2018 Jeep Cherokee: Release date, prices, specs, and features

Jeep teases the 2019 Cherokee prior to the Detroit Auto Show

The 2018 Jeep Cherokee midsize crossover is the latest version of Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s (FCA) second-best-selling vehicle after the larger Grand Cherokee.

The Cherokee has changed configuration and construction many times since its debut in 1974. The Cherokee was classified as an SUV with truck-style body-on-frame construction until 2013, when the 2014 model year, fifth-generation Cherokee was introduced with a unibody construction base on a car platform.

The transition from SUV to crossover hasn’t hurt Cherokee sales, and as is the case with many other vehicles that are by definition crossovers, such as the Ford Explorer, many consumers still refer to the Cherokee as an SUV. Jeep calls it a “compact SUV.”

The Cherokee was named the second “Most American” vehicle based on the origin of sourced parts in Cars.com’s American-made Index 2017. The No. 1 spot was filled by the Cherokee’s Jeep Wrangler brand mate.

What’s new

The most significant change for 2018 Jeep Cherokees is not related to design, mechanics, or even technology, but to what FCA refers to as “realigned” trim levels. The base trim of the five varieties for 2018 is the Latitude. The Latitude Plus is a new trim that packages popular upgrades. The Cherokee Latitude, Limited, and Trailhawk each have new standard features.

On December 19, 2017, FCA’s Jeep division released teaser photos of the 2019 Cherokee, promising a “new, authentic, and premium design” and additional fuel-efficient powertrain choices. Jeep also stated in a brief notice that the 2019 Cherokee will be formally introduced January 16, 2018, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Pricing, specific trim details, and availability dates for the 2019 Cherokee were not announced, but will likely be a few months after the January introduction.

Engines and transmissions

All 2018 Cherokees have a nine-speed automatic transmission paired with either a 184-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder or a 271-hp 3.2-liter V6 engine. The 2.4-liter engine is standard equipment on all but the Overland trim, which comes with the 3.2-liter V6. Two-wheel-drive is standard on four of the five trims, with three different four-wheel drive system options. The Trailhawk has four-wheel drive standard.

Tech features

For 2018, All Cherokee have antilock brakes (ABS), electronic stability control (ESC), traction control, hill-start assist, keyless entry, rearview backup camera, and trailer sway control.

The Latitude with the Tech Connect Package, an option group for the base trim not to be confused with the new Latitude Plus trim, has an Amazon Alexa skill for voice-activated requests through an included Echo Dot. The Tech-Connect Package also adds an upgraded audio and connectivity system that includes navigation, plus an upgraded exterior with gloss black finishes and 18-inch aluminum wheels.

The Latitude Plus trim has an available SafetyTec Group option package that includes blind-spot monitoring, rear cross path detection, ParkSense rear parking assistance, and power multifunction foldaway mirrors.

Blind-spot monitoring, rear cross path detection, and rear backup warning are standard on the Limited, Overland, and Trailhawk trims. Those three trims can also opt for the Technology Group option package, with Jeep’s full current suite of safety and driver-assistance features.

The Technology Group includes advanced brake assistance, full-speed forward collision warning with crash mitigation, LaneSense lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, and parallel and perpendicular parking assistance, plus exterior mirrors with courtesy lights and turn signal indicators, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and automatic headlamp high-beam control.

How to choose a 2018 Jeep Cherokee

The five major trims in the 2018 Jeep Cherokee lineup include the Latitude, Latitude Plus, Limited, Overland, and Trailhawk. The Latitude and Limited can each be ordered with the Altitude blackout appearance package for buyers who prefer blacked-out wheels and trim instead of the standard body color and chrome trims. Starting prices range from $24,395 for the 4×2 Cherokee Latitude to $37,340 for the 4×4 Overland.

When Digital Trends reviewed the 2015 Cherokee Trailhawk, we were impressed by its outstanding off-road capability. The crossover, based on a Fiat car platform also used by Fiat, Chrysler, and Alfa Romeo, handled highway driving as well as it did rugged trails. When choosing a Cherokee, start with deciding on the respective levels of comfort, convenience, luxury, and off-road performance that matter to you based on the amount you want to spend.

Read below for our 2018 Jeep Cherokee trim roundup.

2018 Jeep Cherokee Latitude

The base model 2018 Cherokee Latitude (starting price $24,395 for FWD/$25,895 for 4×4) has high-intensity discharge (HID) headlights, roof side rails, fog lamps, and cargo management — all features that often cost extra with other crossovers. The Latitude has 17-inch aluminum wheels, FCA’s Uconnect 3 with a 5-inch touchscreen display with AM/FM radio, Bluetooth streaming audio, and voice command recognition.

The special-edition Latitude with Tech Connect ($26,190 to start for 4×2) adds gloss black exterior finishes, 18-inch wheels, an Alpine premium audio system, an Amazon Echo Dot for Alexa voice assistance, and a uConnect 3C navigation and voice command system with an 8.4-inch touchscreen display.

