Jeep Cherokee review 2022

The Cherokee is a bold-looking SUV sold in Britain until 2018

£9,080
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Out of 5

Pros

  • Cool styling
  • Loads of standard equipment
  • Good off-roading capability

Cons

  • Interior lacks quality
  • Thirsty engines
  • Tough competition
Model review

Jeep relishes its heritage, with its range of cars all harking back to its founding models, while the brand has had some very long-running nameplates, particularly the ‘Cherokee’. First launched in 1974, this model was a two-door version of the Wagoneer, with the second-generation model arriving in 1984 as more of an SUV-style version, though still with the brand’s supreme reputation for off-roading. 


Slightly confusingly, around this time Jeep introduced the Grand Cherokee as a larger model, though it was sold concurrently with the standard Cherokee we’re trying here. The third-generation version arrived in the UK in 2002 as more of a modern-looking off-roader, with the fourth iteration reaching these shores in 2008. 

While for a time the Cherokee was Jeep’s smallest four-door SUV, in more recent years the more popular Renegade and Compass have been positioned beneath it.

Latest model

The latest generation of Cherokee arrived in the UK in 2014, and was quite a step up from its predecessor, which hadn’t been on sale for a few years. This new version moved to more of a softer SUV focus than previous models, though all-wheel-drive was still available, and Jeep catered for the rugged market with a more extreme ‘Trailhawk’ version. 

With a striking new design, which you’ll either love or hate, Jeep also offered a front-wheel-drive Cherokee for the first time, designed for those not needing the extra capability, and that wanted lower running costs. 

Tech advancements included the addition of an 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen, as well as a seven-inch TFT driver display, while the Cherokee is available with a whole range of safety features. These include adaptive cruise control and blind spot monitoring, with the model being rated as the safest car in its class at the time. 

In 2015, Jeep launched a new 2.2-litre diesel engine, which offered better fuel economy and torque, while further special editions included a stealthy Night Eagle and range-topping Upland model. 

While Jeep facelifted the Cherokee for 2018, with changes including a more premium interior finish and higher-quality exterior design, this updated model was never brought over to the UK, though the American firm originally intended to. The last Cherokees were therefore imported around the same time. 

Value for money

At its launch in 2014, prices for the Cherokee started from £25,495, and rose to £35,695 for a flagship version with four-wheel-drive. At the time, it seemed quite a lot of money, particularly considering entry-level Longitude versions miss out on features like a touchscreen. Our pick of the line-up is the high-spec Limited, which comes with the likes of keyless entry, nappa leather seats and a reversing camera. 

If you’re looking for a cheap 4x4, old Cherokees are an appealing option, with prices starting from just a few thousand pounds for tidy, high-mileage examples. As for the latest example, prices start from around £8,000 at the time of writing, which buys a 2014 car with 100,000 miles on the clock. You’ll need to increase that budget to around £11,500 for a tidy, lower-mileage example. Prices for the latest examples are quite high, though, with values increasing to a steep £25,000 for one of the last cars in the desirable Overland trim level. 

Looks and image

The Cherokee – and Jeeps in general – have an image you’ll either love or hate, though you can’t deny that its chunky retro design certainly stands out from the crowd. Though a car’s looks will always be subjective, we reckon the Cherokee isn’t one of the brand’s best designs. The curved seven-slot grille is quite odd, as are the split headlights, which almost seem disconnected from the rest of the car. The large polished alloy wheels are a very American touch too, which – again – you’ll either love or hate. 

Inside, the Cherokee’s interior is a bit of a mixed bag. While all but the entry-level Longitude model (which is quite rare anyway) get an 8.4-inch touchscreen that’s easy to use, the overall quality is quite poor. Hard materials are used throughout, while the interior layout is muddled and not as well laid out as many rivals. 

Behind the wheel, the Cherokee is a model that’s well angled towards comfort. Big, cosetting seats are accompanied by a soft ride that make it easy to rack up the miles in this Jeep, while it’s quiet and refined on a motorway. The trade-off though is that it falls short of many rivals in other areas, with loads of body roll and poor handling making it one of the worst cars to drive in this class. Choose a four-wheel-drive version for impressive off-roading capability.

