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2019 Jeep Cherokee: can it perform off-road?

by Patrick Rall on

FCA transported us to California to test the 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk in some rough, off-road terrain.

As Jeeps go, the Cherokee is one of the models that is less likely to see heavy duty off-road time, but we have seen more than a few examples of current Cherokee owners playing on the trails. For those people, and to bolster the whole “trail rated” marketing approach, the Jeep engineers made sure that the 2019 Cherokee could at least out-perform any other SUV in the class in off-road settings.

2019 Cherokee on steep hill

According to one Jeep rep, the 2014 Cherokee even passed the “Rubicon test,” triumphing over Chelsea’s replica of the most challenging parts of the trail circa 1997.

To show us how well the 2019 Cherokee Trailhawk performs in rough terrain, we used an off-road course comprised of heavy rocky areas, deep mud, uneven trenches, and loose, sandy footing. This course wasn’t as rough as the one on which we tested the new Wrangler last month, but it’s likely much harsher than the land most privately-owned Cherokees will ever see.

2019 Jeep Cherokee off-road

As you might imagine, the 2019 Cherokee Trailhawk did well on the off-road course, showing off its Hill Descent Assist and tough, rigid body in grand fashion. The engineers compensated for the limited (by Jeep Wrangler standards) articulation with clever traction controls, as you can see in the shot above.

Not only is the Cherokee a solid midsized off-road machine, but with the help of its off-roading gadgets, it makes tackling the rough terrain easier for those folks who are unfamiliar with playing in the mud, dirt and rocks.

A Better Cherokee

The most significant change for the 2019 Jeep Cherokee lineup is the new face, and this more conventional front end design will likely draw in more buyers, but the retuned suspension, the retuned transmission and the new 2.0L turbocharged engine all work together to make this midsized SUV a better driver on- and off-road.

2019 jeep cherokee climb

As a simple daily driver, the Cherokee’s roomy cabin loaded with premium features will more than suit the needs of most buyers and for those folks, the 2019 model offers great driving dynamics. For those who demand a bit more out of their Jeep, this new Cherokee has the same off-road pedigree as the rest of the brand’s lineup with help from the turbocharged engine – making this midsized SUV a better all-around choice than the version it is replacing.

Patrick Rall was raised a Mopar boy, spending years racing a Dodge Mirada while working his way through college. After spending a few years post-college in the tax accounting field, Patrick made the jump to the world of journalism and his work has been published in magazines and websites around the world.

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