You can see the reasoning behind the adoption of midsize utes, especially ‘round these parts, what with our magnificent potholes (a lot of people don’t know this, but Alberta’s provincial flower is actually a pothole) and also my city’s latest safety innovation – giant speed bumps that’ll rip a low slung car to shreds at speeds over 10km/h
There is also the height advantage over traditional sedan-style vehicles; which makes for better sightlines looking out from the driver’s seat, but also allows for easier entry and exit from the vehicle. If you’re like me, you know a lot of older people, and the one thing they point out in any car I show them is that squat/crouching into a low door becomes increasingly uncomfortable with age.
Even I increasingly notice this as well, despite being a fresh-faced cherub whose limbo skills are still topnotch, and I dislike having to grab the pillars and hoist myself out of a car like I was mounting a pommel horse.
Anyway, that’s not the big picture here, let me run it down:
For 2019 the Cherokee gets a new engine choice in its lineup – a 2.0L turbo four-cylinder that delivers pretty spectacular performance with a max 270 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque – combined with a 9-speed automatic transmission. There are two other engines available for the Cherokee lineup (2.4L and a 3.2L six-cylinder).
I’ll vouch for the 2.0L in my test vehicle, it gets the Cherokee off the line quickly and remains ready for sudden bursts of acceleration even at highway speeds; but also brings unexpected fuel economy.
The company states a NRCan rating of 9.8L/100 km for the engine – which is really good for any 4×4 vehicle, and I got slightly better than that from the one I drove (mind you, for the most part it was just me in the Cherokee, without any sort of load and not towing anything, so expect it to go up if you regularly transport the up-to-five people the vehicle’s seating is configured for).
Speaking of seating, the Cherokee used here was a North 4×4 trim, which got fabric upholstered seats throughout. Black-on-black styling made for a pretty dark interior, but all the surfaces feel good and the seats in both rows are comfortable and acceptably roomy.
From the driver’s position, you get fairly good all round visibility, helped out by the backup camera, but this one lacked a few features I would have liked to see, especially at the pricepoint of this one; most notably a rear cross-traffic sensor.
I didn’t mind the Cherokee experience, overall, the overall footprint of it is comparable enough to an average sedan, so daily driving and maneuvering isn’t as clumsy as a truck or full-size utility vehicle.
The ride is very good, and stays smooth on all road surfaces (and, it handles those speed bumps I mentioned earlier with ease). There is an engine start/stop function that helps bolster fuel economy, especially in city driving.
The exterior appearance has improved for 2019 (especially the headlamps – this looks way better than those slitty little lights on the previous generation).
A list of things I didn’t care for in my North 4×4 test vehicle would include:
It didn’t have heads-up display. There was a big digital speed readout that could be displayed on the cluster, though, so maybe that isn’t a big deal for most people, but I like my HUDs.
The information touchscreen on the center console is by today’s standards, small. The rear seats don’t fold fully flat when put forward, so the cargo floor is uneven. The power rear door doesn’t have a button to close it on the door itself, so you have to use either the keyfob or the button on the dash.
Finally, this may be a difficult car for a buyer to spec out – I’ve included the sheet that came with this one here, so you can check out the list of options (and if you want further puzzles, check out the company website for a list of the options/powertrains/trim levels).
This one here though, a 2019 “North” trim 4×4 with the turbo 2.0L and three of the option groups, came to $44,115