When Jeep revived the Cherokee name back in 2014, it did so on a midsize crossover with styling unlike any Jeep before it, with a controversial front end complete with insectoid turn signals.
In person, the 2015 Jeep Cherokee Latitude tested here looks a lot better than in pictures. Most of the credit needs to go to the paint and trim colors. The Granite Crystal Metallic paint – metallic dark gray without the corporate name – is matched with an appearance package that blacks out all the trim. The alloy wheels are even painted black. The color scheme gives this Cherokee a downright menacing look.
The look is further enhanced with the black cladding on the lower portion of the body, a trick many manufacturers use to give car-based crossovers the appearance of having more ground clearance.
The Cherokee also looks more substantial than in pictures, with a long hood and chunky proportions. It’s a smart looking vehicle, even though the rest of the body isn’t nearly as distinctive as the front end.
Inside, the Cherokee has good front seat room and decent rear seat room, although tall occupants will run out of legroom before they run out of headroom if the front seat passenger is also on the tall side. The dash is attractive and functional, with a large 8.4-inch touch screen and real knobs and buttons for the climate control system.
The steering wheel is wrapped in soft leather and the dash and door panels are clad in what looks like leather but is most likely vinyl. Most surfaces that are touched most often are soft, but some hard plastic remains, especially on the lower portion of the dash and console and on the B-pillars.
The seats are made of a high-quality nylon material that’s grippy and gives the appearance of durability. Seat comfort is excellent, especially the 8-way adjustable driver’s seat. The seats don’t quite have enough side bolstering for spirited driving, but the Cherokee doesn’t pretend to be a sports car, so the extra bolstering isn’t really needed. The Cherokee’s cabin is overall a nice place to spend some time.
Under the hood of this 2015 Cherokee is the optional 3.2-liter V-6 engine that puts out 271 horsepower and 239 lb-ft of torque. It’s matched with a 9-speed automatic transmission through Jeep’s non-trail-rated all-wheel-drive system. The engine has good power, but the transmission is slow to kick down even from a standing start, giving the Cherokee the feeling of being slower than it is.
With the V-6 and 9-speed auto, the Cherokee is rated at 20 mpg city, 28 mpg highway and 23 combined. The MSRP as tested is $33,825, with a base price of $27,095.
A full review of this 2015 Jeep Cherokee Latitude 4×4 is coming soon. Until then, check out this TFLcar video of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk: