The 2018 Jeep Cherokee comes in several different trims -- Latitude, Latitude Plus, Limited, High Altitude, Trailhawk, Overland and Trailhawk L Plus. Two engines are available and both front-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive are available across all trim levels.
The basic engine in the Cherokee is a 2.4L 4-cylinder unit that produces 184 horsepower. When mated to the standard (and industry-first) 9-speed automatic with front-wheel drive, the Cherokee is capable of up to 31 mpg on the highway. The more powerful engine option is a 3.2L V6, which produces 271 horsepower and gives the Cherokee quite good acceleration for its class. This engine features stop/start technology to help boost fuel economy and it is also mated to the same 9-speed transmission used in the 4-cylinder version.
The Latitude trim includes 17-inch aluminum wheels, body-colored exterior mirrors and door handles, projector beam fog lamps, roof rails and a rearview camera.
The Latitude Plus adds to that with an 8.4-inch Uconnect radio featuring a color touch screen, SiriusXM radio, keyless go, leather inserts in the cloth seats, a leather steering wheel and an 8-way power adjustable driver's seat.
Step up to the Limited trim and things begin to get quite luxurious. Limited Cherokees get leather seats, 18-inch polished aluminum wheels, heated front seats, heated exterior mirrors and a heated steering wheel, a nicer instrument cluster, an 8.4-inch color touchscreen display, an 8-way power adjustable driver's seat, satellite radio connectivity, dual-zone climate control and automatic headlights.
The High Altitude Cherokee is much like the Limited but adds blackout exterior trim, with gloss black alloy wheels, badges, lower grille and roof rack.
The Trailhawk edition steps away from luxury and instead concentrates on off-road capabilities. The Trailhawk Cherokee includes a much nicer 4-wheel-drive system, with a locking differential for ultimate grip in low traction environments. It also has more undercar protection and a one-inch lift in the suspension. Interior amenities echo what's included in the Latitude trim, plus exclusive seating with Nappa leather bolsters and red accent stitching, as well as a driver-configurable digital cluster display.
The Cherokee Overland rides on 18-inch wheels and includes a power liftgate, extra sound deadening material for a quieter ride, wooden steering wheel inserts, a leather-trimmed dash, Nappa leather seating with ventilated, power-adjustable front seats, navigation and a premium Alpine 9-speaker sound system.
Finally, the Trailhawk L Plus brings the off-road capability of the Trailhawk, along with ventilated and heated Nappa leather seats, heated steering wheel and mirrors, dual-zone climate control and a power liftgate.
Safety features on the Cherokee include anti-lock brakes, traction control, stability control, hill-start control and ten airbags. Optional safety features include a blind spot monitor, park assist, a forward collision warning system and a roadside assistance button.
Good Ground Clearance
The Jeep Cherokee remains essentially unchanged for 2018, though some of the trim levels have been reshuffled. Most notably the Latitude trim now occupies the lowest rung on the Jeep Cherokee ladder, while the Latitude Plus trim joins the lineup for this year.
The Cherokee is a compact SUV competing with vehicles such as the Toyota RAV4 and the Honda CR-V. Like the Cherokees that came before, the 2018 model maintains the tradition of competitive pricing and strong off-road capability starting at just under $24,000. While the Cherokee and its competitors are often offered with all-wheel drive, the Cherokee offers more aggressive off-roading equipment, such as a locking rear differential.