If the Cherokee’s friendly fascia looks familiar, that’s because Jeep’s compact crossover hasn’t changed much since its debut in 2014. It was Social Security eligible in car years. While 2023 marks the final year of the current KL Cherokee generation, the newest older Cherokee gets some new equipment under its aging sheet metal. As Jeep prepares to move past the aging Cherokee, it has two trim levels and a new powertrain. All-wheel drive is standard for this year across the Altitude Lux and Trailhawk offerings. Without its barebones base-level trim, the Cherokee’s starting price is now significantly more than competitors like the Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, and Kia Sportage, but at least Jeep makes up for some of that with standard comfort. A new 270-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine, offered exclusively for the Trailhawk, replaces the defunct V-6 and earns better fuel economy ratings. The Cherokee’s smooth ride and plenty of driver assistance aren’t enough to make it highly competitive against newer, more affordable competition, but it does offer credible off-road capability like no other—along with one of the strongest brand names in the SUV market.
What’s New for 2023?
Jeep is making serious changes in trim levels and powertrain to the Cherokee compact crossover for 2023. Now available in just two trims, the Altitude Lux and Trailhawk, the Cherokee completely dispenses with the previous Cherokee’s standard front-wheel drive base, which had a significant effect. at its initial price. The 271-hp V-6 is also gone, replaced by a 270-hp turbocharged 2.7-liter inline-four, available exclusively for its off-road-ready Trailhawk trim. The Altitude Lux comes standard with leather seats, heated steering wheel and remote start. Production for the current Cherokee, which has been largely unchanged on the current KL generation since its debut in 2014, will end in 2023.
Price and Which One to Buy
While the Trailhawk model is the most expensive way to own a Cherokee, it’s also the best way. The powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engine not only has a higher towing capacity, it also earns a higher EPA rating than the naturally aspirated 2.4-liter found in the Altitude Lux. Not only does the Trailhawk look tougher, but thanks to standard Jeep Active Drive Lock, which strengthens the drivetrain with a locking rear differential and a special traction mode for getting out of mud or rocky situations. The Trailhawk also has nearly an inch of added ground clearance, more aggressive tires, and a larger infotainment screen.
Engine, Transmission and Performance
The Jeep Cherokee uses a 180-hp 2.4-liter inline-four for its Altitude Lux trim, but gets a 270-hp 2.0-liter with 295 pound-feet of torque for its off-road Trailhawk offering. Both are paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission and come standard with all-wheel drive. While we haven’t tested either powertrain, its raucous 2.0-liter is one horsepower below the V-6 offered in last year’s Cherokee. As you’d expect from a Jeep, the Cherokee rides with sturdiness and sturdiness, making it feel bigger than its competitors. Relatively firm suspension settings control body roll in corners without compromising ride quality. Impact is absorbed without much excess echo, and the Jeep never feels like it’s floating on the road. We wish the steering provided more feedback from the road, but it’s well weighted and accurate. The feel of a solid brake pedal promotes calm in panic-braking scenarios, and the Cherokee’s 70-mph-to-zero emergency braking performance is average for its class.
Crane Capacity and Payload
Maximum towing capacity for the 2023 Jeep Cherokee is 4,000 pounds for Trailhawk models with the optional Trailer Tow Group equipment package. It’s 500 pounds lighter than last year’s Cherokee whose V-6 powertrain has a slight trailering advantage. This is still a huge advantage over rivals such as the Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, and Volkswagen Tiguan. In fact, the Cherokee compact crossover has a higher towing rating than large SUVs like the Jeep Wrangler and Ford Edge.
Real World Fuel and MPG Savings
The Cherokee has the worst fuel economy in its compact crossover-and-SUV segment, according to the EPA. The most fuel-efficient version comes with a 180-hp 2.4-liter inline-four; it gets the EPA-estimated 21 mpg city and 29 highway. The Trailhawk’s more powerful 270-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four scored less well, at 20 mpg city and 26 mpg on the highway. That’s 2 mpg better, for EPA city and highway, than the previously offered V-6-powered Trailhawk from last year. We have not bowed to any of the versions our 75 mph fuel-efficient route. For more information on the Cherokee’s fuel economy, visit EPA website.
Interior, Comfort and Cargo
With a supportive seat and easy-to-use controls, the Cherokee’s cabin feels comfortable. However, given that the Cherokee is larger on the outside than many of its competitors, we wish it felt more spacious on the inside. Small windows and high window sills contribute to the feeling of being confined. The Cherokee’s cargo area is smaller than most vehicles of this size, and interior cubby storage is average at best. It’s more difficult to load backwards than into some of its rivals because of the Jeep’s high lift-over height. In addition, its cargo area is significantly smaller than that of its main rivals such as Ford Escape (34 cubes) and Honda CRV (39).
Infotainment and Connectivity
The Uconnect infotainment system available on Jeep is the best in the business, with a well-organized menu and plenty of features. The standard touch screen measures 8.4 inches. Starting with the Latitude Plus trim, each model adds two USB ports at the rear of the center console for use by rear seat passengers. Every Cherokee has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and subscription-based Wi-Fi hotspots are available.
Safety and Driver Assistance Features
Jeep now provides a variety of standards driver assistance technology as well as some optional assists. For more information on Cherokee crash test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) website. Key safety features include:
- Standard forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking
- Standard lane departure warning and lane maintenance assistance
- Standard blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alerts
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
The Cherokee’s warranty coverage is average for its class. Competitors like Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson is the only rival to offer a significantly longer powertrain warranty. However, all models come with three years free maintenance.
- The limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles
- The powertrain warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
- Includes three years of free maintenance
2021 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk 4×4
front engine, all wheel drive, 5 passenger carriage, 4 doors
PRICE ACCORDING TO THE TEST
$42,525 (base price: $37,045)
DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injection
198 in33239 cm3
Suspension (F/R): struts/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 13.0-in vented disc/12.6-in disc
Tires: Firestone Destination A/T, P245/65R-17 105T M+S
Wheelbase: 107.1 in
Length: 182.9 inches
Width: 74.9 inches
Height: 67.8 inches
Passenger volume: 101 feet3
Cargo volume: 26 feet3
Curb weight: 4377 lb
CD TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 7.6 seconds
100 mph: 21.8 seconds
110 mph: 33.2 sec
1/4 mile: 15.8 seconds @ 88 mph
The above result removes 1 foot launch from 0.3 seconds.
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 7.9 seconds
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 3.8 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 5.6 sec
Top speed (limited governor): 114 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 183 ft
CD FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 17 mpg
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 21/18/24 mpg
More Features and Specifications