Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Jeep brand has unveiled a facelifted version of its mid-size Cherokee crossover at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show this week which gains upgrades inside and out as well as adding the new 2.0-litre direct-injection four-cylinder turbocharged engine and shedding its weight by around 90 kg.
It's expected to offer better fuel economy - thanks to the new engine, weight savings and more efficient aerodynamics - as well as boasting improved luggage carrying capacity it should pick up the baton of the successful outgoing model and retain its place as one of the leading crossovers on the U.S. market. Whether these upgrades mean the Cherokee can gain the attention of consumers in more sophisticated markets, such as Western Europe, will be the facelifted model's litmus test.
The MY2019 Cherokee features an exterior redesign that brings it more into line with traditional Jeep styling, toning down the front clip that proved divisive when this fifth-generation version was first introduced five years ago. The front clip, bonnet, LED headlamps, daylight running lamps and fog lamps have all been restyled. Meanwhile the interior sees new Satin Chrome and Piano Black high-gloss accents used on the dashboard.
The facelifted Cherokee also receives the latest Uconnect systems, delivering communication, entertainment and navigation features and including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and the choice of 7.0- or 8.4-inch touchscreens with pinch-and-zoom capability.
The new 2.0-litre direct injection turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine with engine stop-start (ESS), essentially the same engine that features in the Wrangler, now joins the 3.2-litre ‘Pentastar’ V6 and 2.4-litre PZEV Multiair 2 Tigershark inline four-cylinder in the Cherokee line-up - all engine options can be mated to the nine-speed automatic transmission.
The Cherokee is built on the Compact U.S. Wide (CUS-wide) platform’s modular architecture which comprises of common, modular and interchangeable components and allows for modularity of the wheelbase, front track, rear track, front overhang, length and width across vehicle lines.
The MY2019 Cherokee’s body structure has a high-strength steel content of approximately 65 percent. Upgrades to the crash structure should improve its ratings in crash tests; it is already rated at 5 stars by Euro NCAP, when they tested it back in 2013 and they also commended the Cherokee highly in its report.
Weight has come down around 90 kg over the previous model and - as well as the composite tailgate - this has been acheived through the incorporation of a new front subframe and lighter suspension components. On four-wheel-drive models the diff has been made more compact to reduce its weight.
The MY2019 JCherokee comes with a choice of three 4x4 systems - Jeep Active Drive I, Jeep Active Drive II and Jeep Active Drive Lock - that have been enhanced for 4x4 capability in all weather conditions.
“A stunning, more premium design and the addition of our new fuel-efficient 2.0-litre turbo engine make the new 2019 Jeep Cherokee even more desirable in the mid-size SUV segment,” said Mike Manley, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA Global. “In addition, Cherokee builds on its benchmark 4x4 capability and on-road dynamics with refinement and style, a host of new attributes, powertrains and the latest technology that is perfectly situated for consumers worldwide.”
Available in five different trim configurations – Latitude, Latitude Plus, Limited, Overland and the 'Trail Rated' Trailhawk, the facelifted Cherokee will be manufactured in the U.S. at the Belvidere Assembly Plant in Belvidere, Illinois. It will arrive in Jeep showrooms across the U.S. during first quarter and reach Europe in the second half of the year.
As the newest mid-size SUV from Jeep, it competes in the U.S.'s largest crossover segment. The Cherokee its Jeep’s third best seller (after the Grand Cherokee and Wrangler) on the U.S. market but sales last year dipped by 15% to 169,882 units. However, it enjoyed a good end to the year as sales were up 18 percent in December to 19,358 units, when compared with the same month the year before. Such has been its sales success that platform sharing slow sellers, Dodge’s Dart and Chrysler’s 200 were phased out to allow Cherokee production to be increased.
The MY2019 Cherokee features an extensive exterior design starting with the front end which is now more consistent with classic Jeep design and is complete with a new bumper/spoiler, lightweight bonnet, LED headlamps, daylight running lights and foglights.
New front Bi-LED projector headlamps incorporate DRLs, which has now been made into one fixture. The facelifted front clip completes its wide stance with dual LED fog lamps surrounded by bright trim details and adaptive cruise control radar sensor positioned below. Overland models receive bright chrome steel tow hooks.
The push open fuel flap on the rear three quarter panel now accesses a capless fuel filler that eliminates the need to touch and turn the vehicle’s fuel cap when refilling – keeping the user's hands clean of fuel smell.
The rear the tail lamps have been redesigned but remain an integral part of the rear backlight graphic, which includes a signature red 'Feature Light' – a thin homogenous LED light strip that wraps the individual stop, turn and reverse tail lamp applications.
A new and redesigned lightweight tailgate is now made out of composite materials and saves around 8 kg. It now includes the registration plate recess which has been moved up from its lower bumper position on the outgoing model. The unloved concave rear shape to the tailgate below the lights has been ditched and the new design is more conventional and integrated. Additionally, there is now hands-free operation of the tailgate, by making a kicking motion under the bumper to open. The rear bumper has been reprofiled and flicks up on either side of the tailgate to house the foglamps which are now positioned slightly higher than before.
Customers can use the Cherokee on rugged terrain in the ‘Trailhawk’ format which include protective steel skid plates underneath, a slightly higher ride height plus dedicated 17-inch off-road tyres. There is also a dual-pane sunroof with motorised sunshade that minimises glare.
