Ace of Base: 2019 Jeep Cherokee Latitude
When the last Cherokee showed up in 2014, its front fascia was comprised of an alarming set of headlights set deep into a scowling bumper, paired with toenail-clipping DRLs at the leading edge of its hood. It was distinctive, to be kind.
This year at Detroit, a refreshed Cherokee took the FCA stage, sporting a handsome new mug that apes the corporate face. With detailed pricing recently released, there’s no better time to see if Jeep’s trucklet can pass the Ace of Base test.
The base Cherokee shrewdly wears the Latitude trim, imbued with the familiar 2.4-liter MultiAir inline-four engine making 180 horsepower. A nine-speed automatic has exorcised its odd behavior after a software rethink and good séance.
Seventeen-inch steelies make their home in the wheelwells. A quirk in Jeep’s build and price tool forces me to select a Popular Appearance Group, explaining the shiny rims in the main photo above. Use your imagination to envision the 225/60/17 tires paired with a set of rough-n-tumble steel wheels.
Driver goodies once reserved for pricier machines are found in the base Cherokee, with blind spot monitors and rear cross-traffic sensors appearing as standard. The DRLs, taillamps, and fog lamps are all of the LED variety.
Six paint choices are all offered a $0, with the Bright White Clearcoat making the base Cherokee look more expensive than it actually is and a fetching Velvet Red giving it an upscale appearance as well. The neat Olive Green Pearl, shown here, fits the Jeep image very well and reminds me of an army surplus jacket.
A trio of USB ports are found in the cabin, important when Junior needs to find a spot to plug in during a long journey when he should be appreciating the scenery instead. Up front, parents can keep abreast of the grim news on NPR with a Uconnect 7-inch touchscreen equipped with an active pinch-to-zoom display. Apple CarPlay/Android Auto are on tap.
Mercifully, Jeep sees fit to offer both black and beige interior hues in the base Cherokee. I remain gobsmacked at manufacturers who stubbornly offer only milquetoast beige cloth in their cheapest machines. Snazzier Cherokees are available with blue, brown, or white chairs as well. The effort to
$24,690 represents a very modest $295 price hike over the old 2018 model and a refreshing departure from the “Katie, jack the sticker” approach taken by the new Wrangler, which slapped a $3,000 premium on the new JL.
FCA has given the Jeep Cherokee a snazzy new set of duds just in time for the new year. Previously styled with an alarming mix of narrowed lights and Hannibal Lecter grille, the restyled 2019 Cherokee adopts the corporate look which first appeared on the Grandest of Cherokees before migrating to the Compass last year. The base model wear much of the same clothes as its fancier brethren, a sure-fire addition in the Ace of Base win column.
It’s worth noting Compass sales went up 50 parent after its restyle brought a handsome look not unlike this new Cherokee. Part of that jump is surely due to customers migrating from the departed Patriot, but the new styling undoubtedly helped as well. It’ll likely benefit the Cherokee, too.
The base Cherokee sure seems to pack an appropriate amount of kit for less than twenty-five large and look good in the process. Editor Tim will pass judgement on the rest of the lineup in another post later today.
[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]
Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments. Naturally, feel free to eviscerate our selection.
The model above is shown in American dollars with American options and trim, absent of destination charges and available rebates. As always, your dealer may sell for less.
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Give me Olive and tan interior, heated seats and wheel (available as part of a package) 4WD and I'd be happy. I like the new look and like that it has a 4WD system that is worth a dang. I know we enthusiasts are the only ones who care but I like having low range. Is "Latitude" truly the base trim? No SPORT model? I actually think the Compass Sport 4x4 isn't a bad little package. I know it's 4-cyl only but it can be had with manual trans and 4x4.
To me, if it has an infotainment system it ain't base.