2018 Jeep Cherokee Latitude Plus

The new trim for 2018, the Latitude Plus (starting price $26,295 for FWD/$27,795 for 4×4) bumps up the base Latitude with leather and cloth seats, and Uconnect 3C with an 8.4-inch touchscreen. Other standard features include keyless entry with a start/stop button, an eight-way power driver seat with four-way power lumbar adjustment, and a fold-flat front passenger seat.

2018 Jeep Cherokee Limited

The first level of Cherokee luxury, the Limited trim (starting price $29,795 with FWD/$31,295 for 4×4) has 18-inch aluminum wheels, remote start, dual-zone automatic temperature control, heated leather seats and heated steering wheel, and a power liftgate. The Limited is also the first trim on the way up the range with standard blind-spot monitoring, rear cross path detection, and ParkSense rear parking assistance.

2018 Jeep Cherokee Overland

Topping the 2018 Jeep Cherokee luxury trims, the Overland starts at $34,095 for FWD and $37,340 for four-wheel drive. The Overland rolls up with 18-inch polished aluminum wheels, a premium leather-wrapped instrument panel and wood accent steering wheel, and a premium Alpine nine-speaker audio system. Other standard Overland features include heated and ventilated Nappa leather-trimmed front seats with eight-way power driver seat and four-way lumbar adjustment, and the Uconnect 3C Nav with an 8.4-inch touchscreen display for navigation and infotainment with Bluetooth streaming audio, voice command, and a trial subscription to SiriusXM satellite radio.

2018 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk

All Jeep Cherokees with four-wheel drive are off-road capable, but the Trailhawk (starting price $30,995, available only with four-wheel drive) is packed with rut-ready equipment including Jeep’s Active Drive Lock 4×4 system with Selec-Terrain with rock mode, a 1-inch suspension lift, and skid plates. The Trailhawk has 17-inch off-road aluminum wheels with all-terrain tires and accent-colored tow hooks to help pull or be pulled.

The Trailhawk has a matte black hood decal to cut glare plus off-road body fascia. Inside, the Trailhawk has unique seats with red accent stitching leather bolsters and rivet cloth inserts. Trailhawks include the Uconnect 3C infotainment system with an 8.4-inch touchscreen display with Bluetooth streaming audio, voice command, and a trial SiriusXM Satellite Radio subscription.The dashboard also has a 7-inch driver information digital cluster display.

Trim 2018 Latitude 2018 Latitude Plus 2018 Limited 2018 Overland 2018 Trailhawk
Base price $24,395 FWD/$25,895 4×4 $26,295 FWD/$27,795 4×4 $29,795 FWD/$31,295 4×4 $34,095 FWD/$37,340 4×4 $30,995
Drive wheels Front Front Front Front 4×4
4WD/AWD? 4×4 optional 4×4 optional 4×4 optional 4×4 optional 4×4
Base engine 2.4L inline 4-cylinder 2.4L inline 4-cylinder 2.4L inline 4-cylinder 3.2L V6 2.4L inline 4-cylinder
Base horsepower 184 hp @ 6,400 RPM 184 hp @ 6,400 RPM  184 hp @ 6,400 RPM 271 hp @ 6,500 RPM  184 hp @ 6,400 RPM
Base torque 171 lb-ft @4,600 RPM 171 lb-ft @4,600 RPM 171 lb-ft @4,600 RPM 239 lb-ft @ 4,400 RPM 171 lb-ft @4,600 RPM
Transmission 9-speed automatic 9-speed automatic 9-speed automatic 9-speed automatic 9-speed automatic
Fuel Regular gas Regular gas Regular gas Regular gas Regular gas
Fuel capacity (gallons) 15.9 gallons 15.9 gallons 15.9 gallons 15.9 gallons 15.9 gallons
Fuel economy 21 mpg city/30 mpg highway/25 mpg combined (4×2) 21 mpg city/30 mpg highway/25 mpg combined (4×2) 21 mpg city/30 mpg highway/25 mpg combined (4×2)  21 mpg city/29 mpg highway/24 mpg combined (4×2)  21 mpg city/30 mpg highway/25 mpg combined (4×2)
Base wheels 17-inch steel 17-inch aluminum 18-inch aluminum 18-inch aluminum 17-inch aluminum
Body style 4-door SUV 4-door SUV 4-door SUV 4-door SUV 4-door SUV
Passengers 5 5 5 5 5
3rd-row seating N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Storage behind 2nd-row seats 24.6 cu ft 24.6 cu ft 24.6 cu ft 24.6 cu ft 24.6 cu ft
Storage behind 1st row seats 54.9 cu ft 54.9 cu ft 54.9 cu ft 54.9 cu ft 54.9 cu ft
Max Towing capacity 2,000 pounds 2,000 pounds 2,000 pounds 2,000 pounds 2,000 pounds
Seat upholstery Cloth Cloth/leather/vinyl bucket seats  Leather Leather Cloth/leather/vinyl bucket seats

Updated with Jeep’s 12-19-17 announcement and teaser photos of the 2019 Jeep Cherokee.

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