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2018 Jeep Cherokee

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2018 Jeep® Cherokee Latitude

Overview (Final Score: B)

The 2018 Jeep Cherokee is the last of this model's generation, with an all-new Cherokee being introduced for the 2019 model year. This doesn't make the 2018 Cherokee outdated, as it's a solid choice in the small crossover segment as-is. Changes for 2018 are minimal, but some of them - including trim fattening - are good news for buyers.

The 2018 Cherokee retains Jeep's legendary trail readiness, especially in the Trailhawk trim. It's also notable for a roomy interior, upscale feel and segment-topping infotainment. Surprisingly comfortable on the road and family-friendly, the Cherokee remains a great choice in the five-passenger crossover-SUV segment.

The 2018 Jeep Cherokee is available in five trim levels, starting with the base model Latitude and moving up through the Latitude Plus, Limited, Trailhawk and Overland models.

What We Love About the 2018 Jeep Cherokee:

  • Great exterior look that resonates with buyers

  • Roomy passenger space and usable cargo area

  • On-road comfort is very good and off-road capability is excellent


What We Don't Love About the 2018 Jeep Cherokee:

  • Below-par fuel economy

  • Weak four-cylinder base engine

  • Disconcerting safety and reliability metrics


2018 Jeep® Cherokee Limited

Exterior View (8/10)

The 2018 Jeep Cherokee carries forward with the Cherokee design introduced in 2014. The look is polarizing, but has proven to be popular for Jeep, as the brand has sold more Cherokee models than any other vehicle in its lineup.

The 2018 Cherokee will be the last model with this current look, which starts with a narrow grille, flattened lower nose and sporty body design. The high ground clearance, somewhat over-large wheel wells and muscular rear haunches leave no doubt about the Cherokee's Jeep heritage.

The greenhouse of the 2018 Cherokee is high, aiding the sleekly muscular look of the bodywork. The squared hatchback and strong approach angles fore and aft are all Jeep too.

Interior Comfort, Quality, Ergonomics (9/10)

The 2018 Jeep Cherokee has a roomy interior made of quality materials and a family friendly design. We like the front seating adjustments, even in the base model. The short and tall will be happy that the driver's seat also has height adjustment at the base level.

The Cherokee's dashboard is thick and has Jeep's ready-for-action feel. The large infotainment screen is easy to see and nicely integrated into the dash, while the instrument cluster is bezeled deeply and tilted just right to keep glare out. Behind the steering wheel are small levered infotainment buttons (volume at right, channel/track at left).

2018 Jeep® Cherokee Overland

Steering wheel controls are straightforward and easy to learn, while other driver controls are exactly where you'd expect them to be.

In the rear, stadium-style seating adds a comfortable and spacious feel for passengers. Outboard positions are comfortable, with plenty of legroom and headroom, while the middle space is a bit more cramped but still usable when required. The space is as good or better than most in the small crossover segment.

Cargo space in the 2018 Jeep Cherokee is 24.6 cubic feet with the rear seats up, much of that space being usable floor area. With the second row folded, cargo space expands to 54.9 cubes. That's below par for the segment, but the opening is wide and the floor is flat, so it's very usable. Handy tie-downs and bag clips are added bonuses that put the Cherokee over the top for some.

Most buyers will be impressed with the load of standard equipment included with the base model Latitude, which still includes the option to upgrade to the higher-end infotainment. The Trailhawk trim now includes more driver convenience technologies alongside the trail-ready wheel, suspension and transmission.

2018 Jeep® Cherokee Limited

Technology (10/10)

Fiat Chrysler has honed infotainment technology to excellence with their Uconnect system. In the 2018 Cherokee, the base model starts with a smaller touchscreen that includes basic connectivity (Bluetooth, etc.), as well as satellite radio and push-button starting. Available from the base model and standard in many others, the upgrade is to an 8.4-inch touchscreen with more options.

Standard with the upgrade is Siri Eyes Free, a USB audio interface, hands-free voice-to-text messaging and more. App integration and phone connectivity are also included. A larger driver information display is also added with the infotainment upgrade. Navigation is optional in most Cherokee models.

We like the voice commands, though sometimes tedious, and the useful behind-the-steering-wheel buttons for control.

Fuel Economy (8/10)

The 2018 Jeep Cherokee has decent fuel economy, but not as good as others in the segment. The two-wheel drive models and lower-end engine are disappointing.

A front-wheel drive Cherokee with a four-cylinder base engine has an EPA rating of 25 mpg combined/21 mpg city and 30 mpg highway, which is about par for the segment. The V6 upgrade and same FWD setup drops only a point in the combined rating to 24 mpg and keeps the 21 mpg city/29 mpg highway estimates.

