The Cherokee holds true to the Jeep name with the signature seven-slotted front grille
If you’re thinking about getting into a Jeep, this makes you one of the very many individuals looking to enjoy the adventurous nature of the most well-known off-road adventure SUVs. To date, Jeep is responsible for opening up the world beyond the borders of our roadways. Drivers are exploring the roads less travelled, day by day, climbing mountainous terrain and plunging across rivers. The sense of adventure embedded deep within owners is expressed through the pure rugged personality that Jeeps emote so well.
There’s no doubt that the Wrangler (reviewed here) is the pinnacle example of how popular the Jeep brand has become. You don’t need to be an off-road aficionado to identify the legendary 4×4. In fact, the Wrangler is just as popular with teenyboppers as much as it is with experienced wilderness fans. Though, it must be mentioned that the renowned Wrangler isn’t the only vehicle Jeep has to offer. The Grand Cherokee proves to be popular with a slightly more refined audience that lives a more practical lifestyle. Many of them have a 9-5 on weekdays with the weekends reserved for northbound escapes. Then we have the middle child among the family, this 2017 Jeep Cherokee Overland 4×4.
The compact Cherokee is a well-balanced compromise between adventure-ready and concrete jungle-capable. This SUV represents just how much the landscape has changed when it comes to our sport utility vehicles. Once upon a time, the SUV market was dominated by gas-guzzling V8 behemoths, whereas nowadays that same segment is overcome by nimbler crossover vehicles. Smaller displacement engines and pound-shedding designs have led to better fuel economy across the board, without sacrificing that same sense of explorative curiosity we all enjoy.
Cherokee holds true to the Jeep name with the signature seven-slotted front grille and the classic squared-off wheel arches. It fulfilled the needs of many buyers looking for a small, yet capable off-roader. Though for some, it lacked the urban luxuries and refinements found in more corporate style vehicles. Jeep’s solution to this is the Overland trim level. This peak trim infuses high-end luxury commodities into the soul of the Cherokee, inside and out. An Overland is easily recognizable by one of its more prominent exterior finishes – colour-matched, painted trim.
Whereas other variants of the Cherokee come with dark grey plastic trim around the bottom portion of the body, the Overland comes neatly finished with a single tone paint scheme across every exterior panel. Our tester was dressed in the Deep Cherry Red Crystal Pearl paint ($225), paired with standard 18” polished aluminum wheels. The darker red paint contrasts the chrome trimmings nicely, showing off more distinct elements only found on the Overland model. The overall design of the Cherokee has made me tilt my head for the most part.
For instance, I don’t quite understand the design of the front fascia, specifically the lighting arrangement, with the LED running lights and turning signals in a separate assembly placed above main headlamp assembly. That being said, because the design is so distinctive, it enables the Cherokee to stand apart from the rest of the class, giving it a unique personality. While on that topic, aside from the LED lights found around the vehicle, the headlamps consist of two bi-xenon HID bulbs, nicely lighting up the road ahead and keeping occupants safe.
The interior of the Cherokee Overland follows suit with the luxurious theme. A two-tone colour scheme starring dark brown leather wrapped panels, with pearl white seats and armrests, all boasting Sepia contrast stitching. This variant of the Cherokee also comes standard with premium leather-faced bucket seats with the Overland logo stitched onto the backrest, adding a little finesse to the cabin. The steering wheel is colour matched to the brown leather found throughout the rest of the interior, with a neat wood insert atop the wheel.
Being a taller individual, I can confidently say that it can sometimes prove difficult finding a car that I can say I’m truly comfortable in. Headroom can sometimes be a challenge, but the Cherokee did not disappoint. The bucket seat feels plush and comfortable, yet firm enough to hold you in place as you trot along. Thankfully the shifting module is a conventional lever, as opposed to the seemingly popular rotary shifter becoming more and more prominent in the Fiat-Chrysler family.
The Cherokee is equipped with a ZF-sourced nine-speed automatic transmission, and with our tester in particular, it was mated to the optional 3.2L Pentastar V6 ($1,595), an upgrade from the standard 2.4L Tigershark four-cylinder motor. The V6 does a good job propelling the Cherokee forward, with 271 horsepower and 239 lb-ft of torque. In reality, it moves just as one would expect. You do have the option of being a little adventurous with a manual shifting setting, but quite honestly, there’s no point.
Keep the car in full automatic mode, let the nine-speed select gears for you, and you’ll be more than happy. Depending on driving conditions, you also have the option between four varying driving modes; auto, snow, sport, and sand/mud. During my test week with the Cherokee, I averaged 11.3L/100km, which is okay considering Jeep rates the car at 12.5L/100km city and 8.9L/100km highway, with a combined average of 10.9L/100km. My test consisted of a ton of city driving, with the occasional scoot across town on the highway, avoiding rush hour as much as I could.
What does it all boil down to? As it does with most cars – the cost. As tested, this top-trim variant of the Cherokee will run you $48,760. If you were to opt for a lower-spec Overland with no optional equipment, that would come in at just over $45,000. The 2017 Jeep Cherokee Overland 4×4 offers a handful of premium features, both inside and out, while carrying on the quintessential character that defines the Jeep name. As far as I’m concerned, none of the Cherokee’s direct competition can amount to the same level of luxury that the Overland offers.
2017 Jeep Cherokee Overland 4×4 Gallery