By Keith Buglewicz
KBB Expert Rating: 7.3
It's not surprising that off-road prowess is the ace-in-the-hole the 2015 Jeep Cherokee SUV boasts over rivals like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. After all, Jeep, more than any other SUV manufacturer, has a reputation to uphold. Yet the really surprising thing is that despite its off-road capability – especially the Trailhawk – the 2015 Jeep Cherokee gives up nothing on-pavement, where most drivers will spend their time. Offering a low-range and three different 4-wheel-drive systems that give it uncanny rock crawling ability for a small crossover SUV, the Jeep Cherokee also offers creature comforts that put it at the head of the class. Jeep tops it off with an available V6 engine and a class-exclusive a 9-speed automatic transmission.
If you think anything that looks like an off-roader should be an off-roader – especially if there's a Jeep badge on the nose – then the 2015 Jeep Cherokee SUV is for you.
If you're put off by the controversial front-end styling, if you need more interior space, or if you just don't care about off-road ability, then you might well make another choice.
All-new last year, the 2015 Jeep Cherokee gets a few additional features. Forward Collision Warning is now available, a backup camera and automatic headlights are standard on Latitude and Trailhawk models, and a new SafetyTec option package bundles various electronic aids for Latitude, Limited and Trailhawk models.
Driving Impressions The 2015 Jeep Cherokee crossover SUV comes in four models: Sport, Latitude, Limited and Trailhawk. The Trailhawk is only available in 4-wheel drive (4WD), while the other models can be...... had in front-wheel drive only. As you might expect from something that competes with a Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, a front-wheel-drive Jeep Cherokee is perfectly acceptable on the road around town. The 4-cylinder offers up adequate acceleration, while the power-hungry will prefer the V6. Yet order one of the three available 4WD systems and head off-road, and the Cherokee's character changes. The standard Selec-Terrain traction-control system allows drivers to choose settings for Snow, Sport, Sand/Mud and Rock, optimizing performance. An "Auto" setting uses sensors to choose for you, and all Cherokee models offer good approach and departure angles plus reasonable ground clearance, while the off-road optimized Trailhawk version ups the ante in each department.
9-SPEED AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION
Credit German transmission manufacturer ZF for the near-magical packaging that lead to the 9-speed automatic used in the Jeep Cherokee. Even better, it all works, offering smooth launches and excellent power delivery, plus fuel economy from the V6 that's as good as some competitors' 4-cylinder engines.
Part of the off-road prowess offered by the Jeep Cherokee is due to the Selec-Terrain system. It uses up to 12 different vehicle systems, including the drivetrain control module, electronic brake controller, electronic stability control, transmission, and powertrain controller to ensure maximum traction.
The 2015 Jeep Cherokee interior blends traditional Jeep cues – such as the trapezoidal "center stack" – with modern touches to create an attractive and upscale layout. The seats offer up good support, and come trimmed in either attractive cloth or soft Nappa leather. The heated and ventilated top-of-the-line seats also come with power adjustments and memory. The 2nd-row seats adjust forward and backward for better legroom, and split 60/40 for maximum cargo flexibility. We were particularly fond of the available wireless-device charging pad, plus the enormous glovebox. However, we do wish the Cherokee offered more room overall inside.Exterior
"Polarizing" is the best way to sum up the 2015 Jeep Cherokee's exterior. It's one thing to stray from the traditional Jeep design aesthetic of round headlights flanking a 7-slot grille, but quite another to ditch the appearance of headlights entirely. However, we've warmed up to the new Jeep Cherokee, and there's a lot here that says Jeep. The 7-slot grille has a "kink" folding it into the hood, and the less-controversial rear resembles the Grand Cherokee SUV. Trailhawk versions kick up the macho with a higher ride, red-painted front tow hooks, skidplates and more aggressive front and rear treatments.
All Jeep Cherokee SUVs come standard with a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, offering very good fuel economy and a range of about 500 miles on a tank of gasoline. Other standard equipment includes a Uconnect 5-inch touch-screen media center that includes Bluetooth, USB, SD and auxiliary ports. Also standard are a 3.5-inch full-color center display, 10 air bags, electronic stability control, traction control, Hill-start Assist, electric power steering, and an electric parking brake, plus cruise control, air conditioning with rear outlets, and remote keyless entry. The Jeep Cargo Management system includes standard hooks and a storage tote.
