How the Cherokee Stands Tall in the Crossover SUV Segment

December 17th, 2015 by

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The Jeep Cherokee has been around for a long time. Arguably one of the original crossover SUVs, the Cherokee has been defining the segment it created since 1974. Created  as a two door sporty SUV, the Cherokee has evolved throughout the years, transforming into what we recognize it as today.

What has always separated the Cherokee from its competitors, is the off road capability and heart that it possesses. This tradition for excellence has been passed down over the years, and is certainly present in the 2016 Jeep Cherokee. Offering more capability and soul than any other crossover on the road, the Cherokee is living up to its reputation for greatness after more than forty years on the market.

Defining the Crossover Segment

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The term “crossover” is still a fairly new one in the American automotive industry. This designation can easily be interchanged with “midsize,” the name that it has essentially replaced. While the Cherokee was the very first crossover in Jeep’s lineup, the automotive brand known for off-road capability is now very well versed in this segment. With three other crossover SUVs available under the Jeep brand name, it is no wonder that this is one of the fastest growing segments in America.

The automotive industry is one that is constantly changing. With new technology, emerging amenity standards and expectations, automotive manufacturers have no choice but to keep up with the current trends. Jeep has always stayed ahead of this curve, and completely redesigned the Cherokee back in 2014. For the latest model year, Jeep treated the Cherokee to updates where they were needed to keep up with the automotive evolution.

While the Cherokee has effortlessly poised itself to lead the crossover SUV segment, other vehicle brands are grasping at straws to keep up.

New Features for the 2016 Cherokee

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Regularly touted as one of the most “robust” crossovers in the segment, the Jeep Cherokee delivers much more than the average crossover. The rugged confidence that the 2016 Cherokee possesses, is even more enhanced with updates for this model year.

Most of the changes the Cherokee received for the 2016 model year were technological in nature, while a few were directed at comfort. New for this year, the Jeep Cherokee includes a new instrument cluster complete with a modified driver dashboard. A larger 8.4-inch touch screen display complete with a Drag and Drop menu bar and Siri Eyes Free is now available for the Cherokee, while an updated navigation system is also optional. A push-button start was added to the Cherokee for 2016, along with an air conditioning system with dual controls. Drivers will appreciate a new armrest designed for ergonomic comfort, and passengers will benefit from extra legroom throughout the cabin.

The exterior of the Cherokee offers newly styled headlights with LED flash technology, a system that recharges LED lamps through the use of natural sunlight during daytime driving. The 2016 Cherokee sits on an updated Alfa Romeo chassis, allowing for better stability both on and off the road.

With just enough of a refresh to keep the Cherokee relevant in the changing crossover segment, the latest crossover from Jeep is having no problem staying ahead of the competition.

How the Latest Cherokee Compares to the Competition

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It’s clear to us that the Cherokee is miles ahead of the competition, in nearly every category. While this may seem like a biased opinion (we are a Jeep dealership after all), we can assure you, that it is not.

The Jeep Cherokee may be one of the oldest crossovers on the road, but with age comes wisdom. With over forty years of that wisdom stored up, the Cherokee has seamlessly adapted into the crossover that stands tall among all others.

With the 2016 model year still fairly fresh, it is hard to offer a responsible comparison of the Cherokee to other crossovers. With that being said, this comparison will be specifically aimed at 2015 models of the Jeep Cherokee Limited 4×4, Ford Escape Titanium 4×4, and the Honda CR-V Touring AWD. All of the models that we compare will be comparably equipped, in order to offer the most fair assessment.

Now that all of the housekeeping is out of the way, let’s dive into the competitive nature of the crossover segment. Check out each category below, and discover how each one of the models stacks up.

  • Capability:

    Arguably the most important category to address in the crossover SUV segment, capability and performance can easily make or break a vehicle.

    • Escape – This model comes equipped with standard all weather AWD off-road capability, a six speed automatic transmission, limited slip differential, and can tow up to 3,500 pounds.
    • CR-V – Also offering standard all-weather AWD off-road capability, Honda’s crossover comes with continuously variable automatic transmission, and can tow up to 1,500 pounds.
    • Cherokee – Featuring Jeep Active Drive I all-weather off-road capability, Selec Terrain 4×4 Management System, a class-exclusive 9-speed automatic transmission, limited slip differential, and Trailer Sway Control, the Jeep beats out the competition with an impressive max towing capacity of 4,500 pounds.
  • Exterior Features:

    Focused on features that help out in off-road situations, let’s see how the three models compare:

    • Escape – Offering standard aero composite headlights, perimeter lighting, and 18-inch painted wheels, the Escape does not lack a whole lot in this category.
    • CR-V – Standard projector beam headlights help drivers see the road ahead, but this model lacks perimeter lighting, and includes 18-inch alloy wheels.
    • Cherokee – Easily outshining the other models, the Cherokee features projector beam headlamps, perimeter and approach lighting, standard LED tail lamps, and 18-inch polished wheels.
  • Technology:

    Another important factor to consider in any new car purchase, each crossover offers it’s own unique take on what is considered the right amount of standard technology.

    • Escape – Offering up an 8-inch color touchscreen with real-time traffic display, one AC power outlet, and a garage door transmitter, the Escape offers what it needs to, without going overboard.
    • CR-V – This crossover comes standard with a 7-inch color touchscreen, real-time traffic display information, a garage door transmitter, and standard speed sensitive windshield wipers.
    • Cherokee – Jeep’s crossover includes a best-in-class 8.4-inch touchscreen color display complete with real-time traffic and navigation, a garage door transmitter, standard AC power outlet, heated windshield glass, and standard speed sensitive wipers.
  • Interior Convenience:

    As equally as important on short trips across town, as they are on long excursions, interior convenience amenities are all the rage. See how each model stacks up below:

    • Escape – Essentially, Ford’s crossover comes standard with rear reading lights, and that’s about it in terms of convenience amenities.
    • CR-V – Missing the mark in this category as well, the CR-V does not even offer rear reading lights as a source of redemption.
    • Cherokee – Saving the day once again, the Cherokee offers class-exclusive cargo management system, a fold-flat front passenger seat, standard front passenger under cushion storage, standard second row seat with fore and aft adjustment, and rear reading lights.
  • Price:

    Now that you know what each vehicle brings to the table, let’s talk numbers. Check out what the starting MSRP is for each of the three models that are described above. It is important to note that these numbers aren’t the starting base MSRP, but rather the price for the specific trim levels we have been discussing.

    • Escape – $30,770
    • CR-V – $32,770
    • Cherokee – $30,895

It is clear that the Jeep Cherokee is still standing tall in the crossover SUV segment. Offering a clear owner advantage over both the Ford Escape and the Honda CR-V, Jeep has managed to excel at keeping the Cherokee relevant in a changing marketplace.

Be sure to come down to Kendall Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram and take the new Jeep Cherokee for a test drive today!

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