Adding four-wheel drive changes things a little. But in this regard, the 2018 Cherokee stays about on par with the segment's all-wheel and 4WD offerings. EPA ratings there are 22 mpg combined for the four-cylinder and 21 mpg combined with the V6.

Our real-world drive of the Jeep Cherokee proved that in most models, the expected mpg numbers are close to what most drivers can expect in standard driving conditions. However, in the Trailhawk model expect fuel economy to be generally lower thanks to the added off-pavement goodies and larger tires.

2018 Jeep® Cherokee Trailhawk

Predicted Reliability, Initial Quality Ratings (8/10)

As of this writing, the 2018 Jeep Cherokee does not yet have usable reliability numbers to its credit. As it is largely unchanged from the 2017 model year, we can use those as our expectation for this new model year. The 2017 Jeep Cherokee received a J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Study rating of "About Average."

Safety (8/10)

Crash testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has shown mixed results.

The 2018 Jeep Cherokee received four stars overall from the NHTSA, with four stars each for frontal crash and rollover results and five stars for side crash results. The IIHS gave the 2018 Cherokee a top rating of "Good" on all crash tests except for the small overlap front test, rated as "Marginal." Most in this segment are receiving better scores than these.

2018 Jeep® Cherokee Trailhawk

Performance (9/10)

A four- and a six-cylinder engine are available in the 2018 Jeep Cherokee. Both connect to a nine-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive is standard on all but the Trailhawk model. Two four-wheel drive systems are available for the Cherokee.

The base engine is a 184-horsepower four-cylinder engine. Front-wheel drive is standard with Active Drive I 4WD being an option. The V6 upgrade is a 271 hp unit that outputs 239 lb-ft of torque, again in FWD. Both Active Drive I and II are available with this engine. If equipped, towing is rated at 4,500 pounds.

The Active Drive I transmission is similar to the all-wheel drive in the Cherokee's competitors, but it's a true 4WD with a light-duty focus. The Active Drive II system is more rugged, with low-range gearing added. Both use a selection dial for terrain mode selection, with the Active Drive II transmission having an added mode for harsher trail conditions.

When out on the road, the 2018 Jeep Cherokee is surprisingly comfortable and well mannered, even in 4WD models. The ride is smooth and quiet, though the Trailhawk model can add a little tire noise to the cabin with its beefier treads. The four-cylinder engine in the Cherokee often struggles when the crossover is burdened with a full passenger load or pulling a large hill. The six-cylinder is much more confident and faster on the uptake. Transmission tuning is very well done for both engines.

The Jeep Cherokee shines off the pavement no matter its drivetrain. With more clearance and capability than nearly any other option in its class, the 2018 Cherokee is far more capable than the competition. With 4WD installed, the Cherokee lives up to the Jeep name and heritage. The Trailhawk model even more so.

Pricing and Value (9/10)

The 2018 Jeep Cherokee's base-model Latitude is priced higher than most of its competitors, but comes well equipped. The Latitude Plus and 4WD models are great choices, with a nice amount of capability and technology for the price paid. The Trailhawk model is the way to go for buyers interested in serious off-road capability.

Most of the 2018 Cherokee''s value is in roomy passenger space, excellent capability and good everyday usability.

2018 Jeep® Cherokee Latitude

Total Score and Competitive Comparison (69/80, 86%)

Right now the fastest-growing automotive segments are compact and small crossovers like the Cherokee.

The 2018 Jeep Cherokee is competing with some good options, including the best-selling Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. Neither of those have the Cherokee's off-road capability, and the RAV4 does doesn't have the interior accouterments to compete with the Cherokee.

Outside of trail readiness, our choice for the Cherokee's best competition is the Mazda CX-5, with its excellent interior and solid good looks. The capable Subaru Forester might be an option for shoppers needing trail readiness.

The 2018 Cherokee is a great example of the excellence the Jeep brand now embodies. The Cherokee is both pavement and dirt friendly, and offers most everything that buyers want out of a small crossover-SUV.

Trim Style Engine Drive Train MSRP
Latitude Latitude 4x4 4 Cylinder 4WD 25895
Latitude Tech Connect Latitude Tech Connect 4x4 4 Cylinder 4WD 25895
Latitude Plus Latitude Plus 4x4 4 Cylinder 4WD 27795
Trailhawk Trailhawk 4x4 4 Cylinder 4WD 30995
Limited Limited 4x4 4 Cylinder 4WD 31295
Overland Overland 4x4 V6 4WD 37340
Latitude Latitude FWD 4 Cylinder FWD 24395
Latitude Tech Connect Latitude Tech Connect FWD 4 Cylinder FWD 24395
Latitude Plus Latitude Plus FWD 4 Cylinder FWD 26295
Limited Limited FWD 4 Cylinder FWD 29795
Overland Overland FWD 4 Cylinder FWD 34095

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