2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk Elite 4×4 – Ride/Drive
Jeep Cherokee has added an Elite to its Trailhawk 4×4 trim level for 2019. With this addition consumers, when looking at the top of the affordable Cherokee line, no longer have to choose between the premium level, amenity-rich Overland and the rugged off-road challenging Trailhawk. They can both with just one – the Elite.
We liked the Cherokee when it was launched back in 2014. It scored major off-road performance points with us on the original media launch when it easily navigated narrow off-road rock-filled canyons that our ‘trail lead’ Jeep Wrangler Unlimited could not.
With this 2019 mid-cycle refresh, the 2019 Cherokee looks more Jeep-like, having corrected the earlier ‘pinched’ nose and grill design that did not resonate with many consumers.
Even better, with Elite, a Cherokee buyer can now get both premium around town comfort, convenience and amenities plus the rugged off-road conquering capability of a Trailhawk 4×4 – in the same package.
We recently spent a week with the new 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk Elite 4×4. Though we did not have any extended adventuring planned for that week, we did manage to explore a number of outback roads, hills, valleys and even a near-desert mesa over the week.
On the highway, we were impressed by the Cherokee Trailhawk Elite 4×4’s improved handling, more comfortable cabin ambience and convenience features. In tackling outback terrain – shifting into Jeep Active Drive II off-road mode and choosing an appropriate Selec-Terrain setting – we quickly found that this latest Cherokee Trailhawk 4×4 Elite likes to lead – not follow – the rest.
New for 2019
Starting with a new broader and less-chiseled front, the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk Elite 4×4 for 2019 features a new lightweight sloping hood with Flat Black Hood Decal that coordinates handsomely with a bolder signature seven slot grille and lightly revised, LED lighting elements making it more Jeep-like to the enthusiast’s eye.
Beyond that iconic transformation, the 2019 Cherokee lineup (depending on the trim level) offers several new features that improves the drive and ride experience in town or on the trail.
They include an available Dual-Pane Sunroof that delivers bold views all around – road or trail, a Wider Cargo Deck (3-inches) that increases cargo capacity to 27 cubic feet behind the second row. Plus, loading of cargo is now easier with the optional Lightweight Handsfree Power Liftgate.
A redesigned Center Console provides additional personal item storage and a more accessible media hub. Cabin ambience is enriched by new high-gloss Piano Black Interior Trim, Satin Chrome Accents and more premium Soft Touch Surfaces plus available Apple CarPlay and Android Auto services.
Other complementing exterior features include the ‘signature’ Red Tow Hooks front and rear, Power Mirrors with manual foldaway, Automatic Headlamps and new LED lights all around – Low / High Beam Headlights, Daytime Running Lamps, Fog Lamps and Tail Lamps.
Under the Hood
Our test Cherokee Trailhawk Elite 4×4 was powered by the award-winning Pentastar 3.2L V6 equipped with Engine Stop Start, producing a solid 271 horsepower with 239 lb.-ft. of torque.
The V6 is mated to an upgraded TorqueFlite nine-speed automatic transmission. It’s enhanced programming provides a lower first gear ratio to maximize traction and facilitate quick starts. Closely-spaced shift-points deliver smooth acceleration and culminate with the higher gears matched to lower engine speeds for better fuel economy.
This combination performed exceptionally well around town and on the highway. What we did not expect is how well it worked off-road with and through the Jeep Active Drive II and Selec-Terrain Drive Mode system. It performed beyond our expectation – reducing off-road challenges, in most cases, to more like a ‘romp in the park’.
Trail Rated Featured and Capable
Trailhawk is ‘Trail Rated’. Our Trailhawk Elite 4×4 included features and capacity like:
- Jeep Active Drive II Two-Speed PTU (Power Transfer Unit)
- Off-road Suspension and Underbody Skid Plates
- Selec-Terrain Drive System (Auto, Snow, Sport, Sand/Mud/ Rock) with Jeep Active Lock
- Selec-Speed Crawl Control (48.3:1 on the V6)
- 17- x 7.5-inch Painted-Polished Alloy Wheels
- P245/65R17 Firestone Destination OWL All Terrain Tires – full size spare included
- Hill Descent Control, All-speed Traction Control, Electronic Stability Control and Electronic Roll Mitigation
- Ground Clearance – 9.7-inches Chassis and Rear axle with 10.4-/10.5 inches Front Axle/Fuel Tank
- Suspension Travel (Articulation) of 6.7-/7.8-inches front/rear
- Approach/Breakover/Departure angles of 29.9/22.9/32.2 degrees respectively
- Water fording up to 19-inches
- Tow Hooks (2 front and 1 rear)
Well able to handle the off-road, the Cherokee Trailhawk – with the Elite Package – added more premium amenities that enhance the ride and drive experience both around town and off-road.
For example, the front bucket seating is crafted with Nappa Leather, Axis II perforation and Nappa bolstering. The driver seat is 8-way power with 4-way power for the passenger – both heated and ventilated.
Other more premium features and amenities include Keyless Entry, Dual Zone Automatic Temperature Control, All-Weather Floor Mats, 7-inch Configurable Driver Color Information Display, ParkView Rear Backup Camera, heated steering wheel, Foot-Activated Hands-Free Power Liftgate, memory for seats, exterior mirrors and radio, Remote Start System, Windshield Wiper De-Icer and a Tonneau Cover.
Lastly, infotainment on our Cherokee Elite was anchored by the 4th generation Uconnect system. It featured the 8.4-inch Pinch-and-Zoom Color Display, SiriusXM Satellite Radio with Bluetooth integrated Voice Command and Alpine Premium Audio with nine speakers, subwoofer and 506-watt amplifier.
Wrapping it up, a Technology Package added Rain-Sensitive Windshield Wipers, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go, Full-speed Collision Warning with Crash Mitigation, LaneSense Lane Departure Warning, Side Distance Warning and Parallel /Perpendicular Park/Unpark w/Stop System.
How Much – What else?
With a base price of $33,320, adding packages and delivery, our test 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk Elite 4×4, priced at $39,450.
As tested, our Cherokee Trailhawk Elite 4×4 was loaded with Wrangler-like capability plus Grand Cherokee-level amenities that would satisfy most folks.
But we are not most folks. For extended adventuring, we would have added:
- Rock Rails ($1,095)
- Uconnect 8.4 with NAV ($795)
- Full Sunroof with Power Front and Fixed Rear panels ($1,295)
- Trailer Tow Package ($795) – With the V6 able to tow up to 4,500 pounds, extended adventuring could be enhanced by bringing along a trailer for living or to haul other gear.
For us, a 2019 Cherokee Trailhawk Elite 4×4 equipped for extended adventuring and also more than suitable for going to town in style – would price about $43,340.
Learn more about all of the 2019 Jeep Cherokee at: https://www.jeep.com/cherokee.html.