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Jeep updates Cherokee compact SUV to compete in hot market

Jeep updates Cherokee compact SUV to compete in hot market

Today at the Detroit Auto Show, Jeep unveiled the latest iteration of the Cherokee, a compact SUV for folks who want the option of off-road prowess to go with their family-hauling duties.

When the Jeep Cherokee made a return in late 2013 as a replacement for the boxy Jeep Liberty, reactions were mixed on the crossover's styling.

"The SUV segment is highly competitive, and the Cherokee is extremely important to helping Jeep regain market share".

There is still more catching up to do.

Driver's aids remain the same as previous year.

The composite liftgate saves 18 pounds, and sits above a new, "cleaned up" rear fascia, and dual exhausts on the 2019 Jeep Cherokee Limited model. "It will feel like a new auto".

Aside from a less polarising front end, which ditches the outgoing model's unusual split headlight setup in favour of more conventional one-piece clusters, the new Cherokee also gets a lighter aluminium bonnet and composite tailgate, a new dual pane panoramic sunroof, five new wheel designs and a cleaner rear end created to be more in line with the smaller Compass and bigger Grand Cherokee.

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You'll immediately notice that the mid-cycle refresh to the 2019 Jeep Cherokee has thrown out the weird headlights and in its place is more conventional lighting. The shape of the new taillights isn't dramatically different, but an LED ribbon and a subtle slatted-grille motif appears in each one, while the clear design ties in more closely with Compass. All halogen lights have been replaced by LEDs, even on base models. A simple kick under the bumper opens the rear door.

There are five new wheel designs - including a 19-inch option - along with a new front fascia, hood, and LED headlamps, daylight and fog lamps. But he also said, during a backgrounder on the new compact ute, that its beauty is more than skin deep and that there are other notable updates to the 2019 model. FCA touts an all-new 2.0-liter direct-injection, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine that can generate 270 horsepower and 295-pounds of torque.

Pricing and fuel economy figures were not announced.

All powertrains will now be paired to a gas-stingy nine-speed automatic transmission.

For other models, there are two different Active Track Drive systems to enhance traction, whether on-road or off, Jeep noted. Jeep Active Drive II offers a 4-Low mode that locks the front and rear driveshafts for low-speed power or towing. Active Drive Lock adds a locking rear differential for gnarlier off-road conditions. It will be fun to see whether tall sport sedan as halo (Ford Edge ST) or serious off-roader as halo (Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk) proves more popular. That includes an all-new turbo-four engine with stop-start technology to improve fuel economy, and improvements to the Jeep Cherokee's onboard technology.

Trailhawk is nearly a separate model within the Jeep family, and on the 2019 Cherokee, that model sits higher with wide fender flares, new wheels and dedicated 17-inch off-road tires. and the 2019 Cherokee Trailhawk has standard red tow hooks and there is a forged tow/recovery hook in the back.

The Cherokee gets a mild redo on the interior, but nothing too dramatic. The Overland has a softer instrument panel, satin chrome accents and matte piano black surfaces. Each is compatible with Android Auto and Apple Carplay, but only the top tier unit comes with navigation. A welcome touch is the addition of more room for a phone near the charger and the addition of a rear USB port. That'd be double what Jeep delivered as recently as 2014 and more than triple its volume when Chrysler was taken over by Italy's Fiat at the beginning of the decade. Available on the new Jeep are parallel/perpendicular parking assist, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, blind spot monitor with cross-traffic detection, and a backup camera to name a few.


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