Entry Price: $23,695
Price as tested: $42,190
This week, we’re driving the 2017 Jeep Cherokee delivered in legendary Overland trim. Cherokee is the smaller version of Grand Cherokee and is one of the best looking SUVs on the road. This Overland “Trail Rated 4x4,” which debuted in mid-2016, dates back to the 1954 Willys Overland, regarded by many as the first SUV style station wagon ever built.
Jeep’s legend goes back even further. Specifically, during World War II when military needs were many, the first ever Jeep military vehicle appeared and from that day on, a love affair with the Jeep began in earnest. Today, be it millennium to baby-boomer, the dedicated Jeep consumer is pre-sold on the Jeep brand thanks to its many decades of providing outstanding versatility and a fun quotient that’s hard to beat.
Re-designed in 2014, the Toledo, Ohio, built Cherokee 4x4 is a prime example of a small SUV multi-task vehicle ready for any off-road adventure. The entry Cherokee Sport starts at just $23,695 in 2.4-liter four-cylinder, two-wheel drive form while the 4X4 Sport starts at $25,695. A total of eight different Cherokees are available, with our tester Overland the most expensive 4x4 model with an entry price of $37,695.
Consumers can also order the upper-class V6 Cherokee Overland in 2WD form at $34,895, which for many families is just fine as a family hauler with limited towing and light duty off-road abilities. Either way, be it 2WD or 4x4, you’ll receive top quality Jeep Overland quality and surprising comfort.
Aesthetically, today’s Jeep Cherokee is a good-looking small to mid-size SUV/Wagon. Standard fare on our Overland includes all of the modern goodies like 8.4-inch Uconnect touch screen navigation with SiriusXM, nine-speaker stereo with subwoofer, heated and power front seats with lumbar, power liftgate, dual zone climate control, ventilated front seats, leather trimmed seating, 18-inch tires on aluminum polished wheels and some 15 other amenities and style enrichments.
Powered by a 3.6-liter V6, Jeep Overland consumers can rest assured there is more than enough horsepower (271), torque (239) and towing ability (4,500 lbs. with tow package) to take care of just about any need that comes your way. All 2017 Cherokees, be it entry to top line, come with a nine-speed automatic which is much better than the five-speed automatic Jeep utilized through 2013. New is a gas saving “Start-Stop” feature, which shuts the engine off when you are stopped for a red light or stop sign resulting in MPG numbers of 20 city and 27 highway for the 4x4 version.
And speaking of the 4x4, Jeep’s proven Active Drive I Selec Terrain 4x4 system just happens to be one of the best traction combos in the 4x4 industry. It offers Jeep’s switchable Selec-Terrain four modes of fully automatic, snow, sport and sand/mud coupled to a standard brake lock differential.
Most other Jeep Cherokees come standard with a 2.4-liter four cylinder putting out 184 horses and 171 lb. ft. of torque. Although nowhere near as powerful as the V6, Cherokee enthusiasts have a choice to make. However, keep in mind the overall recommendation is the V6 Cherokee even though the four cylinder’s MPG numbers are better at 22 city and 31 highway versus the aforementioned 20 and 27 for the V6 Overland 4x4. Drive both the four cylinder and the V6, and then make your choice.
Safety features that result in overall Four Star government crash ratings come thanks to Jeep’s modern air bag system, four-wheel ABS discs, automatic emergency braking, available tow system with sway control damping, all the stability and traction controls, electronic brakeforce, hill start assist, hill descent control, and much more. The ride is very good while handling is secure thanks to Overland 4x4’s standard off-road suspension.
Our Overland came with a recommended $1,695 optional Technology Group, which adds excellent high-tech safety enhancements. Featured are full-speed forward collision warning with active braking, parallel and perpendicular park assist, adaptive cruise control, advanced brake assist, lane departure warning, rain sense wipers, and automatic high beam control. The other option that spruced up the Overland was a $1,755 Command View dual-pane panoramic sunroof. This brought the final tally to $42,695 with 1,095 destination included.
The cabin is quiet thanks to a standard premium insulation group while Overland models are filled with bonus items. Included are wood and leather wrapped steering wheel, leather wrapped instrument panel, Parkview rear safety camera, blind spot and cross traffic, Overland badges, integrated voice command with Bluetooth, numerous cup holders and storage bins, one year of free SiriusXM radio, and two-tone touches. The seating is very comfortable, and cargo room is decent for a smaller to mid-size SUV.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 106.3-inches, 15.9 gallon fuel tank, 3,953 lb. curb weight, up to 54.9 cu. ft. of cargo space, and 8.7-inches of ground clearance.
You won’t go wrong with a Jeep Cherokee parked in your driveway. Additionally, there’s up to $5,000 incentives currently being offered, so some of you can park this upper-class Overland in your driveway for $37,695.
Likes: Overall design, multi-task abilities, heralded Jeep reputation.
Dislikes: Four-cylinder models won’t haul cargo and four passengers as well as the V6, large A-pillar hampers side vision.
-- Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and other GateHouse Media publications. He welcomes reader questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Test Drive: 2017 Jeep Cherokee
Entry Price: $23,695