Cherokee Trailhawk Takes Off-Roading Upmarket

The Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk makes a great daily driver and an even better off-road ride.

  • Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk Review


    • What’s Best: Trailhawk Leather Plus has a great combination of ruggedness, off-road capability and interior refinement.
    • What’s Worst: Cargo volume is considerably less than many other mid-size crossovers.
    • What’s Interesting: You may not use it, but the Trailhawk provides off-road capability that others in the mid-size crossover segment can’t match.

When you think of a Jeep what words come to mind?

Rugged, distinctive, durable and off-road capable would be my first thoughts.

Jeep’s Cherokee lineup is all this and more with seven trim levels, starting at $27,695 for the Sport model and jumping to $40,395 for the top-shelf Overland edition that launched in 2016.

Tested here is the upscale Cherokee Trailhawk Leather Plus 4×4 with a base price of $35,645. All in with a number of option packages and the $1,795 destination charge, the final tally comes to $47,985.

Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk Review

Can you be all things to all people?

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) certainly thinks so with its Jeep brand that gives the buyer rugged, off-road capability with a touch of luxury and the latest technology thrown in for good measure.

Our Trailhawk Leather Plus edition is a perfect example.

Dressed in a brilliant Deep Cherry Red Crystal Pearl paint job on the outside and rich black leather interior, this mid-size crossover SUV 4×4 is equally at home headed to the symphony or the opera in the city or the most extreme off-road terrain you can throw at it up in cottage country.

Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk Review

Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk Review

One need only look at the Trail Rated badge on the front fender to know this is a tried and true Jeep that can walk the walk and talk the talk.

It has added ground clearance (220 mm) and skid plates on the undercarriage as well as Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist and one of Jeep’s three available four-wheel drive systems.

Jeep’s comprehensive lineup is proving successful in Canada if the month of July is any indication. Sales of the Jeep brand hit an all-time record of 9,842 units. Cherokee led the way with sales of 3,689 units.

Standard engine on the Cherokee is a 184 hp Tigershark 2.4-litre MultiAir inline four-cylinder. Our tester, though, featured the optional 3.2-litre Pentastar V6, making 271 hp and 239 lb/ft of torque, combined with a ZF nine-speed automatic transmission.

Also Read: A crossover for all seasons

The vehicle also came with the Customer Preferred Package 27L ($2,995) that adds goodies such as premium leather, heated/cooled front seats, Jeep off-road accessory kit, remote start, heated steering wheel, power liftgate, push button start with keyless entry dual zone climate control, auto-dimming rear view mirror with microphone, tonneau cover and a host of power features for the side mirrors and front seats.

Other options included blind spot/cross path detection ($895), trailer towing package ($495), panoramic sunroof ($1,595), 17-inch black aluminum wheels ($500), 8.4-inch Uconnect GPS navigation system ($700) and a well-priced technology package ($995) featuring forward collision warning with emergency braking, rain sensing wipers, lane departure/lane keep assist, auto high beam headlamps, adaptive cruise control with stop and go and a park assist system.

The Cherokee is offered with front- or four-wheel-drive, but our Trailhawk tester is available only with 4WD.

In all, there are three available four-wheel drive systems and all include Selec-Terrain traction management with settings for Auto, Snow, Sport, Sand/Mud and Rock.

Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk Review

With the V6, the Cherokee has a 2,041 kg (4,500 lb) towing capacity, 907 kg (2,000 lb) with the Tigershark four-cylinder engine.

Inside the cabin, FCA has come a long way with its Jeep brand. It now has a look and feel of quality, particularly in our Trailhawk Leather Plus tester and the optional technology package adds to the interior amenities.

The power front seats are comfortable and back-seat passengers have fairly generous legroom for a compact crossover, made better with fore and aft movement of the seat.

I particularly like the easy-to-use Jeep Uconnect system— it’s simple and intuitive with sharp graphics.

Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk Review

Cargo room is not the Cherokee’s strong suit with 696 litres behind the split folding second-row seats and 1,554 with the rear-seats folded.

On the road, the Trailhawk accelerates nicely with its V6 power, fairly quiet and smooth. It’s a heavy vehicle at more than 1,800 kg but handles like a much lighter one.

The weight comes into play with fuel economy. Natural Resources Canada provides numbers of 12.9/9.9/11.6 L/100 km city/highway/combined, making this a fairly thirsty mid-size crossover. We managed to come fairly close to these EnerGuide figures during our week with the vehicle.

We didn’t go off-road with the Trailhawk and probably neither will most buyers.

Also Read: Mazda5 offers solid alternative to crossovers

But just knowing the capabilities of these go-anywhere Jeeps makes it all worthwhile.

The Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk makes a great daily driver and an even better off-road ride.

In short it provides the best of both worlds for the adventurous buyer.

Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk Review

2017 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk 

BODY STYLE: Four-door, five-passenger mid-size crossover SUV.

DRIVE METHOD: Front-engine, four-wheel-drive.

ENGINE: 3.2L Pentastar V6 (271 hp, 239 lb/ft of torque) with a nine-speed automatic transmission.

FUEL ECONOMY: 12.9/9.9/11.6 L/100 km city/highway/combined.

TOW RATING: 2,041 kg (4,500 lb).

CARGO VOLUME: 696 litres behind second row, 1,554 litres with second-row seats folded.

PRICE: $35,645, as tested $47,985 including $1,795 destination charge.


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