2015 Cherokee New Car Test Drive
Launched as a 2014 model, Jeep Cherokee gets some technological updates for the 2015 model year.
2015 Jeep Cherokee models with the 3.2-liter V6 engine now come with Stop-Start technology, intended to boost fuel economy. Also new for 2015, the Forward Collision Warning system adds low-speed crash mitigation. A rearview camera and automatic headlamps now are standard on 2015 Cherokee Latitude and 2015 Cherokee Trailhawk models. A new SafetyTec Group with Blind-spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path Detection as well as rear park assist is available for 2015 Cherokee Limited, Latitude, and Trailhawk models. In addition, a Ventilated/Memory Seat Group is optional on Trailhawk models with leather interior.
The 2015 Jeep Cherokee comes standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 184 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque, with fuel economy EPA-rated at 21/28 mpg City/Highway. Optional is the 3.2-liter V6 rated at 271 horsepower and 239 pound-feet of torque, EPA-rated at 20/28 mpg City/Highway with 4WD.
For daily driving, we like the four-cylinder, it's smooth and powerful enough. However, the V6 is only a bit thirstier. The advantage to the V6 is towing, rated to 4500 pounds, versus 2000 pounds for the four-cylinder.
All models come with a 9-speed automatic transmission. It's a compact marvel, raising the regular-car bar for transmission construction and packaging. We found it shifted smoothly.
The Cherokee Trailhawk offers amazing off-road capability, helped by electronic descent control for steep downhill sections. With its tall 4.7:1 ratio for first gear, the crawl ratio of 56:1 is nearly as high as the Wrangler's, useful in boulder fields and other rugged terrain.
Three four-wheel-drive systems are available: Active Drive I, with a one-speed Power Transfer Unit; Active Drive II with two-speed PTU and low range; and Active Drive Lock with two-speed PTU, low range and locking rear differential. The basic Active Drive I is all-wheel drive. The Selec-Terrain traction control system has five modes: Auto, Snow, Sport, Sand/Mud, and Rock.
As for looks, Cherokee doesn't get lost in the SUV crowd. Its designers delivered style and distinction while enhancing the iconic image. The Cherokee Latitude is less blingy than the Limited. Trailhawk says Jeep the loudest, with raised suspension, overfenders and painted tow hooks, plus it gets Jeep's Trail Rated status, meaning it has passed rigorous real-world off-road testing.
Behind the wheel, Cherokee feels tight. Smooth and solid with a firm ride. The four-cylinder has plenty of power for daily needs, and to cruise easily at freeway speeds. The V6 emits a bit of engine noise, but delivers strong acceleration performance. The V6 models offer good handling, but not as good as those with the lighter four-cylinder engine.
The 2015 Jeep Cherokee comes in Sport, Latitude and Limited models, each with front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, plus the Trailhawk 4×4, with offroad capability that's off the chart.
Cherokee Sport ($22,995) and Sport 4×4 ($24,995) come standard with manual air conditioning, air filtering, cloth seats with manual height adjustment, cloth door trim, reclining and fore-aft adjusting 60/40 rear seat, power windows with driver's one-touch down, power mirrors, remote keyless entry, 5-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth and media hub, LED taillamps and daytime running lights, halogen headlamps, electronic parking brake, 17-inch steel wheels with all-season tires, cargo tie-down loops, and black door handles.
Cherokee Latitude ($24,795) and Latitude 4×4 ($26,795) upgrade to air conditioning, power front windows with one-touch up and down, front passenger fold-flat seat with storage space, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, automatic headlamps, body-colored door handles and mirrors, bright molding and roofrails, tinted glass, fog lamps, rear backup camera, 17-inch painted aluminum wheels, and a 115-volt outlet.
Cherokee Limited ($28,595) and Limited 4×4 ($30,595) upgrade with leather-trimmed heated seats, dual-zone climate control, vinyl door trim, heated multi-function power mirrors, bright lower fascia accents, 18-inch polished aluminum wheels, 8-way with lumbar power driver's seat, 7-inch color instrument cluster, 8.4-inch touchscreen audio, and a cargo net with tonneau cover.
Cherokee Trailhawk ($30,095) comes standard with Jeep's Active Drive Lock 4×4 system with low range and locking rear axle, Selec-Terrain drive mode selector, Selec-Speed Control with hill ascent control and hill descent control, off-road suspension with increased ride height, underbody skid plates, heavy-duty cooling system, transmission oil cooler, off-road front and rear fascias, fender flares, tow hooks, skid plates, accent-color grille surrounds, roof rails, black moldings, 17-inch aluminum wheels with black painted pockets, all-terrain tires, full-size spare, backup camera, exclusive cloth interior with red accent stitching. Trailhawk equipment levels are similar to those of Limited, though Trailhawk comes with seats trimmed in cloth and leather. A Trailhawk off-road accessory kit is available, as are ventilated seats and a leather interior group.
Standalone options include a panoramic sunroof (not for Sport), CD player, and tonneau cover.
Safety equipment standard on all models includes 10 airbags, electronic stability control, electronic roll mitigation, and ABS. Optional safety features include ParkSense Parallel/Perpendicular Park Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control-Plus, Forward Collision Warning-Plus, LaneSense Lane Departure Warning-Plus; 9-1-1 assist call button; Blind-spot Monitoring; Rear Cross Path detection; ParkView rear backup camera with dynamic grid lines. Most optional safety features come in Technology Group or Safety Tec Group.