The standard line-up receives five new wheel offerings, including a 19-inch premium polished aluminium wheel on Overland models while consumers will have a choice of 12 different exterior colours: Blue Shade, Sting-Grey, Velvet Red, Firecracker Red, Olive Green, Hydro Blue, Light Brownstone, Granite Crystal, Billet Silver, Diamond Black Crystal, Pearl White and Bright White.
The cabin remains essentially the same as before with just minor tweaks and equipement repositioning; however the use of new Piano Black and Satin Chrome gloss-finished accents around the radio, air vents, and gear shifter bezels tries to give the somewhat basically finished cabin and its value-end-of-the-market materials a more refined feel.
The electric park brake button is now enclosed around the centre shifter bezel for ease of operation while the the centre console media centre hub (USB port and 115-volt outlet) has been repositioned rearward creating additional space with the enlargement of the front storage pocket thus allowing mobile smart phones and other devices to be placed next to the integral USB port for easy access to connected services. There is an extra USB port in the rear now to serve passengers on the back seat.
Rear cargo capacity has also been increased 85mm in width and now totals more than 27 cubic feet which means the Cherokee is a class leader in load carrying terms and can now accomodate, for example, two sets of golf clubs whereas only one was possible before.
There are two new interior colour themes. Available in Latitude and Latitude Plus models, the new Storm Blue interior was inspired by Iceland with its dark volcanos and black ash contrasted with blue skies. That is reflected in the black seats that are contrasted with Storm Blue stitching throughout. Also, available on Cherokee Overland models, a new Dark Sienna interior theme offers earth tones that were inspired by the earth’s clay and outdoor freedom reflective of unmatched off-road capability that only Jeep can provide.
New 2.0-litre direct injection turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine
The new 2.0-litre direct injection turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine is rated at 270 hp and 295 lb/ft torque and is mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. Benefits of the new engine come in the area of fuel economy thanks to the incorporation of stop-start.
The 2.0-litre engine features a twin-scroll, low inertia turbocharger with an electric actuated waste gate for exceptional responsiveness and performance, even while traversing over difficult terrain. The turbo is mounted directly to the cylinder head to reduce emissions and improve durability. A dedicated cooling circuit lowers the temperature of the intake air, throttle body and turbocharger.
This engine is part of the Global Medium Engine architecture family and features double overhead camshafts (DOHC), dual independent camshaft timing, and a cooled exhaust gas recirculation (C-EGR) system.
This is the first time that the combined use of a twin-scroll turbocharger, C-EGR system, central direct injection and the independent liquid cooling intake of air, throttle body and turbo have been employed together. This combination of technologies enables the high levels of performance and reduces fuel consumption.
Direct injection, coupled with turbocharging, enables more efficient combustion, reduced emissions and increased performance. The 2.0-litre engine’s fuel pump supplies the engine’s 2,900-psi high-pressure common-rail injection system. These high pressures produce better fuel atomisation and allow for more precise fuel delivery than port fuel-injected systems, which in turn improves both performance and efficiency.
The cast aluminium alloy cylinder head features a central injector and high tumble intake ports. This combination provides high charge motion and balanced air flow to improve fuel efficiency and performance. Integrated into the cylinder head is a water-cooled exhaust manifold to reduce emissions while providing increased engine reliability.
The engine features a low-pressure, sand cast-aluminium block with cast-in iron liner with an 84mm bore and 90mm stroke for a total displacement of 1,995cc. Cast-aluminium pistons, with a 10:1 compression ratio, have four valve pockets to accommodate the dual variable-valve timing [VVT] system. Each cylinder bore is fitted with gallery-mounted piston oil cooling jets to limit piston temperatures, reduce spark knock and increase piston durability. Select-fit main and rod bearings enable reduced clearances to help lower system oil demand and oil pumping effort. In addition, floating piston pins utilise diamond-like coating (DLC) for reduced friction.
The high-energy ignition system includes a high-energy ignition coil for better fuel efficiency. Precious-metal spark plugs with iridium and platinum provide lasting durability. Located in the centre of the cam cover, the spark plugs are easily accessible when service is required. Sodium-filled exhaust valves and plasma-coated piston rings also help extend the engine’s life and bolster durability.
A variable displacement two-stage oil pump provides high oil pressure under high speed but switches to a low-pressure mode for improved fuel economy during typical driving conditions. The piston cooling is also managed by the two-stage oil pump to enhance fuel economy under normal driving conditions while improving durability under demanding, high-load engine operation. A large capacity oil cooler extends the oil change interval and ensures engine durability.
An inverted tooth primary chain drives both the intake and exhaust camshafts and minimizes noise. Camshafts are robotically assembled using hollow shafts and have polished cam journals to reduce weight and improve durability for engine stop-start operation. The use of hollow shafts provides a 3.5-lb. weight reduction when compared to an equivalent solid shaft.
In addition to the new 2.0-litre unit the 3.2-litre ‘Pentastar’ V6 and 2.4-litre PZEV Multiair2 Tigershark inline four-cylinder unit are both carried over and mated to the nine-speed automatic transmission which wasn't previous too well regarded by owners but has now been upgraded. The gearbox features new software that improves drivability.
ItaliaspeedTV: Jeep Cherokee Limited MY2019 Running Footage & Close-up / Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk MY2019 Running Footage & Close-up / Jeep Cherokee MY2019 World Premiere at the North American International Auto Show 2018