Jeep Cherokee Latitude, Limited and Trailhawk models can get the 3.2-liter Pentastar V6 engine. There are three all-wheel-drive systems available as well: Active Drive I, Active Drive II, and, on Trailhawk models, Active Drive Lock. Other upgrades include an 8.4-inch touch screen for Uconnect, an Alpine premium audio with nine speakers and a subwoofer, and a CommandView dual-pane panoramic sunroof with power sunshade. Cherokee Limited models add leather, heated power seats and steering wheel, Keyless Enter-N-Go, and 18-inch aluminum wheels. Trailhawk models emphasize off-road capabilities with skidplates, an increased ride height, and a more rugged look.
The base engine for 2015 Jeep Cherokee models is a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine offering 184 horsepower. However, unlike many of its competitors, Jeep offers a V6 engine in its small SUV as well: a 3.2-liter V6 with 271 horsepower, and the added ability to tow up to 4,500 pounds. Both engines offer good fuel economy, with the 4-cylinder obviously being the fuel-sipper's choice. Both engines come with a 9-speed automatic transmission, whether equipped with front-drive or 4-wheel drive. Three different 4-wheel-drive systems are available, ranging from the Jeep Active Drive I and Jeep Active Drive II, to the aggressive Jeep Active Drive Lock reserved for the off-road ready Trailhawk. V6 models get a modest fuel economy bump thanks to the new-for-2015 standard start-stop mechanism.
184 horsepower @ 6,250 rpm
171 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/31 mpg (front-wheel drive), 21/28 mpg (4WD Active Drive I), 21/27 mpg (4WD Active Drive II), 19/26 mpg (4WD Trailhawk)
271 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
239 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/29 mpg (front-wheel drive), 20/28 mpg (4WD Active Drive I), 19/26 (4WD Active Drive II), 19/25 mpg (4WD Trailhawk)
Prices for the 2015 Jeep Cherokee Sport, the base model for this SUV, start at about $23,000 for the front-wheel drive version. Midrange Cherokee Latitude models start at about $24,500, while Limited models start at about $28,000. If you want the off-road-ready Cherokee Trailhawk, bring $29,500. The 4-wheel-drive system on the other models adds around $1,000 to $2,000, depending on which system and model you get, while the V6 adds about $1,500. That's right in the heart of competitors like the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape and Toyota RAV4, none of which offer a V6 engine. If you're looking for serious off-roading chops and reasonable towing capabilities, the Cherokee is the choice, otherwise, note that some competitors offer more interior space. Be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase price to see what others paid in your area. Also note that the Cherokee's cost of ownership runs better than average.
By ctwin on Tuesday, March 24, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Cons: "Frustrating Experience on every level"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Buyer beware, this car has transmission issues. (look up 2015 jeep Cherokee transmission issues) I couldn't understand why my brand new automatic car was hesitating, shifting between gears slowly and running sluggish until it died on the side of the road, miles from home! Come to find out there is a software update issue. I waited 3 hours for Chrysler Road Side Assistance to come ( an hour a half later than they said) and was just told I may need a new transmission. Really?? Who cares if the car is under warranty. A brand new car with only 5000 miles should not break down.I am leasing this car and do not plan on ever leasing a jeep again. Unfortunately I have 2 and half years to go."
1 person out of 3 found this review helpful
By JFR on Monday, March 23, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, great value, 4wd, unique design"
Cons: "None of note really - perhaps a smallish trunk"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Owned the Cherokee Limited with the V6 engine since May last year and am very pleased with its performance, reliability and "fun to drive" factor. Previously drove a Land Rover and find the Cherokee better while costing '000s less. My advice is get either the Limited or Trailhawk version, as the lesser Cherokees lack some key equipment. Also get the V6 engine (this is a 4,000+ lb beast) and definitely get a 4x4 version (there are 3 to choose from). Also very nice are the Technology group with a lot of driver aides, Luxury group and the pano sun roof. Took a number of long distance trips and the car has been as solid as a rock. Performance in snow has been A++. Love the car and even more love the $$ saved in purchasing it."
By wish i liked it on Monday, March 16, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive, good tow to mileage ratio"
Cons: "the transmission has failed 4 times"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I loved this car for the combination of compact size, mileage, 4 WD and towing capacity. I researched it before buying and all seemed great. I like the way it drives and handles...when it works. I have had repeat transmission issues on the care since I bought it 7 months ago. It has been in 4 times and while the service department is easy to work with, the transmission continues to have the same problem where it drops out of gear and sometimes even stops while driving. I was patient with the recommended resolution but after 4 visits and still the same issue it is not safe to drive. They have said that it may need the transmission replaced but will only allow incremental repairs to rule out less expensive fixes before doing so. I cannot take the risk of having it stop and getting into an accident. Cutting my losses at this point."
7 people out of 11 found this review helpful