There were some folks in the traditionalist Jeep camp who weren’t happy campers when the design language of the iconic Jeep Cherokee changed with the 2014 Jeep Cherokee lineup. For starters, some Jeepsters were fans of the Jeep Liberty, which was replaced by the Cherokee. Next, the boxy format of the old Cherokee managed from existance. There’s was also the issue of the modification to iconic styling cues, such as the vertically upright seven-slot grille and conventional placement of round headlights. The 2014 Jeep Cherokee definitely represented a radical departure from the Cherokee of old, but let’s face it, if things never changed in the interest of progress, we wouldn’t even have typewriters, let alone personal computers, and we might even still rely on the horse and buggy for transportation. New 2020 Jeep Cherokee a game changer.
Ah, but I digress – enter the new 2020 Jeep Cherokee lineup, which consists of eight models, with two engine choices a 2.4-liter four or a 3.2-liter V6, different four-wheel drive systems to choose from and Jeep’s Selec-Terrain traction control system, all joining forces with a 9-speed automatic transmission to gear the engine’s power to the ground.
The eight model range consists of the base level Cherokee Latitude followed by the Cherokee Upland and Latitude Plus – then there’s the Cherokee Altitude, trail-rated Cherokee Trailhawk, Cherokee Limited, the High Altitude and the Cherokee Trailhawk Elite. Drive configurations available in 4×2 or 4×4. The lower two trims come in FWD only and the Trailhawk and Trailhawk Elite, which come only as a 4×4. Base pricing ranges from $25,935 to $37,895.
Powering the Jeep Cherokee tribe are modern, state-of-the-art engines: either a 2.4-liter MultiAir2 Tigershark inline four-cylinder that produces 184 horsepower and 171 lb.-ft. of torque or a 3.2-liter Pentastar V-6 engine that makes 271 horsepower along with 239 lb.-ft. of torque. Both mate to the new 9-speed automatic transmission.
The four-wheel drive systems available are: Jeep Active Drive I with a one-speed power transfer unit; Jeep Active Drive II with a two-speed power transfer unit and low range; and finally Jeep Active Drive Lock, also with a two-speed PTU, low range and a locking rear differential. All three systems feature an industry first rear-axle disconnect, which results in reduced energy loss when 4×4 capability isn’t needed thereby improving fuel efficiency.
The innovative Jeep Selec-Terrain system provides up to five selectable modes: Auto; Sport; Snow; Sand/Mud and Rock. that provide optimum four-wheel-drive performance for any road or weather condition.
CONTEMPORARY EXTERIOR STYLING
The 2020 Jeep Cherokee High Altitude 4×4 is topped in pecking order only by the Cherokee Trailhawk Elite and showcases a progressive exterior designed for the future with a global appeal. The exterior lines are fluid and sleek highlighting the efficient, wind-splitting upper body. The tough, protective lower body conveys the legendary capability characteristic of every Jeep. The rugged lower and smooth upper body is divided by the key waterline feature that connects the exterior for a full 360 degrees. And, for the record, the headlights are still round but restyled and repositioned.
Up front is the waterfall hood with the iconic peaked, seven-slotted grille, which includes a crisp, horizontal snap – a feature in many classic Jeep vehicles. The hood is clearly defined and separated from the front fenders in a modern twist of Jeep heritage. The one-piece hood and grille assembly ensures a precise build. Advanced LED lighting technology is used throughout the Jeep Cherokee models. Forward lighting features a very unique daytime running lamp shape, playing a dominant role in the fresh front-end proportion and giving the impression of a slim headlamp. A well-hidden projector headlamp is almost in disguise below the DRLs, near the dark fascia. DRL feature lamps are placed high for water fording. The front of the all-new 2014 Jeep Cherokee flows visually through the rest of the vehicle with windows that link together, from the fast front windshield speeding to the backlight.
The Cherokee’s sides project a fluid tension in surface execution featuring the signature Jeep trapezoidal wheel arches. The rich chrome appearance of the daylight opening (DLO) shape and execution draws a close relationship to the flagship Jeep Grand Cherokee creating a consistency across the Jeep lineup. Two open-air roof options are offered: the new CommandView dual-pane sunroof as well as the industry-exclusive SkySlider open-air sunroof.
The aft end of the new Cherokee is highlighted by the contemporary full LED tail lamps, which are an integral part of the rear backlight graphic. The lower rear fascia was designed to allow for every license plate across the globe. The rear fascia also carries Jeep Cherokee-specific rear fog lamps and reflex.
COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE
The 2020 Jeep Cherokee’ High Altitude’s interior inspiration included exotic locations and terrain around the world that brought beautiful imagery to mind. The interior is a blend of hand-sculpted fluid shapes, high-quality materials, innovative color and material choices, precision craftsmanship, state-of-the-art technology and thoughtful, clever features, making it inviting and comfortable. A vinyl-wrapped, stitched instrument panel brow is standard on all models and the stitching carries over to the center console armrest and front door armrests. Seats are ergonomically designed to support the contour of the body, and are trimmed with premium cloth or quality Nappa leather and are available with power adjustable, heated/ventilated seats with memory.
Unique features such as the available heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel, second-row seats that recline and move fore and aft, and wireless charging pad is also available. A world-class thin-film transistor 3.5-inch grayscale or 7-inch full-color reconfigurable instrument cluster allows the driver to enjoy a customized user experience and receive information and vehicle feedback in the format they prefer while keeping their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
Thoughtful storage features make the most of the available interior space. Glove box storage space is deep and large enough to hold an iPad or most laptop computers.
The center console hosts the integrated phone docking station, USB and SD ports and auxiliary- power source. The Cherokee features up to two 12-volt power outlets, one in the instrument panel and, on select models, a second outlet in the center console.
An available award-winning 8.4-inch touchscreen multimedia command center or the standard 5-inch touchscreen multimedia command center are attractive, intuitive and easy-to-use, and are located in the center stack. The Uconnect system allows the driver to control the audio, climate controls, heated/ventilated seats and much more from the touchscreen, redundant controls located on the center stack below the touchscreen or with voice commands. The Cherokee High Altitude features three-spoke Jeep steering wheel with audio, voice and speed controls, adding a level of technical sophistication.
I fall into the fan category of this latest and best (in my opinion) iteration of the new Jeep Cherokee where change was not made simply for the sake of change, but rather for elevated styling and design appeal along with enhanced and improved capability, no to mention greater efficiency across the board. Both the interior and exterior take on an elegance not normally found in an affordable SUV.
My test 2020 Jeep Cherokee High Altitude wore an exterior coat of Velvet Red Pearl complemented by a Black interior treatment. The base sticker read $35,595. Which rode to $42,715. After factoring in optional fare and the destination charge. The High Altitude package alone incurred a cost of $1,795. and included: Tungsten interior accent stitching; GPS navigation; Granite Crystal exterior badging, rear fascia lower valance, roof rails and grille surrounds; body color fascias, wheel flares, exterior sill moldings and door claddings; and Black daylight opening moldings along with several connectivity features.
The 2020 Cherokee High Altitude 4×4 is as capable as it is good looking. It handles admirably both on and off-road. The 3.2-liter PentaStar V6 being is the star engine, and the new 9-speed automatic transmission operates smoothly, changing gears in either direction.
Road holding is stable and the ride quality is quite comfortable. The handling characteristics are sporty in nature, with good on-center feedback. Towing capacity is 2,000 pounds.
The suite of more than 70 available advanced safety and security features delivers a pleasing, confidence-building driving experience – these include: ParkSense Parallel/Perpendicular Park Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control-Plus, Forward Collision Warning-Plus, LaneSense Departure Warning-Plus, ten standard air bags; and 9-1-1 Assist Call featuring mirror-mounted buttons for emergency services, roadside assistance, Uconnect Customer Care and non-collision related emergencies.
OUR FINAL REFLECTION
The Jeep marque stands on more than 70 years of legendary heritage offering the largest range of SUVs under one brand. Cherokee is built in the United States at Chrysler Group’s Toledo (Ohio) Assembly Plant.
If you’re looking for an ideal sized SUV with smooth styling and legendary capability, the Jeep Cherokee is a sure winner. For those of you who are fixated on the boxy old traditional Cherokee, remember, your vehicle was once new too, and it was a departure from the early military Jeep, so perhaps the time to move on has come.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2020 Jeep Cherokee High Altitude 4×4
VEHICLE TYPE_________________Five-door, 5-passenger SUV.
AS TESTED PRICE______________$42,715.
Engine Size:…………………………… 3.2-liter
Engine Type:…………………………… Pentastar DOHC, 24-valve V-6 with sequential returnless multiport fuel injection, VVT and ESS.
HORSEPOWER (bhp)_____________ 271 @ 6,500 rpm
TORQUE (lb.-ft.)_________________ 239 @ 4,400 rpm
TRANSMISSION_________________ 948TE nine-speed automatic.
OVERALL LENGTH_______________ 182.0 inches
TURNING CIRCLE (curb-to-curb)_____ 38.0 feet
CURB WEIGHT__________________3,960 lbs.
FUEL CAPACITY________________ _15.8 gallons
EPA MILEAGE RATING_____________ 19 mpg city / 27 mpg highway
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