The legacy of the Jeep Cherokee is a rich one. The nameplate dates back to the mid-1970s, but it was during the XJ era of the 1980s where the SUV really took off. It redefined the entire SUV market with its competitive features and ruggedly stylish design. However, the Cherokee didn’t stay a rugged sports utility vehicle. It evolved and morphed over time to become something more. These days, when people go SUV shopping, they’re not just looking for a standard Jeep Cherokee for sale, but a vehicle that speaks to them, something that molds to their lifestyle and driving persona.
Despite all the stiff competition from within the compact SUV segment, the Jeep Cherokee has still managed to hold its own among its peers. A big reason for that is its ever-changing on-road and off-road capabilities and characteristics. While the Jeep Grand Cherokee is associated with upscale luxury or enthusiast off-roading, the compact Cherokee is the functional but capable little sibling. If you find that perhaps the Grand Cherokee may be a bit too much Jeep for you, but the Renegade and Compass are too small, the Cherokee is a great middle ground. But what kind of Cherokee driver are you?
Are You Daily or Family Driver?
Not every kind of vehicle or trim level is designed for every kind of driving task. If you need a daily commuter, or if you have a family and need to pick up the kids or take the spouse to and from work, then you need a vehicle that can handle day-in and day-out wear and tear. The Jeep Cherokee probably isn’t best known for being a long-haul daily driver, but some model years and trims fit that profile.
Specifically, the 2020 Jeep Cherokee Latitude with the 2.4-liter Tigershark 4-cylinder engine is a great daily driver when it comes to fuel economy. It gets 22 miles per gallon in the city and up to 31 miles per gallon on the highway. You can find similar fuel economy from the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder available in the 2022 Jeep Cherokee Limited, but you’re looking at much higher costs. Also, the naturally aspirated engine means fewer parts to maintain and repair since it doesn’t have a turbocharger. This is what makes the 2020 Jeep Cherokee Latitude a good daily or family driver, as it’s a capable SUV with good fuel mileage. Why pay more for a newer, more powerful Cherokee when the 2020 Latitude do the daily commute or grocery runs just as well?
Are You a Weekend Warrior?
Not everyone drives just to get from point A to point B. Some people love the thrill of packing up some essentials, turning off the lights at the old abode, and spending the weekend trekking into the great unknown. A capable, durable, and utilitarian SUV is usually the go-to option for such drivers. Usually, this is something separate from the comfortable commuter sedan that might be preferred during the weekday grind.
For adventurous outings and weekend travel shenanigans, the 2022 Jeep Cherokee X is a good solution. It’s not as decked out as some of the more extreme off-road trims, but it gives you more oomph and awe to experience whether you’re traveling on the road or off. What makes the Cherokee X great for weekend warriors is that it comes with a bi-functional LED lighting array, which is great if you go camping and need directional lighting to scout unlit pathways and trails. The standard one-inch lift kit makes it great for reaching remote hiking spots, or doing a bit of rock climbing that requires traversing rocky or undulating terrain. It has enough space for your gear, and 17-inch wheels with all-terrain tires give it enough capability to reach travel hot spots. It’s no monster truck, but you don’t need a monster truck to get into the back country and enjoy the great outdoors.
Are You an Off-Road Enthusiast?
What if you’re looking for an all-out, high-end, hardcore off-road machine? Jeep has configured various Cherokee models specifically for this purpose. Look for the Overland, Upland, and Trailhawk trims.
In recent years Jeep has dropped the Overland and Upland models from the Cherokee’s line-up, but if you want the most enthusiast-enriched Cherokee model for off-roading, your choice is always going to be the Trailhawk. It’s decked out with everything you need to traverse all sorts of treacherous terrain and difficult trails with relative ease. The Overland and Upland trims are both great for overlanding and occasionally adventuring off the beaten path, but it’s nothing the newer X trim doesn’t accommodate in a more efficient manner.
The real off-roading prowess of the Trailhawk comes from its higher ride height and the Selec-Terrain traction management system, which works in conjunction with Jeep’s Active Drive Lock 4×4 system an electronically locking rear differential. If you’re planning to move debris out of the way, pull logs out of your path, or lend a helping hand to a trapped vehicle, you have signature red tow hooks, and skid plates to protect the undercarriage while you do so. The fancy livery with the two-tone hood is a nice cherry on top of the off-road cake that is the Trailhawk. This is the Cherokee to get if dirt makes you happy.
Are You a Night Owl?
Maybe you’re the kind of driver who finds solace under the night sky, or the glow of city lights lining paved roads. You enjoy the dives, the digs, and the diners that keep the signposts lit through the night until the sunlight peeks over the horizon. You’re looking for a Jeep Cherokee that matches that night-life energy. You’re going to find a kindred spirit with a few Cherokee models, particularly the Latitude Lux and the Limited.
Do you fancy a compact SUV that has all the basics and none of the bells and whistles? The Latitude Lux is a night owl’s paradise. You get dark exterior colors to choose from that match the midnight culture quite well, while the Nappa leather-trimmed seats and lumbar support make for a comfortable and spiffy ride.
You get the same sleek, dark color options with the Limited, but the additional safety tech, like ParkSense and adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality, make the Limited more practical for night driving. The added luxury appeal of the Cherokee Limited also makes it stand out in the crowd, thanks to the 18-inch polished painted dual-tone aluminum wheels and the CommandView dual-pane panoramic sunroof. It’s the kind of compact SUV for those who want to make a statement with what they drive. Not everyone likes to get their Jeep dirty, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
What’s Your Preferred Cherokee?
All in all, there is a Cherokee available for all different drivers, which is what makes it such an endearing and long-lasting staple in the industry. What you want out of a compact SUV and the type of driver that you happen to be will determine which Cherokee model conforms to your driving personality. Sound off about which kind of Cherokee driver you are and what you enjoy most about Jeep’s compact SUV.