2016 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk

2016 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk in Rhino Clear Coat (an industrial-looking dark-grey paint color)

2016 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk     Quick Spin

Class: Compact Crossover

Miles Driven: 148

Fuel Used: 7.6 gallons

Real-world fuel economy: 19.5 mpg

Driving mix: 75% city, 25% highway

CG Report Card
Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.
Room and ComfortB
Power and PerformanceB+
Fit and FinishB
Fuel EconomyC+
Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.
Big & Tall Comfort
Big GuyB
Tall GuyA-

EPA-estimated fuel economy: 19/26/22 (city/highway/combined)

Base price: $30,995 (not including $995 destination charge)

Options on test car: SafetyTec Group ($1045), Comfort/Convenience Group ($1695), 3.2-liter V6 ($1745), navigation system ($945)

Price as tested: $37,420


Quick Hits

The great: Class-leading off-road capabilities, rugged character that stands out from other compact SUVs

The good: Acceleration from V6 engine

The not so good: Mediocre fuel economy, rear cargo area is smaller than many class competitors

More Cherokee price and availability information


CG Says:

For the 2014 model year, Jeep dusted off its Cherokee nameplate and attached it to a new compact SUV that shared its basic platform with the Dodge Dart compact car. The Cherokee’s radical front-end styling ruffled some feathers when it was first shown, but most people seem to have warmed to the unconventional look over the last couple of years.

Chrokee Trailhawk

The Trailhawk model rides about an inch higher than other Cherokee models.

2017 Detroit Auto Show: 2018 Chevrolet Traverse

The Cherokee hasn’t seen any major updates, styling or otherwise, since its introduction. The only changes of note for 2016 are a luxury-oriented Overland model, Siri Eyes Free functionality for iPhone users, and a “Do Not Disturb” feature that can route incoming calls to voicemail and autoreply to text messages. The 2017s are essentially unchanged, save for standard high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlights on all models.

Jeep Cherokee Cabin

Cherokee isn’t quite as roomy as key class competitors, such as the Honda CR-V and Nissan Rogue.

Among its class competitors, the Cherokee comes up a bit short in many areas. The Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, and Toyota RAV4 are notably more spacious for both people and cargo. The Mazda CX-5 and Ford Escape are a bit sportier and more engaging to drive. And all of the above-mentioned rivals boast a cabin ambiance and overall refinement levels that are a step ahead of the Cherokee.

Jeep Cherokee cargo area

Wheelwell intrusions reduce the amount of usable space in the Cherokee’s cargo area.

First Spin: 2017 Honda CR-V

But when outfitted in Trailhawk trim, like our test vehicle was, the Cherokee trumps most every compact SUV when it comes to off-road capability—save for other Jeeps, of course. Cherokee Trailhawks come standard with Jeep’s Active Drive II four-wheel-drive system with low-range gearing and a locking rear differential. Also standard are 17×5.5-inch aluminum wheels on P245/65R17 white-letter tires, hill ascent and descent control, chassis skid plates, and red tow hooks (two in the front, one in the rear). The off-road suspension raises the ride height to provide 8.7 inches of ground clearance, and the Jeep Selec-Terrain system includes driver-selectable settings for snow, rocks, and sand/mud. Unique rugged-looking interior and exterior trim are also part of the package. All of this hardware endows the Cherokee Trailhawk with off-road prowess that approaches the level of the legendary Jeep Wrangler, but with a higher level of everyday refinement.

Trailhawk badge

Special Trailhawk features include Jeep’s Active Drive II 4WD system, special wheels and tires, and unique trim.

Our test vehicle was also equipped with the SafetyTec Group—which includes rear park assist, blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, and exterior mirrors with integral turn signals—and the Comfort/Convenience Group, which adds a power liftgate, remote start system, keyless access and starting, dual-zone climate control, auto-dimming rear-view mirror with microphone, power 8-way driver seat, power 4-way driver lumbar adjust, security alarm, and universal garage door opener.

Those packages, along with the $1745 optional V6 engine, pushed the $30,995 base price all the way up to $37,420. At that price, the Cherokee Trailhawk doesn’t make much sense for shoppers who intend to use their compact SUV for simple commuting and hauling the kids to soccer practice. But for buyers whose agenda includes some serious off-the-beaten path excursions, this rugged little rock crawler is more or less in a class of its own.

Jeep Cherokee profile

The Trailhawk model’s upgrades give the basic Cherokee a more-rugged look than its non-Jeep class rivals.

First Spin: 2017 Nissan Rogue