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2020 Jeep Cherokee is a unique, rugged compact SUV offering Featured

Posted On Sunday, 12 April 2020 02:26 Written by
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The 2020 Jeep Cherokee stands out in the compact SUV segment due to its off-road capabilities. The 2020 Jeep Cherokee stands out in the compact SUV segment due to its off-road capabilities. Photo courtesy of Jeep

Among the sea of available compact SUVs, every entry has its strong points.
And when we’re talking about Jeep, one word comes to mind: Rugged.

I recently tested a 2020 Jeep Cherokee, a compact SUV that offers an edge in off-road capability over the competition — which includes the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape and many more.

For 2020, there are few major changes, and much of the Cherokee design dates back several years. It’s still a sharp exterior look though, with an attractive side view and the usual seven-slot grille up front, complemented by nicely-shaped headlamps.

The interior is very welcoming and comfortable, and more upscale than you would expect from a Jeep. My test vehicle featured premium leather-trimmed bucket seats, dual-zone automatic temperature control, heated front seats and heated steering wheel.

Spacewise, keep in mind this is a compact SUV, so the rear will be a bit tight for passengers in terms of leg room. Front seats are very comfortable and you get good head space all around. Cargo space is decent but less than some competitors.

You can spruce up the look of the Cherokee with an optional sunroof. A power liftgate, push button start, and remote start system are also helpful. My test vehicle featured 18-inch aluminum wheels.

All in all, this is an attractive ride in and out that stands out designwise in the class and makes a driver feel welcome.

My test vehicle had the standard engine option on the 2020 Cherokee: A 2.4-liter, four-cylinder turbo engine that offered 180 horsepower and 171 lb.-ft. of torque. Other engine options include a 3.2-liter V6 (271 HP, 239 lb.-ft.) and a 3.2-liter four-cylinder turbo (270 HP, 295 lb.-ft.). 

All engine options are paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission. The Trailhawk trim level is only available in AWD, and all other trim levels are available in both FWD and AWD.

The base engine, in my experience, offered a decent driving experience, but will likely underwhelm most people in terms of power and acceleration. Many buyers of the Cherokee, especially those looking to dabble in off-road excursions, will be wise to opt for one of the stronger engine options.

The suspension did an excellent job and creates a smooth daily drive on regular roads, which is realistically where most of its time will be spent. Whether you choose the standard or off-road suspension, the Jeep Cherokee offers impressive ground clearance compared to its rivals.

Even the regular versions of the Cherokee have the ability to do some basic off-roading, at least more than their competitors can. Going beyond that, true adventurers will want to check on the Trailhawk model, which is built specifically for that purpose (but at a premium price).

The Cherokee features Jeep’s Selec-Terrain system, which is designed to adjust the vehicle for the best on-road and off-road performance. You must choose the terrain mode that is most applicable, via a dial in the center console area, and options include: Auto, Snow, Sport and Sand/Mud.

The Cherokee also features Hill-Start Assist, all-speed traction control, and Electronic Stability Control.


The Cherokee features an excellent UConnect infotainment system, which drivers of FCA vehicles have come to expect: It’s sized right at 8.4 inches, well-designed and easy to control by voice or touch.

The system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for phone mirroring. You get a year free of satellite radio, and Bluetooth connectivity for streaming audio and phone calls.  

In terms of safety, you get a full array of air bags, and strong government safety ratings (all 4 or 5 stars). Jeep also delivers excellent safety features, including: ParkSense rear park-assist with stop, Parkview rear back-up camera, blind-spot and cross-path detection, anti-lock brakes and tire pressure monitoring.

Optional safety features include: Advanced Brake Assist, rain-sensitive windshield wipers, Lane Departure Warning Plus, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go, Side Distance Warning, and Parallel and Perpendicular Park Assist.

A 4G LTE Wi-Fi Hot Spot is also available in the Cherokee.

The official fuel mileage numbers on the 2020 Jeep Cherokee I tested were 20 city/27 highway/23 combined. I averaged just under 23 mpg. These are decent but not spectacular numbers.

The 2020 Jeep Cherokee Limited that I tested was priced just over $42,000, but the base price starts about $26K. So there are lots of pricing options depending how much you want out of the vehicle. Trailhawk buyers will spend at least $35K.

Warranties include a 5-year/60K powertrain warranty, and a 3-year/36K basic limited warranty.


Amid a sea of compact SUVs, the Jeep Cherokee stands out by offering the ability to go off the beaten path more comfortably, while still offering an impressive on-road drive. Not for everyone, but it’s a good first step for occasional adventurers who like the Jeep brand but are mostly domestic and don’t need to go full-on with a Wrangler or Gladiator model.

==== can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page. Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2020 Jeep Cherokee
  • Price as tested: $42,075 (starts around $26K) 
  • Best feature: Quality and comfort of interior; off-road capability
  • Rating: 3.5 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Jeep lovers who want a mix of comfortable city driving and off-road ability
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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