The Cherokee name is a significant one, having been attached to one of the vehicles that, decades ago, created the SUV segment that now dominates the auto industry. Jeep brought it back in 2014 on a body whose controversial look apparently hasn't hampered the brand's success in the compact crossover segment, to the point this model returns for 2018 with no changes.
Perhaps it's Jeep's well-known reputation for off-road abilities that helps the Cherokee find homes in Canadian driveways: The rough-and-ready Wrangler serves as a halo vehicle that helps every other Jeep model project an image of competence and confidence that is a marketing department's dream.
In actuality, though, most Cherokee variants don't stray much from the norms for its segment. Powertrain options include a 2.4L four-cylinder (184 hp; 171 lb-ft of torque) and a 3.2L V6 (271 hp/239 lb-ft), both of which come standard with a nine-speed automatic transmission and either front- or four-wheel drive. All five trims -- Sport, North, Limited, Trailhawk and Overland -- come standard with the four-cylinder, but the Trailhawk gets 4WD as standard, and opting for 4WD in the Overland gets you the V6, too.
Fuel consumption estimates range from 11.0/7.8 L/100 km (city/highway) in four-cylinder FWD form to 12.9/9.9 in a Trailhawk model with the V6.
The Trailhawk trim is the off-road champ of the lineup, with off-road tires, low-range gearing and a locking centre differential, all of which give the Cherokee an edge over competitors that only offer on-demand AWD systems.
But the Cherokee also caters to buyers more interested in on-road comfort than extreme off-road abilities. Sport trim doesn't look like much with its 17-inch steel wheels, but it does come with the expected conveniences like air conditioning, Bluetooth, Uconnect infotainment with a five-inch touchscreen and six-speaker stereo and a cargo management system.
North trim adds alloy wheels, touchscreen climate controls, ambient LED interior lighting, automatic bi-xenon headlights, fog lights, leather-trimmed steering wheel, cruise control and satellite radio.
Trailhawk builds on the North model, adding items like off-road suspension, locking rear axle and 4x4 system, tow hooks and underbody skid plates.
Limited brings a gauge cluster with customizable LCD display, 18-inch wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated front seats and steering wheel, remote engine start, passive keyless entry, backup camera, 8.4-inch infotainment touchscreen, Nappa leather upholstery and a 12-way power driver's seat.
Overland is an upscale designation that trickled down from the larger Grand Cherokee. To the Cherokee it adds a power front passenger seat, acoustic windshield and front door glass, blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert, body colour exterior trim, an upgraded stereo and carpeting, rear park assist, wood-trimmed steering wheel, ventilated front seats and navigation.
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