Few vehicles out on the market today are truly equally comfortable on and off the road. People buy SUVs for a number of reasons, but there is something about its off-road capabilities that puts this class of vehicle in its own camp. Trucks can go off-road, yes, but not in the style and comfort compact, midsize, and full-size SUVs can offer. When you need the traction and driving capabilities of a truck and the interior comforts of a sedan, nothing will beat a well-designed SUV.
That is the philosophy Jeep has used with the Cherokee. This popular compact SUV extends several decades and six distinct generations for one very simple reason: it works. Families buy these vehicles for their roomy interiors and reliable performance. Off-roaders buy these vehicles for their beefy suspension, intelligent traction control, and tough exteriors. Few other SUVs in this category can match the sheer performance and range of uses the Cherokee offers virtually anyone looking for a do-it-all kind of car.
2018 marks a new year for the Cherokee’s current generation. Now four years old, the sixth generation has overcome some initial controversy to become one of Jeep’s bestselling models. For the new model year, the company has kept most of the successful formula the same with a few scattered tweaks and changes to the trim line and standard features each level gets.
Next, to the Wrangler line, the Jeep Cherokee has become one of the premier off-road-capable SUVs in the company’s overall lineup. It is easy to see why. Jeep has basically divided and conquered the exterior and interior of the vehicle. On the outside, you will find engine, transmission, and drivetrain options geared for either urban or off-road use. The suspension options will smooth out nearly anything on or off the road. The interior comes with all the standard and optional features Jeep’s other models have. Even the infotainment system is competitive in the industry.
The capabilities of the Cherokee start with the two engine options. A base 2.4L four-cylinder engine combined with a forward wheel drivetrain keeps fuel efficiency up while providing just enough power to tug the vehicle’s considerable weight around town. The 3.2L V6 engine increases the performance, offering 271 horsepower for better torque and push off-road. When paired with Jeep’s all-wheel-drive design, the Cherokee’s V6 engine becomes a capable off-roading power plant.
On the inside, you will find a number of standard and optional features that make the Cherokee comfortable regardless of where you are. The interior is spacious and enhanced by extras like power adjustable seats. Throw in leather steering wheels, ambient lighting, dual-zone automatic climate control, and cushy seats, and you will see why so many people prefer “riding in style” when it comes to embarking on new adventures.
What is New?
Jeep has a habit of taking popular lines and extending them as long as possible. In other words, why fix what isn’t broken? The Cherokee’s current generation is four years old and doesn’t show any signs of stopping anytime soon. As a result, the 2018 model doesn’t feature any major changes to the performance or features that come with this vehicle. Rumors are swirling that 2019 might feature a mid-cycle refresh of the overall design, but that isn’t the case for this year’s model.
Instead, most of the changes come in the form of some trim reassignments and the standardization of previously optional features at each level. You can expect more standard features for around the same price. The changes are small and might not matter to all potential customers, but you never know what might actually catch your eye when checking out this year’s Cherokee lineup.
Say Goodbye to the Sport
Over the years, many people have preferred the more affordable, fewer frills Sport package as an entry point to the Cherokee line. For those who don’t need the upgraded bells and whistles of the higher trims, the base Sport trim was a logical choice: save some money, get some great features like a 5in display screen for the infotainment system, and park a brand-new Jeep Cherokee in your garage.
That has now changed in 2018. Jeep has said goodbye to the Sport as it has reshuffled the trim lineup to modernize the offerings. Rest assured, however, most of this change is in name only. In combination with the updated standard features the new base trim, the Latitude, receives, the price point and general specs remain similar.
Say Hello to the Latitude Plus
Taking the Latitude’s old spot, the Latitude Plus is the new step above the base trim, introducing a few more standard features for people who need a little more convenience on the inside. The infotainment system, Jeep’s Uconnect interface, gets a larger 8.4-inch touchscreen display along with satellite radio, push-button start, and a proximity key.
The potential cargo space also receives an increase. In addition to the split 60/40 rear folding seats in the Latitude trim, the Latitude Plus sports a flat-folding front passenger seat for optimal cargo space. Small accent touches like a leather-wrapped steering wheel round out the interior changes to this middle position trim.
New Standard Features
The rest of the Cherokee trim lineup remains the same for 2018. In total, you can choose from the Latitude, Latitude Plus, Limited, Trailhawk, and the Overland trims. Each trim has some minor tweaks and changes that generally follow the line of converting previously optional features into standard ones.
Across the trim lineup, each level now gets standard 17in wheels, high-intensity discharge headlights, and roof rails to make the vehicle more suitable for outdoor adventures and nighttime driving. An all-new Tech Connect package is available starting at the lower trims. This package introduces several advanced technologies such as Amazon Alexa voice recognition. An upgraded 8.4-inch display is also standard starting with the Latitude Plus trim.
The best news for 2018 is Jeep’s introduction of more standard safety features. For example, the Trailhawk and Limited trims now come with enhanced safety features like blind-spot detection, parking sensors, and cross-traffic alert indicators as standard. Many of these features remain optional on the lower trims.
Who Should Buy One?
The 2018 Jeep Cherokee, offered in Colorado Springs, has a lot for many people depending on your driving preferences. If you fancy yourself as an off-roader who needs an extra level of comfort and convenience while driving, the Cherokee’s blend of performance and interior features is hard to beat. Focus on the upgraded engine and suspension package to get the most from the off-roading experience.
On the other hand, if you simply want an SUV that will take the family around town in a safe and comfortable manner, the Cherokee can satisfy that need as well. The base trims, featuring the four-cylinder engine and basic suspension with a great infotainment system, will be enough to create an enjoyable ride without the added expense.
Either way, the 2018 Cherokee has a lot to offer to almost anyone considering a new SUV.