Sep
09
Jeep Cherokee Limited

2020 Jeep Cherokee Limited 4×4 in Sting-Gray Clear-Coat (a $195 option)

Photo Gallery2020 Jeep Cherokee Limited 4×4

Class: Compact Crossover SUV

Miles driven: 238

Fuel used: 12.0 gallons

Real-world fuel economy: 19.8 mpg

Driving mix: 50% city, 50% highway

CG Report Card
Room and ComfortB
Power and PerformanceB
Fit and FinishB
Fuel EconomyC
ValueC
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-
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.
Drivetrain
Engine Specs270-hp 2.0-liter
Engine TypeTurbo 4-cyl
Transmission 9-speed automatic
Drive Wheels4WD

EPA-estimated fuel economy: 20/27/23 (city/highway/combined)

Fuel type: Regular gas

Base price: $34,595 (not including $1495 destination charge)

Options on test vehicle: Sting-Ray Clear-Coat paint ($195), Technology Group ($1595), 9-speed 948TE 4WD automatic transmission ($1205; includes hill descent control, Jeep Active Drive II 4×4 system, and off-road suspension), 2.0-liter turbo engine with electronic stop/start ($500), panoramic sunroof ($1595), Uconnect navigation system with 8.4-inch display ($895)

Price as tested: $42,075

 

Quick Hits

The great: Comfortable ride; varied selection of models and optional equipment

The good: Upgraded off-road capabilities; respectable power from optional turbo 4-cylinder engine

The not so good: Disappointing fuel economy; 9-speed transmission can be balky; rear cargo area isn’t as spacious as many class competitors

More Cherokee price and availability information

 

John Biel

With a big enough range of models, a given vehicle line can serve a lot of tastes and budgets. For support, we offer up the Cherokee, one of Jeep’s compact crossover SUVs.

You read “Jeep” and perhaps you reflexively summon the image of an off-road-ready Trailhawk. However, most Cherokees are attuned to more-civilized pursuits. Consumer Guide put one of these, a comfortably outfitted Limited, to use in a place where “off road” usually means a driveway.

Jeep Cherokee Limited

The Limited trim level slots below the top-line Overland and decked-out versions of the off-road-oriented Trailhawk model in the Cherokee lineup.

While not the top of the Cherokee price range—that distinction actually belongs to the $39,000-plus Trailhawk Elite—the Limited is pretty far up the chart. Counting delivery, the tested 4-wheel-drive truck started at $36,090, and bulked up to $42,075 with options. Note that a Limited 4-wheeler costs a considerable $3245 more than one with front-wheel drive, but in addition to the more-complex driveline the 4×4 also gets a standard V6 engine in place of the front-driver’s naturally aspirated 4-cylinder engine.

Test Drive: 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Limited

2020 Cherokee

The Cherokee’s cabin offers a straightforward control layout, and a good array of comfort and convenience features in Limited trim. The center console houses the drive-mode selector, charging ports, and the electronic parking brake lever.

The Limited welcomes drivers and passengers into leather-upholstered surroundings with lots of soft-touch material on the dashboard and door panels (though the grained-plastic tops of the rear doors are not padded). Front seats and steering wheel are heated; the automatic climate-control system is dual-zone; and there are memory settings for the driver’s seat, radio, and exterior power mirrors. The Uconnect 4 infotainment system features an 8.4-inch touchscreen, Alpine-brand speakers, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone compatibility, satellite radio, and voice-activated Bluetooth connectivity. Driver-assistance technologies count things like rear park assist, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic monitoring, and keyless entry and starting.

Test Drive: 2021 Toyota Venza XLE

2020 Cherokee Limited

Though the Cherokee’s rear seat isn’t the most spacious in the compact SUV class, average-sized adults can fit in decent comfort. HVAC vents and USB and AC charging ports are housed in the back of the center console.

CG’s test truck went a lot further. A Technology Group option added things like lane-keeping assist, forward-collision alert and mitigation, and adaptive cruise control. Overhead loomed a two-row sunroof; within, the infotainment unit was augmented with navigation, HD radio, and a Wi-Fi hotspot.

