2017 Jeep Cherokee Overland new car reviews

On our trip out to California for Monterey Car Week, we needed something that could hold four people and hold all of our camera equipment. The answer was the 2017 Jeep Cherokee. While you can land a Cherokee as low as $26,395, this was the Overland edition which meant the sticker price was almost $42,000.

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Tom Suddard Tom Suddard
Associate Editor

Jeep’s current-generation Grand Cherokee has been around for a few years, but the smaller Cherokee is the relative new kid on the block. I spent Monterey Car Week driving around California in Jeep’s squintiest five-seat crossover, constantly asking myself a simple question: Did they have to take so much Grand out of the Grand Cherokee?

Let’s start with the numbers: $41,975, 21 mpg, nine speeds, six cylinders. Underwhelmed? Yeah, so was I. Honestly, this thing drove like a rental car in every since of the word. It rode rough, but it was also super uninspiring on twisty mountain roads. The steering was meh. The chassis was meh. The tires were even somewhat meh. That V6, nine-speed drivetrain? SUPER meh. It was slow and noisy, and mashing the gas just seemed to make more noise without really remedying the slow.

The Jeep Cherokee starts at $23,695, and I’m assuming that’s a more appropriate price point to buy in at. I would actually suggest looking in the Hertz used rental sales car lot in three years. Here’s the kicker, though: Spend less, and you don’t get the high points. Namely, a ton of premium features like a great stereo, radar cruise-control and lane departure mitigation, heated and cooled white leather seats that were super comfortable, and nice wheels.

All of this stuff, along with looks that really grew on us after a few days, had us actually liking the mid-sized Jeep. Without the nearly $20k in options that our test car was equipped with, though, I’m not sure there’re enough bright spots left to honestly recommend the Cherokee. Supposedly it’s got some real off-road chops, and an electronic rear differential lock is an available option, but I wasn’t able to test any of that during Monterey Car Week festivities. I do have one more positive thing to say, though: This is a nice size and shape for a car, which is probably why I’m also a big fan of the Subaru Forester.

Ed Higginbotham Ed Higginbotham
Associate Editor

The Jeep Cherokee served its purpose for us. It hauled people in comfort and had more than enough room for our equipment. But you can't ask it to do much more than that. It's not fast—though it is loud. Road noise is definitely present. And it didn't have a particularly forgiving suspension.

The interior options made up for the lack in performance, though. It was a genuinely nice atmosphere to sit in traffic. The driving assists and infotainment system that Tom mentioned were nice bonuses, too.

I think it would have been worth the sticker price if the drivetrain was a little more fluid.

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Robbie
Robbie UberDork
8/24/17 11:25 a.m.
Ed Higginbotham wrote: ...we needed something that could BARELY hold four people as LONG AS WE HELD all of our camera equipment IN OUR LAPS. The answer was the 2017 Jeep Cherokee.

Fixed that for you.

We rented one once and it seriously has less interior space than my 2015 focus hatch did.

Did you guys notice the same thing?

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
8/24/17 11:27 a.m.

CAR magazine once referred to the WJ Grand Cherokee as a "reverse Tardis".

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Associate Editor
8/25/17 1:11 a.m.

Yeah, we noticed that, too. But after spending this week with a Renegade, I can say the Cherokee is an amateur compared to its younger brother.

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