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2016 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk Review: A Wrangler for the Suburban Set

5279 Views 7 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  casemaker
An interesting and (I would say) a fair review of the Cherokee, in the TH 2016 trim, from Cheatsheet.com. Some quotes & photos and the link:

"..The 2016 Trailhawk version of the Cherokee is a brilliantly laid-out automobile, and even though many owners revel in this vehicle’s off-road expertise, at the end of the day these Jeeps spend most of their lives on the asphalt — but it doesn’t seem to mind that very much either. Even though it is a funky-looking machine, the Trailhawk won me over with a surprisingly sound set of virtues that focused primarily on practicality and purpose..."

"..Exterior pros and cons
+ Snazzy 17-inch alloy wheels, sloped, dual-port polished exhaust tips, and a couple of bright red tow hooks all add some flair beneath the dark gray beltline to keep the Trailhawk attractive.

+ Love it or hate it, that three-tier light display up front garners attention. I actually like how it looks after staring at it for a while.

+ All that dark, unpainted plastic down in the lower parts of the Cherokee would typically turn me off, but since there’s matching dark gray across the center of the bonnet and around the grille ducts, it suddenly has this two-tone scheme that looks pretty good.

– This is not so much of a cosmetic exterior qualm as it is a functional one, but the mirrors on the Trailhawk Cherokee are not power-folding. This poses a problem for anyone who wants to clear an obstacle on the passenger side, because the vehicle has to be put into park before the driver can climb over the seat and fold the mirror in prior to proceeding past said obstacle.

– I am all for flush exhaust ports on a car in order to aid in ground clearance, but on this performance Jeep they seem undersized in proportion to the rest of the rear bumper. Lets less water in while fording, maybe?

– Is it just me, or are elongated antennas unnecessary these days? And who listens to AM radio anyways?..."

"..Powertrain pros and cons
+ Potent enough to carry the Cherokee’s 2-ton frame on its back without issue, the 3.2-liter V6 option is a nice complement to this chassis.

+ Having a powertrain that supports crawl mode, various terrain traction settings, and differential locks spells one thing: Trailhawk.

+ There is something nice about not having V8 headaches, hearing a supercharger whine, or dealing with filling up with Premium gas. Keeping it simple and effective, the V6 motor/transmission combo in the Trailhawk is a competent working class hero with hiking boots that it isn’t afraid to get dirty.

– While the 3.2-liter V6 is the engine to opt for when buying a Cherokee, it would be nice to see a smaller EcoDiesel option become available down the line for torque and mileage purposes.

– The nine-speed automatic is a smooth shifter for the most part, but the gearhead in me wonders why a manual transmission is not offered on the Trailhawk Cherokee.

– With a 22-mile-per-gallon average and a greenhouse gas rating that is not amazing, the efficiency levels of this powertrain are by no means revolutionary compared to other V6 engines on the market today...."

"..Interior pros and cons
+ Comfy bucket seats with luxurious leather stitching, quality plastics at every turn, a surprisingly quiet cabin, and a passenger seat that folds completely flat for nap time.

+ The dash, door inserts, and those heated leather seats get contrasting stitching, and with a heated steering wheel accompanied by ample head and leg room in the backseat, off-roading isn’t the rugged experience it once was.

+ Cubbies, LED ambient lighting, a full-size Firestone all-terrain spare, Jeep’s signature cargo management system, and added storage hidden within seats all add value to a vehicle that many tend to judge only from the outside.

– Some of the trim work was flimsy/poorly jointed, and having LED mood lighting but no LED dome lights doesn’t make sense.

– After dropping nearly $40,000 on a new range-topping Cherokee, an additional $1,595 will get you a dual-pane panoramic sunroof — but not a traditional smaller one.

– For as clever as it is, the rear storage area is kind of small. Could be a deal breaker for some, but that’s why the Grand Cherokee is there, right?..."