The test vehicle’s powerteam was a creation of the options list, too. In place of the 3.2-liter V6 was the 2.0-liter turbocharged four ($500) that makes 270 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. All Cherokees have a 9-speed automatic transmission, but the tester tacked on the Trailhawk’s 948TE version ($1205). With it comes Jeep’s “Active Drive II” 4-wheel-drive system that adds a low-gear range and neutral setting (the latter makes flat towing, such as behind a recreational vehicle, possible) to “Active Drive I” automatic 4WD with “Selec-Terrain” that features four modes: “Auto,” “Snow,” “Sport,” and “Sand/Mud.” Hill-descent control and specific suspension tuning are other elements of the transmission option that give even a boulevard Cherokee a decent chance in challenging conditions.

Test Drive: 2020 Buick Encore GX Essence

2020 Cherokee Limited

There’s 25.8 cubic feet of cargo volume behind the rear seats, and 54.7 cu. ft. with the rear seats folded down–notably less space than class rivals such as the Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4.

This engine/trans combination was no surprise to us, having already sampled it in a 2019 Trailhawk. Power away from a standstill and the engine will display turbo lag for a count, then wake up with a hint of noise. Maximum towing capacity with the 2.0-liter is 4000 pounds. Absent much stress, the 9-speed automatic generally blends into the background. However, there are occasions when shifts feel mistimed and abrupt—particularly in Sport mode, which delays upshifts in order to build power. Plus, it can be a little slow when the situation calls for the gearbox to kick down.

EPA fuel-economy estimates for the turbo four in the Limited are 20 mpg in city driving, 27 mpg in highway use, and 23 mpg combined. As in ’19, our experience with this engine fell short of those expectations. For example, this reviewer barely missed the city estimate at 19.8 mpg after a 125-mile run that included just 51 percent city-type operation. A gas-conserving stop/start feature is standard.

The Limited does a nice job of carrying out the urban/suburban people-mover duties that are its prime directive. It rides well on its standard 18-inch alloy wheels and touring tires. Though perhaps a little lacking in steering feel, handling is easy and acceptably responsive, and braking is good.

Test Drive: 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid Touring

2020 Cherokee Limited

The 270-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder is a $500 option; 18-inch polished aluminum wheels are standard.

Is the Cherokee roomy? Some have doubts, but this tester found livable adult legroom in both seating rows. However, the long sunroof reduces rear-seat headroom, and the console extends far enough back to rule out hope for a middle passenger in the second row. Similarly, the numbers tell you this Jeep isn’t the biggest cargo hauler in its competitive set, which includes vehicles like the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, and Mazda CX-5. Eyeball it, though, and it seems to have decent space even with the flat-folding 60/40 rear seats up. Open cubbies to contain incidentals exist at the rear corners, and the cargo floor lifts to expose some hidden space on a molded panel that rests over the spare tire.

Coming off a significant freshening for 2019, the ’20 Cherokee is barely changed. There are a couple of new exterior color choices and the availability of Alexa Skill connectivity that enables remote starting, fuel-level checks, nav-system address inputs, and other services through home-based Alexa units. Audio and climate controls continue to be convenient and intuitive in access and operation. Personal-item storage is modest but diverse. Glove-box space isn’t terribly big, but the console box (with device inputs) isn’t bad. There’s a small covered bin atop the center of the dash, a tiny drawer to the left of the steering column, and a pouch on the back of each front seat. All four doors have pockets (small in back) with bottle holders, and cup holders are found in the center console and pull-down rear armrest.

Plenty of the shoppers snapping up crossovers and SUVs are more interested in their day-to-day use as the family car than in their potential for off-the-charts adventuring. The Cherokee Limited allows them to meet the first requirement and indulge a little bit of the second one.

Test Drive: 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line

2020 Cherokee Limited

Though it’s not as geared up for off-road duty as its Trailhawk sibling, the Jeep Cherokee Limited can be equipped with Jeep’s Active Drive II 4WD system, giving it good rough-terrain chops in addition to decent on-road refinement.

Listen to the very entertaining Consumer Guide Car Stuff Podcast

2020 Jeep Cherokee Limited Gallery

2020 Jeep Cherokee Limited