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2019 Jeep Cherokee: New face, turbocharged engine

by Patrick Rall on

The 2019 Jeep Cherokee was introduced today at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit with a new front end, hatch, and 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. The refreshed Cherokee also has a few other refinements that, frankly, don’t matter nearly as much as the new headlights, tailgate, and engine.

2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk

Minor Upgrades for the 2019 Cherokee

Before getting into the key improvements made to the 2019 Jeep Cherokee, let’s run through the less significant changes for the mid-cycle refresh.

The rear cargo area panels have been massaged, creating more cargo space and getting things into that enlarged compartment is easier thanks to the lightweight, hands-free power lift gate. The interior also benefits from more storage compartments, new Satin Chrome and Piano Black trim and the 4th generation UConnect system. This new infotainment package includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, along with the buyer’s choice of a 7- or 8.4-inch touchscreen with pinch-to-zoom controls.

2019 Jeep Cherokee Limited interior

The 2019 Jeep Cherokee also gets a new dual-pane sunroof and five new wheel choices with unique 19-inch wheels on the Overland models.

Those improvements are all nice, but the biggest change is found up front with the revised front end.

The New Face of the Cherokee

Since hitting the market in 2013 as a 2014 model year vehicle, the new Jeep Cherokee has proven to be one of the brand’s bestsellers. The only real complaint from the critics pertained to the exterior styling – specifically the unusual headlight design. As you likely know, the 2014-2018 Cherokee has a unique split-unit headlight system, with one set of lights mounted atop the fenders and a second set mounted in the middle of the front bumper area. There are also fog lights mounted in the lower front fascia, making for an unusual design with six separate lighting units across the front end.

2019 Jeep Cherokee Limited

That unique front end is gone and the 2019 Cherokee has LED-lined headlights mounted high on the front end, flanking the re-sculpted seven-slot grille. The fog lights have been shifted upwards as well, sitting in the middle of the bumper area, creating a look that fits in with the rest of the Jeep lineup far better than the current face. Of course, the lower front fascia has been refreshed as well, completing the mid-cycle facelift for the popular mid-sized SUV.

I don’t dislike the split-style headlights, but I far prefer this new, more traditional front end.

The New Turbocharged Engine

The 2019 Jeep Cherokee will be offered with three engines. The first two are the 2.4L Tigershark 4-cylinder and the 3.2L Pentastar V6 that are currently available, both of which offer comparable power to the 2018 Cherokee. The V6 still has 271 hp and 239 lb-ft of torque, and the 2.4L Tigershark has 180 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque, but the big news is the new 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder.

The turbocharged 4-cylinder is similar to the unit in the newest Wrangler, but the Cherokee version doesn’t come with the eTorque system. It does, however, boast 270 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, likely making this the most entertaining engine from a driver’s perspective — with one horsepower less than the V6, and 56 pound-feet more.

All three engines in the 2019 Cherokee come with an upgraded-software version of the 9-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission, feeding a variety of four-wheel-drive systems.

2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk

So far, availability information has not been announced, but we can expect to see the 2019 Jeep Cherokee in dealerships well before the end of this year.  More photos and details

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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