Space and practicality

Though the Cherokee takes up a large footprint on the outside, it’s not actually all that spacious inside. Though sliding back seats are included, legroom for those in the back is limited. A high roofline means that there will be no complaints for headroom, however. 

At 591 litres the boot is a good size too, but can grow considerably if you slide the rear seats forward or fold them completely. The Cherokee was also awarded a five-star safety rating when it was tested by Euro NCAP when the model first launched. With plenty of driver assistance technology available, if cars have this fitted, it will likely prove just as safe as many brand new cars on sale. 

Engines

The Cherokee is predominantly available with diesel power, though a 3.2-litre V6 petrol was offered on the rare Trailhawk model – putting out 272bhp it was capable of 0-60mph in 8.2 seconds, with an automatic gearbox being used. 

There are three variations of diesel engine available, with a 2.0-litre unit making up two of these, with outputs of 138bhp or 168bhp. The former gets a choice of front- or all-wheel-drive and features a six-speed manual gearbox, with the more powerful option using a nine-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel-drive. 

In 2015, Jeep expanded the Cherokee line-up with a more powerful 2.2-litre diesel, which replaced the previous 168bhp model. Available with outputs of 182bhp or 197bhp, both are paired to an automatic gearbox and feature four-wheel-drive. 

Running costs

Though the Cherokee is largely powered by diesel engines, efficiency still isn’t its strongest point. If it’s a priority, look out for the 138bhp front-wheel-drive model, which is the cleanest in the range. Jeep claims up to 53.3mpg, while CO2 emissions stand at 139g/km. It’s worth noting that these figures are from an old testing cycle, and won’t be comparable to newer vehicles you might be cross-shopping. 

Things to look out for

Jeep doesn’t have the best of reliability reputations, so it’s worth having a Cherokee mechanically inspected before buying. The Fiat-sourced engines aren’t the most dependable, and are quite prone to issues relating to their diesel particulate filter, which can become blocked if driven for short, local trips without any longer runs out. 

It’s worth having a good look underneath the Cherokee too, as some of these cars might have been used off-road, and may have damage to components on the underside. 

Rivals

The Cherokee sits towards the top end of the five-seat SUV segment, with key rivals including the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5. If you’re looking for off-roading capability, the Land Rover Discovery Sport is well worth looking at. Other more premium alternatives include the Audi Q5 and Volvo XC60, though you will pay noticeably more for a like-for-like example.

Depreciation

Though the Jeep Cherokee hasn’t been on sale for a few years, used prices are remaining quite high, particularly for the later examples and those in the highest trim levels. Earlier cars are available at a decent price, but make sure they’re well maintained and in a clean condition before buying. 

Trims explained

Four main trim levels were offered on the latest Jeep Cherokee. Equipment highlights and pricing are as follows.

Longitude – f

Kicking off the Cherokee range is the Longitude, which comes as standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth and rear parking sensors. It also comes with LED rear lights, DAB radio and a leather steering wheel.

From £8,500 (used)

Longitude Plus –

These ‘Plus’ versions are worth going for, as it brings an 8.4-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation and voice recognition, along with a nine-speaker Alpine sound system.

From £8,500 (used)

Limited –

High-spec Limited models are the most popular, and gain features like Bi-Xenon headlights, an electric boot and larger 18-inch alloy wheels. It also comes with nappa leather seats, an electric driver’s seat, reversing camera, a wireless smartphone charger and front and rear parking sensors.

From £10,000 (used)

Trailhawk –

Trailhawk versions of the Jeep Cherokee are rare, but are the ones to go for if you want maximum off-roading capability. They gain tweaks such as a low-range transmission, Jeep’s Selec-Terrain with Rock Mode and a factory lift kit. Other changes include skid plates to protect the underneath of the car, along with unique bumpers to add to the design. All Trailhawk models come with a 268bhp 3.2-litre V6, which is unique to this version in the UK.

From £18,000 (used)

Summary

  1. Jeep SUV sold for decades up until 2018
  2. Bold and divisive styling
  3. Comfortable ride
  4. Very good off-road
  5. On-road manners lag behind rivals
  6. Interior quality isn’t great
  7. Decent practicality, if not class-leading
  8. Generous equipment levels
  9. Plenty of high-tech safety
  10. Distinctive family SUV, but better rivals are on offer