 liter four-cylinder would be dropped; but it remains, having dropped a little weight. The intake was changed for lower noise and vibration. This engine is only available with front drive or Active Drive I.
The Chrysler 948TE nine-speed transmission, now dubbed TorqueFlite, will continue with new software for better drivability.
The Active Drive I system (available on the Latitude, Latitude Plus, Limited, and Overland), is a completely new design; the automatic rear drive module is nearly 17 pounds lighter and has cut low-speed system drag torque by 50%. The system does not require any driver intervention or feedback, delivers yaw correction during dynamic events, and improves during both understeer and oversteer conditions.
Active Drive II, which provides a 2.92 low gear, continues. The crawl ratio with the turbo is 51.2:1; with the V6, 48.3:1. This system has a neutral position for towing with all four wheels on the ground. Jeep Active Drive Lock, used only on Trailhawk and standard on that model, continues as well.
To further separate the Cherokee from the Compass, all buyers will get LED headlights — for both high and low beams (the 2017-18 Cherokee had standard HIDs on all but the Sport model).
A rumored Trailhawk Elite, not mentioned by Jeep in their official materials, will provide off-roaders with more gizmos and gadgets, including the hands-free power liftgate, memory mirrors and radio (so two drivers can each have their settings automatically applied), heated steering wheel and front seats, ventilated front seats, garage door opener, remote starter, alarm, and electric wiper de-icer — a feature whose helpfulness on icy mornings is hard to understate.
The Latitude / Plus have a standard 3.5 inch trip computer and 7-inch stereo screen; all higher models have a standard 7-inch “multiview” (trip computer/gauge) display and an 8.4 inch stereo, with navigation optional on Limited and Trailhawk but standard on Overland. Buyers of a Latitude Plus or higher can opt for an Alpine 506-watt, nine-speaker stereo; it’s standard on the Overland (on Trailhawk, buyers have to get the L Plus package to buy it). The standard setup is a six-speaker stereo with USB and plain audio input.
All 2019 Cherokees have at least one USB remote input; all but the base Latitude have dual USB ports in the rear of the console, one of which is for charging and the other for connecting. Filtered air conditioning is standard, but if you don’t get a Limited, you also get dual-zone automatic control with a humidity sensor and a better air filter.
The adaptive cruise control (with automatic braking) is included with the technology group, which itself is available on Limited and above. Blind spot monitoring and rear cross path detection are included with SafetyTec on Latitude/Plus, and standard otherwise. Lane departure warning is part of a package on Limited and above. Remote starting is part of various packages on most trims, standard on Limited and Overland.
Trailer towing is optional on all but the base Latitude, and includes heavy-duty engine cooling (except with the 2.4), an auxiliary transmission oil cooler, class III hitch, four and seven pin wiring, and a full-size spare.
The 2019 Jeep Cherokee’s body structure is around 65% high-strength steel.
Will these numbers be changed?
There are three axle ratios. The four cylinders all use 3.734:1. As for the V6:
All Cherokees have a 160 amp alternator, with 180 amps optional, and a 700-amp AGM type H7 battery. The front suspension is a McPherson strut design with coil springs, a single-piece subframe, aluminum lower control arms, and stabilizer; the rear is a four-link setup with a trailing arm, aluminum lateral links, isolated high-strength-steel cradle, coil springs, and a stabilizer bar. Steering is electrically assisted rack and pinion with a 37.6-to-38.1 foot turning diameter.
How much does the 2019 Jeep Cherokee weigh and tow?
With an aftermarket Class II hitch, the Cherokee can tow 2,000 pounds. With the trailer towing package and a type III hitch, though, the turbo Cherokee can tow 4,000 pounds and the V6 can tow 4,500 pounds.
See our New Jeep Cherokee (2014-19) forums and the 2014-18 Jeep Cherokee KL.
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