Serving up a vast amount of assertion from its powerful turbo and V6 engine options, the 2021 Jeep Cherokee is sure to be a favorite in its segment for the model year. The suspension is more than adept at smoothing our imperfections in the road surface, and the Cherokee is fun to drive regardless of whether you get the turbo 4-cylinder or the V6. And, as far as off-roading goes for this segment, it is hard to beat the Cherokee.
While there are plenty of competitors in the packed small SUV segment, the 2021 Jeep Cherokee manages to stand out. Adventurers will enjoy the Cherokee's rugged nature while everyday commuters might appreciate its calm demeanor while traveling along city streets.
This year, Jeep sweetens the deal by adding a lot more previously optional features and standard on the Cherokee's trim levels. More advanced driver aids are now standard, as are comfort and convenience features. This year also marks the special inclusion of the 80th Anniversary Edition and the all-new (and - we hope - permanent) Latitude Lux trim level.
There are some downsides to owning the new Cherokee though, chiefly the lacking power output from the base engine. Rivals' engines can do better there. They also do better when it comes to how much cargo space you get. This little crossover SUV just does not offer as many cubic feet (24.6 cubes on the Cherokee) as its competitors or its big sister, the Jeep Grand Cherokee (which has been known to 'steal' buyers from the regular Cherokee).
Could the 2021 Jeep Cherokee fit your needs? Check out what's new for the model year, the styles and trims available, how the Cherokee drives, and what to expect in terms of fuel economy.
What's New For 2021?
The addition of the limited-time 80th Anniversary Edition and the new Latitude Lux trim levels are sure to draw a lot of attention to the Cherokee this year. The 80th Anniversary Edition tacks on special exterior accents and styling features while the Latitude Lux gives you the choice of equipping either available engine. It also adds power adjustment for the front passenger seat and standard leather upholstery. But more on that in just a moment.
A few previously optional advanced driver aids, comfort features, and infotainment specs are now standard on more trim levels. Even the base Latitude trim level gets outfitted with driver aids like blind spot monitoring.
The 2021 Jeep Cherokee is strictly available as a small crossover SUV.
The 2021 Jeep Cherokee comes in your choice of five main trim levels: the Latitude, Latitude Plus, Latitude Lux, Trailhawk, and Limited. There are also three sub-trims (the Altitude, High Altitude, and 80th Anniversary Edition) and a handful of packages (including the Trailer Tow and Elite packages).
The base Latitude trim is powered by a 2.4-L 4-cylinder engine that puts out 180 hp and 171 lb-ft of torque. A 9-speed automatic transmission comes along with it. The exterior has roof rails, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and 17-inch alloy wheels. Inside, you will find a Selec-Terrain management system on the 4x4 models, a 6-speaker sound system, a 7-inch touchscreen, smartphone app integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and 60/40-split folding rear seats.
To that, the Latitude Plus adds a de-icer for the windshield wiper, fog lights, keyless entry and remote start, heating on the front seats, a heated steering wheel wrapped in leather, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, power adjustability on the driver's seat, two rear USB ports, and rear automatic braking.
The new Latitude Lux takes all of that and steps it up by adding leather upholstery and a power adjustable front passenger seat. You can select between the standard 3.2-L V6 (which gives an output of 271 hp and 239 lb-ft of torque) or a turbo 2.0-L 4-cylinder (which gets 270 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque).
The off-road-oriented Trailhawk comes only with the V6. Features include all-terrain tires, an 8.8-inch touchscreen, and a rear locking axle and rock mode on the Jeep Active Drive system.
The line-topping Limited lets you choose between the V6 and turbo 4-cylinder. It sits on 18-inch wheels and has a power liftgate. It also offers dual-zone automatic climate control, memory settings for the driver's seat, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, a premium 9-speaker sound system, an upgraded infotainment system, adaptive cruise control, and a panoramic sunroof.
The 2021 Jeep Cherokee lives up to its reputation as a sporty off-roader. The steering is precise and feels properly weighted, also giving the driver some road feel. The wheel always has a good on-center point, but with the sluggish 9-speed equipped, the turbo 4-cylinder is a better option than the V6.
Overall, the off-roading capabilities are above-average, and even the brakes are easy to modulate in any given situation. Calm and predictable, the pedal retains a good amount of pressure as you go.
The one problem are the smoother undulations in some road surfaces. Harsher surfaces are a breeze, but the suspension isn't as refined when it comes to the smaller bumps.
Fuel economy is unfortunately a low point for the Cherokee. It is estimated to get 22 mpg combined (with 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway) on the V6. Real-world testing shows that these lower-than-average numbers are accurate enough. Opting for the turbo 4-cylinder should provide a better return on fuel while creating as much power.
The 2021 Jeep Cherokee is rugged yet comfortable. The optional turbo engine makes for a fun and somewhat fuel efficient ride. Opt for that, get some off-roading features, and you can be on your way to a new adventure.
Formula for Calculating Dealer Cost:
Total Dealer Cost - Rebate and Incentive + Taxes / Licensing Fees = True Dealer Cost. (You can get rebates and incentives here)
Note: All Jeep Cherokee MSRP, invoice and dealer cost dollar figures above are approximate amounts. Prices are subject to change without notice.
A note about rebates: Most rebates are subtracted from the "on the road" figure. In most cases, you can have the rebate if you are arranging your own financing or you are paying cash. If you decide to use the manufacturer’s low interest financing, you do not usually get the rebate. Ask your dealer for details.