Jeep Cherokee
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jeepOverall
The Cherokee basks in its glorious return as Jeep hasn’t needed to change anything yet; still top-notch at navigating difficult on- and off-road terrain.

Drivetrain
A Fiat-based 2.4-liter four-cylinder is supplemented by a 3.2-liter-V6 option; standard nine-speed automatic transmission helps reduce fuel consumption while three optional 4×4 systems supply a range of traction needs.

The Jeep Cherokee brand returned like a flaming phoenix and proved such a positive boost for everyone involved. Although contentious with some critics, the Cherokee has some seriously modern sculpting going on. All by itself, the pinched and pointy-nose grille says plenty about the risk that Jeep’s designers took to create the Cherokee. Then there are the eyelet headlights that would have been impossible to imagine on any production car, Jeep or otherwise. The interior is also as modern as the outside. All but the most basic Cherokee models feature 5.0- or 8.4-inch touch-screens, depending on the trim level, that operate climate, communications and infotainment systems. Base models get a Fiat-designed 2.4-liter four-cylinder worth 184 horsepower. Optional is a 3.2-liter V6 that’s rated at 271 horses. It’s a subset of Chrysler’s 3.6-liter V6 that’s the base engine in the larger Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Ram pickup. In the Cherokee’s case, ordering the V6 provides a 4,500-pound towing capacity. Both engines are connected to nine-speed automatic transmissions, which was the first use of that gear changer in any Chrysler product. Front-wheel-drive is the norm, but buyers can choose from three different four-wheel-drive setups, depending on trim level. Active Drive I, optional in the Sport, Latitude and Limited editions, is a single-speed unit that kicks in automatically whenever tire slip is detected. Active Drive II, also available in the same models, comes with a two-speed transfer case and is designed for off-road use with either the four- or six-cylinder engines. But for rock crawling and boulder hopping, Active Drive Lock, as the name implies, locks up the rear differential in low range. This system is standard in the Cherokee Trailhawk, which is a “Trail Rated” rig outfitted with an off-road suspension (increases ride height by an inch), skid plates, unique alloy wheels with all-terrain rubber, blacked-out trim and a full-size spare tire. All 4×4 systems include Selec-Terrain traction control with five different settings to match the kind of ground you’re covering (snow, sand, mud, etc.).