"..Tech pros and cons
+ The Cherokee has received an overall crash safety rating of 4/5 stars from the government, and when compared to older generations this is a huge step forward.

+ Blind spot and cross path detection, Parksense rear park assistance, back-up camera, electronically controlled stability control and roll mitigation, and tons of airbags are what we like to see in the safety department.

+ Lots of pre-installed apps, a nine-speaker sound system with a flush-mount subwoofer, a sharp looking MID with lots of settings and info, and all of the USB ports you could need are just a few reasons to relish in the tech in this machine.

– You can tell that the Navi on this model is at the point where it is ready for an upgrade. While it will get you where you need to go, it’s not as advanced as other new cars in similar price brackets, like those from GM or Mazda.

– If there was one thing that was frustrating to work with, it had to be the fact that Jeep does not have a manual control knob for exploring a map when navigating. Just try and move the map a few miles down the road with your finger and then zoom in on a waypoint — it’s practically impossible to do.

– It would be nice to see Jeep incorporate some ground clearance cameras on the front of Trailhawk versions to aid in both parking and off-road navigation..."

"..Wrap up and review
With all of the additional interior upgrades, safety add-ons, and cold weather packages, our Trailhawk came to us tipping the scale at $37,960. This isn’t bad considering all you get for that, starting with the 3.2-liter V6, and ending with the menu of traction settings. It’s a car that is kind of hard to hate on, even if it is stylistically a bit of an enigma to many people.

So would I recommend a Trailhawk version of the Cherokee over other off-road vehicles from Jeep? I would, especially since both the Patriot and Compass are getting phased out for a reason, and the Trailhawk version of the Renegade only comes with the lackluster 2.4-liter Tigershark engine and does not come equipped with a stick. It is more refined and comfortable to drive on a daily basis than the Wrangler, and costs a lot less than an equally well-appointed Grand Cherokee. Jeep, please figure out an EcoDiesel engine that can fit in the Cherokee, offer a six-speed manual gearbox option, and make some subtle updates to the Uconnect system. Keep on building the Cherokee guys, it is only getting better with each generation

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Goo review. Thanks for posting
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Nice write up. Thanks
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Awesome write-up/review!!! Thanks for sharing, very well written.
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I still prefer our '15 Wrangler over our '14 Cherokee. Pros : It's equally comfortable on the highway, much better visibility from the driver's seat, proven 5 speed transmission, more usable rear storage space, oem aluminum (not steel) spare wheel outside and not buried under a ton of luggage, much larger tank with greater cruising range between fills, Cons: about 4 less mpg, less comfortable rear seats (but we don't sit there), more wind noise at highway speeds. It's different strokes for different folks, and both are great cars compared to the competition. - Ted
I had to bring the dealer my extra set of 2015 18" wheels with new tires I bought for my 2011 WK2 I traded in. When seats are folded down, the Spave for cargo is not that much different. I could just fit the four wheels with tires into the Grand Cherokees cargo with seats folded flush. Maybe a bag or two of groceries could fit, but surprisingly they fit in the TH cargo area with seats folded down. I would have like to see the head rests automatically tuck like in the bigger jeep, but really cargo room shouldn't be a deal breaker. Like stated above with the wrangler, different style of 4x4 for the individual. The Grand Cherokee is a nice 5 person people hauler and tons of room to fit all kinds of emergency supplies under the cargo area with the spare tire. I have not pulled up and checked out for any spare room in the Cherokee near the spare. I do like the hooks and bags for tire inflator and first aid Kirstie plenty of cubbies all over the vehicle for holding extra gear. It comes in handy during brutal Winters were you need some emergency supplies and a blanket or two in case you get stranded on the state thruway during a fast blizzard.

Very good review. I would like to see UConnect get more Apple CarPlay friendly.

What shall we have? An '82 Margaux! Is it any good? Good....?, It will make you believe in God!
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An interesting review but the part about "+ Comfy bucket seats with luxurious leather stitching" is odd since my leather seats are stitched with nylon, not leather.
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