The Jeep Cherokee is a crossover that can actually do some real off-roading. What do you need to know before you buy a Jeep Cherokee? Don’t worry, we’ll tell you everything right here in the Ultimate Buyer’s Guide.
The Jeep Cherokee is the best selling Jeep of all time. No, not the squinty looking one you see on this page, but the Cherokee XJ — the boxy, iconic Jeep designed by the cowboys over at American Motors Company along with a few frenchmen over at Renault. That Cherokee, which launched in 1984, was a tectonic plate shift for the mid-size SUV segment. AMC and Chrysler sold over 2.8 million over the 17 year span, and “Jeep Cherokee” became a household name.
Fast forward to 2013, Jeep resurrected the name and showed off their new Cherokee, the KL. With fully independent suspension, a front-wheel drive based crossover platform, and rack and pinion electric power steering, this new Cherokee was very different from the ubiquitous Cherokee of yore, and many diehards were completely offended. “Blasphemy!” they shouted. “That’s not a real Cherokee!” they exclaimed.
But even though the Cherokee started off on the wrong foot and people initially lamented its polarizing styling, the KL is selling very well. And for good reason. It offers real off-road capability with its low-range gearing, good approach and departure angles, and mechanical locking rear differential. Not to mention, the interior quality is pretty decent, and the car-based platform makes itself known on pothole-ridden Detroit roads, where the ride is quite smooth. Also, it looks pretty badass in Trailhawk Trim.
The Cherokee was all new last year in 2014, and not much has changed for the 2015 model year. The biggest change is the fuel-saving Engine Stop-Start system that is now standard on all 3.2-liter models. Smaller additions for 2015 include an available forward collision warning, and a standard backup camera on all trim levels other than Sport.
Jeep offers only two engines in their Cherokee: a 2.4-liter Tigershark inline four and a 3.2-liter Pentastar V6. The 2.4-liter is a bit underpowered, but the six feels much better matched for this 4,000 pound crossover.
All Cherokees come with a somewhat problematic 9-speed automatic transmission. And while the transmission has seen quite a few software updates since its launch, it still occasionally surprises you with a weird, jerky shift.
2015 Jeep Cherokee Engine Options
Engine Max Horsepower (hp) Max Torque (lb-ft) 2.4L I4 184 @ 6400 rpm 171 @ 4600 rpm 3.2L V6 271 @ 6500 rpm 239 @ 4400 rpm
The Cherokee doesn’t do so well in the fuel economy department when compared to its peers. Many competitors manage combined fuel economy in the high 20s, but the Cherokee barely manages to nip 25 MPG combined. This is probably due to its heft and size.
2015 Jeep Cherokee Fuel Economy Ratings (City/Highway/Combined)
_ 2.4L I4 3.2L V6 Fuel Economy — Non-Trailhawk 22/31/25 [2wd]
15/23/18 [E85 2wd]
15/21/17 [E85 4wd]
Fuel Economy — Trailhawk 21/27/23 [4wd] 19/26/22 [4wd]
All Cherokees come with a multilink rear suspension, McPherson Strut front suspension, and electric power steering. Front disks are ventilated 13 inch rotors, and rears are either 10.95 or 12.5 inch solid disks.
Cherokees come in five trims: Sport, Latitude, Altitude, Limited, and Trailhawk.
- Sport: Base model. Starts at $23,095. Notable standard features: 9-speed automatic transmission, 2.4-liter I4 engine, 2-wheel drive, cloth seats, 17 inch steel wheels, 6-speaker audio system, 5 inch touchscreen for Uconnect in-car communication system, projector headlamps, trailer sway damping, front and side airbags, hill start assist. Notable options: 4-wheel drive ($2,000); Cold weather group: block heater, heated seats, steering wheel, mirrors, remote start ($795); Trailer Tow Group: Aux transmission cooler, class III hitch, full size spare, trailer wiring ($495); Sport Appearance Group: 17 inch aluminum wheels, roof rails ($595); Rear backup camera ($345).
- Latitude: Starts at $25,095. Notable standard features over Sport: 17 inch aluminum wheels, leather wrapped steering wheel, fog lamps, backup camera. Notable options: 3.2-liter V6 ($1,745); 4-wheel drive ($2,000); Off-road suspension with Active Drive II 4x4 system ($995); Cold Weather Group ($795); Trailer Tow Group ($495); Comfort and Convenience Group: automatic temperature control, proximity keyless entry, power driver’s seat, power liftgate, security alarm, satellite radio, remote start, auto dimming mirror ($1,745); SafetyTec Group: Blind spot detection, heated mirrors, rear park assist ($1,045); power driver’s seat ($295); Panoramic sunroof ($1,595+Comfort and Convenience Group); 8.4 inch Uconnect touchscreen ($795); 9-speaker stereo with subwoofer ($395).
- Altitude: Starts at $25,696. Notable standard features over Latitude: Black exterior trim, 18 inch black aluminum wheels. Same options as Latitude.
- Limited: Starts at $28,895. Notable standard features over Altitude: Unique 18 inch aluminum wheels, heated power leather trimmed seats, automatic temperature control, heated steering wheel, 8.4 inch Uconnect touchscreen, remote start, proximity keyless entry. Notable options: 3.2-liter V6 ($1,745); 4-wheel drive ($2,000); Off-road suspension with Active Drive II 4x4 system ($995); SafetyTec Group ($995); Trailer Tow Group ($495); Luxury Group: HID headlamps, memory seats, memory radio, memory mirrors, power liftgate, premium leather seats, ventilated front seats ($1,745); Technology Group: adaptive cruise control, automatic high beam control, collision warning with crash mitigation, lane departure warning, park assist, rain sensitive wipers ($1,495); 9-speaker stereo with subwoofer ($395).
- Trailhawk: Starts at $30,395. Notable standard features over Latitude: Active Drive Lock 4-wheel drive system, hill descent control, off-road suspension, auxiliary transmission cooler, rear locking differential, red tow hooks, 8.4 inch Uconnect touchscreen, additional underbody skid plates, unique off-road front and rear fascias. Notable options: 3.2-liter V6 ($1,745); SafetyTec Group ($1,045); Trailer Tow Group ($495); Comfort and Convenience Group ($1,645); Technology Group ($1,495+SafetyTec and Comfort/Convenience groups); Cold Weather Group ($795); Leather Interior Group: heated front leather seats, power driver’s seat and lumbar support, heated steering wheel; Ventilated/Memory Seat Group: ventilated front premium leather seats, memory mirrors, memory radio, memory driver’s seat ($895+Leather Interior Group); 9-speaker stereo with subwoofer ($395).
The sweet spot for us is the V6 Trailhawk. The four cylinder doesn’t have enough grunt to get this two-ton beast moving, and the fuel economy drop going from I4 to V6 isn’t huge. The Trailhawk trim’s skid plates, higher ride height, locking rear differntial, tow hooks, and better approach and departure angles make it the Cherokee to buy for those who travel off the beaten path. Overall, we think the Trailhawk offers a good compromise between true off-road capability, on-road refinement, and fuel economy. Plus, it just looks badass. [Build Your Own]
MSRP: $23,095-$30,594 Max Advertised Towing Capability: 4,500 pounds [V6]
MPG: 21 city/ 31 hwy / 25 combined [2wd 2.4L] Engines: 2.4-liter I4, 3.2-liter V6
Curb Weight: ~3,650-4,030 pounds IIHS Rating: Not a Top Safety Pick
Transmissions: 9-speed Automatic
Drivetrain Layout: Front engine, FWD/4WD
Photo credit: Jeep