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2018 Jeep Cherokee

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2018 Jeep Cherokee Expert Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.1

The 2018 Jeep Cherokee is just one student in a crowded class that includes best-sellers like the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape. With a dozen other rivals in the compact-SUV segment, it can be difficult to stand out. Yet the Cherokee manages to do so, thanks largely to its inherent "Jeep-ness." That is, its rugged image isn't just for show. All models have an attitude for adventure, and properly outfitted such as in Trailhawk form, the Cherokee is a legitimate off-roader. In everyday commuting, the Cherokee is comfortable and quiet, and boasts a strong roster of tech and amenities. It's also one of the last small SUVs to offer a V6 engine, which is fortunate because the standard 4-cylinder can feel anemic.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you have an affinity for the outdoors or just want to look like you do, the 2018 Cherokee will back you up with its rugged looks and engineering chops that enable it to escape civilization. If you want a compact SUV with a V6, the Cherokee still offers one.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Subjectively, your eyes may not like the Cherokee's styling, and objectively this Jeep SUV has less interior room than a Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. If you prefer sportier, athletic manners, go for the Mazda CX-5. If you want Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, you'll also have to look elsewhere.

KBB Expert Ratings

  • 7.1
  • 6.9
  • 7.5
  • 7.4
  • 7.3
  • N/A
How It Ranks

#6

out of 11

Fuel Economy

#3

out of 12

Horsepower
View all rankings
2018 Jeep Cherokee Low/wide front photo What's New for 2018

Jeep has dropped the Sport trim from the 2018 Cherokee lineup, making the Latitude the new base model, and has added a step-up Latitude Plus trim. Trailhawk and Limited models gain standard features including blind-spot monitoring and rear parking sensors.

Driving the Cherokee
2018 Jeep Cherokee Front angle view photo
Driving Impressions

While you probably expect the Jeep Cherokee to stand apart from rivals like the Honda CR-V where the pavement ends, you might be pleasantly surprised to know...

... that it's quite comfortable and quiet on-road, too. It's not very fun to drive in corners, but it shines on the highway, taking some of the misery from a long commute. The standard 4-cylinder isn't very peppy, so bring patience for passing and getting up to speed. The optional V6 handles tasks better, but the 9-speed transmission that's linked to both engines can be hesitant but seems to be improving over earlier versions. If you are one for off-road adventures, or just live where snow and muddy roads are part of life, you'll appreciate the Selec-Terrain system on 4-wheel-drive models that optimizes the Cherokee for such conditions with the twist of a dial.

V6 ENGINE
The Jeep Cherokee is one of only two non-luxury compact SUVs to offer a V6 (Mitsubishi's Outlander is the other). Where its rivals have turned to turbocharged 4-cylinders for extra power, the Jeep gets it the old-fashioned way with extra cylinders and more displacement.

TOWING CAPACITY
Here's another reason to opt for the V6. With this engine, the 2018 Cherokee's towing capacity increases from 2,000 pounds with the 4-cylinder to 4,500 pounds, an impressive figure for a small SUV.

2018 Jeep Cherokee Details
2018 Jeep Cherokee Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

The Cherokee's 2-row/5-passenger interior blends traditional Jeep cues -- such as the trapezoidal "center stack" -- with modern touches to create an attractive and upscale layout. The front seats are surprisingly well-padded and comfortable. 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. On Latitude Plus and higher models, the front-passenger seat also folds. Still, the Cherokee can't touch cargo-carrying capacity of the CR-V: 54.9 cubic feet with rear seats folded, vs. 75.8 cubic feet in the Honda.

Exterior
2018 Jeep Cherokee photo

"Polarizing" is one way to describe the Jeep Cherokee, most notably regarding its headlights. 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, in favor of thin light housings that seem to squint. But there remain other Jeep characteristics, such as the 7-slot grille that folds it into the hood. The less-controversial rear resembles the Grand Cherokee SUV. Trailhawk versions kick up the attitude with a higher ride, red-painted front tow hooks, skidplates and more aggressive front and rear treatments.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

With 2018's trim shuffle, the Jeep Cherokee lineup now starts with the Latitude trim, which includes air conditioning, high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlights, 17-inch aluminum wheels and rearview camera. The basic Uconnect infotainment system includes a 5-inch display with rearview camera monitor, and 6-speaker audio system with AM/FM radio, USB/auxiliary inputs and Bluetooth connectivity. If you can afford the extra $1,900, you're better off in the new Latitude Plus trim, which includes the larger 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment system with SiriusXM satellite radio, cloth and leather seats, power driver's seat and 115-volt A/C.

Optional Equipment

Stepping up to the Cherokee Limited adds a power liftgate, blind-spot monitoring (both optional on Latitude Plus), power-adjustable driver's seat, dual-zone climate control, universal garage remote, 18-inch wheels and remote engine start. Cherokee Overland trims have premium leather seating, power-adjustable passenger seat, navigation, Alpine premium audio system and cornering fog lights. Cherokee Trailhawk trims add off-road-oriented features, including the Jeep Active Drive II system with Drive Lock and rock-crawling terrain mode. Options range from safety/driver-assist systems like adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist and automatic emergency braking to a dual-pane sunroof and ventilated front seats. Notably absent are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Under the Hood
2018 Jeep Cherokee Engine photo

Two engines are offered in the 2018 Cherokee. Standard is 2.4-liter Tigershark 4-cylinder that makes 184 horsepower, not a lot as this vehicle can top 4,000 pounds. Better suited is the 271-horsepower, 3.2-liter V6, standard on the 4x4 Overland and optional on all other models. Both engines use a 9-speed automatic transmission, whether equipped with front-wheel drive (FWD) or 4-wheel drive (4WD). Three different 4WD systems are available, starting with the base Jeep Active Drive I with a single-speed transfer case. Active Drive II has a 2-speed transfer case, while Active Drive Lock is reserved for the Trailhawk, which also includes the Rock mode in the Selec-Terrain system. The Cherokee is rated to tow 2,000 pounds with the 4-cylinder or 4,500 with the V6.

2.4-liter inline-4
184 horsepower @ 6,250 rpm
171 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/30 mpg (FWD), 21/28 mpg (4WD Active Drive I), 21/27 mpg (4WD Active Drive II), 19/25 mpg (4WD Trailhawk)

3.2-liter V6
271 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
239 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/29 mpg (FWD), 20/27 mpg (4WD Active Drive I), 18/26 mpg (4WD Active Drive II), 18/24 mpg (4WD Trailhawk)

The 2018 Jeep Cherokee has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $25,490, including destination charge. Adding 4WD is another $1,500. The more recommendable Latitude Plus trim begins at $27,390. The rugged Cherokee Trailhawk begins just over $32,000. At the top, a Cherokee Overland starts over $35,000 and can reach beyond $42,000 with options. At its starting price, the Jeep Cherokee is near those of the Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue and Toyota RAV4. The Subaru Forester, which comes with AWD standard, the Hyundai Tucson and Chevrolet Equinox have lower starting prices than the Cherokee. Ditto the Mitsubishi Outlander, the only rival to offer a V6. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their Jeep SUV. The Cherokee's resale value is expected to be about average or a little below, and far behind leaders like the Subaru Forester and Honda CR-V.

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