Jeep Previews 2019 Cherokee in Advance of North American International Auto Show
Is a 2.0L Turbocharged Hybrid on the Menu?
Like Chevrolet, Jeep surprised us this morning by revealing the facelifted 2019 Cherokee in advance of its expected appearance at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month. The 2019 Cherokee, which has been previewed by spy photos for the past few months, will ditch the current crossover’s controversial styling in favor of cleaner, crisper lines inspired by the Grand Cherokee.
Immediately obvious is the all-new front end, which loses the predecessor's bumper-mounted headlights and insectoid parking lamps in favor of a much more conventional lighting array. Single-unit headlamps featuring Jeep’s now-signature falcon-eye design sit just above foglights mounted higher on the bumper than before. The rest of the front end—including the lower valence, grille openings, and hood—has been redesigned, giving the entire SUV a much more modern appearance.
Up front, Jeep promises “even more fuel efficient powertrain options,” and we think we see evidence of one of those powertrains in the interior photo. The gauge cluster betrays an engine with a redline of 5,600 rpm, well below the power peak of either the base 2.4L Tigershark I-4 or the 3.2L Pentastar V-6 found in the current Cherokee. That leads us to believe Jeep will offer the 2019 Cherokee with a version of the 2.0L turbocharged I-4 found in the 2018 Wrangler JL (which has a redline of 6,000). In that application and bolstered with a mild-hybrid powertrain, the 2.0L I-4 produces 270 hp at 5,250 rpm and 295 lb-ft at 3,000 rpm. That’s one less pony than the Cherokee’s 3.2L V-6, but the power comes in at a much lower rpm, accompanied by 56 more lb-ft as well.
Between the A- and D-pillars, changes appear minor. There will likely be some new wheel designs and color options, but as this is a midcycle facelift, we don’t expect too many alterations to what is already one of Jeep’s bestselling models. Around back, however, there’s a comprehensively reshaped tailgate, moving the license plate from the bumper to just below the rear window. A new rear bumper and all-new taillights (that look to be fired by LEDs) complete the updates.
Inside, changes are minor. Blue interior backlighting gives way to white on the new model, and the gauges look to have been slightly redesigned as well. Some switches and buttons have been relocated, and the 2019 Cherokee will incorporate the latest Uconnect software in its infotainment system.
A mild-hybrid, cosmetically updated Jeep Cherokee would be a good fit for most of the compact SUV’s customers, with improved fuel economy, healthy electric torque, and decent performance to boot. All this is conjecture at this point, but we’ll know more in just a few weeks when the new 2019 Jeep Cherokee takes the stage in Detroit at the 2018 North American International Auto Show.