The earlier generations of the Jeep Cherokee struggled compared to its rivals.
So, for the latest generation, Jeep has done some incredible upgrades to improve things like fuel economy, cargo space, and performance. For this generation, almost everything has been value-added, though it does share some engine options with the previous generation of the Jeep Cherokee.
From the first generation through the fifth generation, the Jeep Cherokee has always been a unibody SUV. That’s definitely a defining characteristic compared to a rival like the Lexus GX.
Now, let’s see if all the changes the company has made have improved Jeep Cherokee reliability.
What Is the Jeep Cherokee?
This is a compact SUV that prioritizes offroad capability above its competitors. This unibody sport utility vehicle has a cohesive look.
It has evolved over the years from a full-size SUV to a crossover sport utility vehicle. The Cherokee features five generations since it was introduced into the market in 1974, including the SJ (1974 to 1983), XJ (1984 to 2001), KJ (2002 to 2007), KK (2008 to 2013), and KL (2014 to present).
On the inside, the Cherokee sports a fashionable design that is more car-like than rugged, designed around impeccable quality as well as comfort.
Jeep Cherokee Reliability
Let’s look at some key points that will help us establish Jeep Cherokee reliability:
How Does It Look?
When this SUV was reintroduced into the market in 2014, it looked kind of weird with a few interesting features. In the current model year, however, it is far more attention-grabbing with some advanced attributes. It has a very handsome look that makes for a stylish and attractive crossover.
The current model year comes with the Jeep’s signature seven-slot grille in the front and full LED headlights. You’ve got a brand new composite bonnet and liftgate, which saves a little bit of weight. The body is the same width as the last generation. On the side, the SUV has the classic rear-wheel drive.
How’s the Storage?
One of the things that Jeep has focused on for the present Cherokee was improving the cargo area. This includes making the opening and storage compartment a little bit wider.
With a cargo space of up to 27.6 cubic feet, you can lay down a bag of golf clubs. But we still think this isn’t a class-leading cargo space, considering that other brands have a cargo space of up to 39.2 cubic feet. With the second row of seats folded down, you get an increased cargo space of up to 54.7 cubic feet, which is still average.
Cargo capacity is one of the compromises that you will see in this SUV. A lot of that has to do with the height of the load floor. You will notice it is pretty high because the Cherokee was engineered to accommodate offroad trails.
Apart from the cargo space, this SUV has impressive multi-compartmented storage, which makes organizing much easier.
Is the Cherokee Roomy?
The SUV feels plenty roomy in the front. The seats are quite high and you have a commanding view of the road from both the driver’s and passenger’s seats.
The rear seats are also spacious for adult passengers. But they are a little bit high, reducing the headroom. The legroom, on the other hand, is just enough. The driver and passenger in the front have up to 41.1 inches of legroom for stretching out during long drives. On the rear, passengers can enjoy a relaxing legroom of up to 40.3 inches.
What’s the Interior Like?
All the materials inside the SUV look and feel great. You get nice soft leather seats on high-end trim levels. The interior, in terms of design and feel, is at or above average for this vehicle.
The driver and front passenger seats have height-adjustable shoulder belts and large two-way adjustable headrests. You get moderate bolstering on the seat bottom and back cushions. The interior design is very monochromatic, but there’s a lot of soft-touch material. You have a soft touch on the upper section of the door, the armrests, and the inserts behind the armrests.
The dashboard design looks and feels amazing. You’ve also got a soft touch on the upper section of the dashboard.
The high-end trim levels have dual-panel panoramic glass, which provides a wider viewing surface. You can conveniently open the front panel rearward to provide extra light and fresh air to first-row passengers. The rear fixed panel allows open-viewing and light for second-row passengers.
Is the Jeep Cherokee Well-Equipped?
The Cherokee is pretty much fully loaded and packs all the important features we have come to expect from modern crossovers.
These include convenience features like a power liftgate, remote starting, premium touches like heated and cooled front seats, a heated steering wheel, and a giant sunroof. Active safety technologies include pre-collision braking, self-parking, low tire pressure warning, lane-keep assist, park view backup camera, rear child safety locks, airbag occupancy sensor, and dual-stage front airbags among others.
What’s the Infotainment System Like?
The Cherokee infotainment system works flawlessly in every situation with lots of functionality, swift responses, and crisp graphics. The fourth generation of the Uconnect touchscreen system supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Sometimes when you look at the screen, it may seem a little bit crowded, but it is very easy to understand. It is simple to navigate with snappy reactions.
But using the interface to pull up things like the ventilated seats or heated steering wheel is a little more complicated than if we just had dedicated buttons. Though climate controls can be manipulated on the screen, Jeep has also included redundant physical controls.
The radio controls are pretty cool. You can replay your favorite song and rewind as much as you want. Then, press the live button to go back to the live radio channel.
Under settings, the system allows you to customize the UConnect so that it works the way you want. One of the things we truly like is under safety and driving assistance, where you can customize all your drivers’ aids. You can activate forward-collision warning and lane sense warning among other things.
Jeep Cherokee On & Off-Road Performance
The SUV’s on and off-road performance has always been great for most Cherokee enthusiasts.
What Is It Like for Daily Driving?
It is a good daily driver and that starts with pleasant ride quality. On the road, the Cherokee performs close to or equal with the best in the segment.
On twisty roads, the steering, suspension, and brakes all perform well. The changes to the cabin insulation have created a more premium, quieter environment, which changes the way the SUV feels from the driver’s seat.
One of the engineering changes to the latest model year is that it is a little bit lighter because the engineers pulled out a lot of weight. This makes the ride much easier to control and very comfortable.
Even though the SUV comes with an engine stop/start feature to save a little bit of fuel, it is quite unobtrusive. You can turn it off if you want to.
What’s the Fuel Economy Like?
Thanks to the improved aerodynamics and reduced weight, Jeep Cherokee’s fuel economy edges up a little bit. A 2-liter all-wheel-drive model should return around 21 mpg when driving in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. These figures are good, but not the best in class.
Is It Offroad Capable?
The Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk is built for great offroad performance. It really shows its offroad intentions with its all-terrain tires, tow hooks, and overall stance.
The Cherokee’s performance offroad is truly impressive. The crawl mode exceeded our expectations on a riverbank. It works pretty well, you don’t even have to touch the throttle or the brakes. It just holds the SUV at the desired speed.
It was even more interesting driving the Cherokee up a sandy hill. Once we engaged the locking rear differential feature, we didn’t spin out or lose traction. The rear locking differential did a great job of controlling the slip between the left and right wheels on the rear axle.
Top Cherokee Problems
Over the years, Cherokee owners have recorded several issues with the SUV.
The first one is engine stalling or shutting down on the 2014 Jeep Cherokee after an average mileage of 36,000 miles. The second one is rough shifting on the 2014 model after an average mileage of 16,000 miles. Of course, these are issues with older Cherokees. So, just keep in mind that some issues do carry over to new models and generations.
There’s one issue, though, that has been experienced in the modern generation. That’s the 9-speed transmission suffering from wiring harness defect, lurching problems, and hard shifts. You might also want to check out the best year for Jeep Grand Cherokee.
So, Is the Jeep Cherokee Reliable?
On a scale of 1 to 5, our Jeep Cherokee reliability rating would be 4 out of 5. Despite the improvements that we have seen in the new generation and models, the Jeep Cherokee still doesn’t offer quite as much cargo room or as impressive fuel economy as its rivals. And the automatic transmission doesn’t always perform flawlessly.