- Compact SUV offers four-cylinder or V-6 engine
- Three available different four-wheel drive systems to choose from
- Nine-speed automatic transmission standard
Though there are many options in the compact SUV segment, none of them off the off-road capability you will find with the 2016 Jeep Cherokee.
The Cherokee, which debuted two years ago as a 2014 model, gets unique styling that is unlike anything else in the Jeep lineup. Instead of a rugged, squared-off appearance the Cherokee is smoother and gets a frameless seven-slot grille up front that is flanked by very slim headlight clusters. 17-inch steel wheels come standard, with 17- and 18-inch alloys also available. If you plan to take the Cherokee off-road, underbody skid plates are optional, as are a panoramic moonroof and power liftgate.
Under the hood the 2016 Cherokee has two engine options. The base engine is a 184-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder, while for those who want more power a 271-hp, 3.2-liter V-6 is also offered. For 2016, the V-6 adds stop-start engine technology for greater fuel efficiency. Both engines are mated to a nine-speed automatic, which is the only transmission option. Front-wheel drive is standard, but there are three different four-wheel drive systems available that range from a relatively basic one with a single power transfer unit that controls torque between the front and rear wheels, to a more robust system that adds a locking rear differential and Selec-Terrain traction control, which offers up to five customized suspension and crawl settings for different environments.
Inside, the Cherokee seats five passengers and has 24.6 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear seats which puts it in the lower section of the segment. Standard features include air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity (with audio streaming), USB port, cloth upholstery, a 5-inch touchscreen for the audio system, and power windows/locks. The Cherokee is offered in several trims: Sport, Latitude, Limited, and Trailhawk, which is the most ruggedly equipped and designed to handle off-road conditions. Optional interior equipment includes leather seating surfaces, heated/ventilated front seats, a larger 8.4-inch touchscreen, dual-zone automatic climate control, navigation, and a wireless charging pad.
Standard safety features include ten airbags, antilock brakes, and electronic stability and traction control. There is also plenty of available safety technology, including front/rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, lane departure warning, forward collision warning with automatic braking, and an automatic parking system.