Recently, a buddy asked us for advice on which model of Jeep Cherokee he should buy for the family.
He wanted a mid-size Jeep that would carry five and their gear nicely around town plus capably into the NEAR outback for moderate outdoor adventure. He also wanted to be able to tow a small trailer with toys as needed, get decent fuel economy and stay under $35,000 – in his garage.
We had just finished a week’s drive in a new 2019 Jeep Cherokee Latitude Plus 4×4 and – based on his wants – recommended the Latitude Plus we had just tested with just one item added.
Generally, we end up spending a lot more time in considering responses to such requests, but considering he was halfway there, it was easy.
Our recommendation: the 2019 Jeep Cherokee Latitude Plus 4×4 we tested – plus the Tow Package with color choice up to him.
2019 Jeep Cherokee Latitude Plus 4×4 as tested
Jeep sent us the Latitude Plus 4×4 with a Granite Crystal Metallic finish and Black interior a few weeks back for a drive test update. The 2019 Latitude Plus has a two-wheel drive MSRP of $27,145 with the 4×4 (as tested) $1,500 more at $28,645.
Our test Cherokee Latitude Plus 4×4 was equipped with the optional new 2.0L Turbo I4 engine for $2,245 making the MSRP for our test Latitude Plus $30,240.
If you are not in need of a serious off-road Jeep Cherokee like the Trail Rated Trailhawk 4×4 (MSRP $33,945) or the premium level amenities and functional capability of the Limited 4×4 (MRSP $34,445) or the luxury of the Overland 4×4 (MSRP $38,245) – you may find the Latitude Plus is plenty enough Jeep Cherokee for you for a little bit less as we did.
Power and Drive Train
The optional 2.0L Turbo I4 engine in our Latitude Plus is actually more powerful and quicker than either the standard 2.4L I4 or the optional V6 – making it a perfect choice for us.
Delivering 270 horsepower with 295 lb.-ft. of torque, it is mated to the Jeep 9-speed automatic transmission with Hill Start Assist – said to be tuned to optimize the power profile of the new turbo.
To that end, we along with others, noted that the integration of the 9-speed with the turbo still needs some work. For us, we found it lagged slightly (finding the right gear to shift down to) at highway speed when we needed fast acceleration for passing. On the other hand, we found it exceedingly quick and responsive accelerating through the gears to highway speed.
The 4×4 system on our Latitude Plus was the Jeep Active Drive 1 with rear axle disconnect to operate in two-wheel mode when AWD is not needed. The system is fully automatic moving in and out of four-wheel drive at any speed, while managing torque distribution for optimal traction. It is great for weather related control on streets and highways. It will also get you capably into the rougher outback – but is not an off-roader in the more traditional sense.
Learn more about Jeep Active Drive systems here: https://www.jeep.com/4×4.html
Our Latitude Plus was also equipped with Jeep Selec-Terrain system. The traction management system has five modes: AUTO, SNOW, SPORT SAND/MUD and ROCK. Driver selectable, each mode automatically adjusts throttle, transmission and steering responses to meet the road condition or terrain challenge most effectively.
HINT: If the 9-speed transmission ‘lag’ bothers you – we were told and found – running in SPORT makes it pretty much go away.
Fuel economy for the Cherokee Latitude Plus 4×4, when equipped with Jeep Active Drive 1, is rated at 19/27 mpg city/highway and 22 mpg combined.
Underneath our Cherokee was an independent suspension (tuned for the Active Drive 1) with McPherson strut front and multi-link rear, electric power rack and pinion steering and power four-wheel anti-lock brakes with Electronic Stability Control, All-Speed Traction Control and Trailer Sway Control.
Running gear for Latitude Plus were 17-inch Satin Carbon finish cast aluminum wheels mounted with 225/65R17 Firestone Destination LE2 all-season tires.
Overall, we found the 2019 Cherokee Latitude to be a smooth ride, well planted with good road handling manners both around town and on the highway.
Cherokee for 2019 has undergone some exterior changes – losing the ‘bug-eye’ look as some have called it – now looks more like the traditional Jeep family. Changes include repositioning the lights in relation to the grille and hood to present a collective Jeep look. A new lightweight aluminum waterfall hood now integrates nicely with the modified – also now more traditional – seven-slot grille.
Other elements on our Latitude Plus included body color fascia and mirror caps, Chrome grille surround, Black headlight bezels, automatic LED Projector Headlamps and integrated LED Daytime Running Lamps, Fog Lamps, Variable Intermittent Windshield Wipers, Rear Window Wiper with Washer and a new contemporary design LED rear taillight motif.
The 2019 Latitude Plus seats five comfortably in a roomy cabin with a nicely appointed interior.
Featured are premium-like soft touch materials, Piano Black surface treatments and premium Satin Chrome trace accents around radio, air vents and shifter bezel.
Of note was the clean and functional design of manual controls on the dash, console stack and surface. Placements were logical, identification easy and operation firm to the touch. The full-length front console featured plenty of storage with easy access cupholders and connectivity elements. We also noted a nifty storage cubby on the dash at the top of the stack.
Premium cloth and vinyl made up the seating surfaces front and rear. The driver seat was 8-way power with passenger 4-way power. Rear seating was a 60/40 split fold for flexible cargo handling. Cargo space behind second row was an adequate 27.6 cubic feet and, with second row flat, 54.7 cubic feet.
Other elements included a crisp 3.5-inch TFT Driver Information Display and leather-wrapped, heated tilt/telescoping steering wheel with audio and cruise controls.
Optional features added by a Comfort and Convenience Group ($895) included Automatic Dual Zone Climate Control with Humidity Sensor and Premium Air Filter, Power Liftgate, Remote Start and 115V Auxiliary Power Outlet.
A Cold Weather Group ($895) added Heated Front Seats, Heated Steering Wheel, Windshield Wiper De-Icer, All-Weather Floor Mats and (yes here in Texas) – an Engine Block Heater.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Our Latitude was equipped with the new Uconnect4 system with 7-inch display with its speaker system upgraded from six to nine including a subwoofer ($695). The system featured SiriusXM and Apple CarPlay plus Android Auto capability, Integrated Voice Command with Bluetooth, 12-volt Auxiliary Power Points (2) and multiple USB charging and input ports.
Safety Elements included Tire Pressure Monitoring with Tire Fill Alert, ParkView Rear Camera, multi-stage front and rear airbags, side curtain front and rear airbags and a LATCH Ready Child Seat Anchor System.
Included also was the SafetyTec Group package ($895) with Blind Spot and Rear Cross Traffic Detection, Power Exterior Mirrors with Turn Signal Indicators and Courtesy Lamps and the ParkSense Rear Park Assist with Stop.
We noted that Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning and Full-Speed Forward Collision Warning with crash Mitigation were not available on the Latitude Plus. They are available on higher trims.
As tested, with delivery, our Cherokee Latitude Plus 4×4 priced at $34,220.
Adding the Tow Group Package ($795) – that includes hitch, harness, transmission oil cooler and spare tire – gives it adventure utility tow capacity of 4,000 pounds.
A delivered price for this 2019 Jeep Cherokee Latitude Plus 4×4 would have been $35,015. Right where our buddy wanted to be.
Where do you want to be? Check all of the Jeep Cherokee models out and build your own at https://www.jeep.com/cherokee.html.