By Asian Journal Auto Editor

The 2019 Jeep Cherokee is compact SUV that’s undergone a little nip and tuck to keep it fresh for the New Year. There are minor changes that enhance the Cherokees appeal. The revisions include the new headlights that give the Cherokee a more conventional look. There is also a new hood, and rear end tweak, with new taillights and exhaust tips, as well as a relocation of the rear license plate from the bumper to the rear hatch gate. The new revamp actually looks very good, lending the Cherokee a smarter more integrated look, that’s far less fussy, and attractive than its competition. Interior wise there is an improved infotainment system available with a 7.0- or 8.4-inch touchscreen, and the newest iteration of Jeeps Uconnect infotainment system that comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There are upgraded materials, higher grade plastics in the cabin, and a revised center console with a larger storage compartment. The Cherokee also gins a ParkView rear back-up camera as standard across all trim levels, plus tire fill alert and capless fuel fill system.

Powertrain wise, the base engine is a 2.4-liter, L4 offering 180 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque. There is also a new engine option; a 2.0-liter turbo-four in addition to the 3.2-liter V-6 and 2.4-liter four cylinder. The turbo offers an impressive 270 hp, while the V-6 offers 217 hp, however the turbo offer’s a lot more torque at 295 lb-ft versus the V6’s 239 hp. Transmissions of choice is a nine-speed automatic transmission.

The Cherokee range starts with the Sport model at $27,245, the North $28,495, Altitude $29,390, adds bigger wheel, exterior accent LED lights, and a bigger touch screen. The upper range Limited at $30,995 adds Uconnect multimedia center with 8.4 inch touchscreen, power liftgate, Nappa faced leather seats, and 18-inch polished wheels. The Trailhawk $32,995 adds the FCA 3.2l Pentastar VVT V6 with engine stop start technology, Jeep Active Drive Lock. Selec-terrain traction management with rock mode. The High Altitude model at $34,985 adds granite crystal exterior 19 inch granite crystal aluminum wheels and an Alpine premium sound system. It doesn’t end there. The Trailhawk Elite  $35,990 adds heated and ventilated Nappa faced front seats, remote start system, and 8-way power drivers and passengers seat with 4-way lumber  Safety-wise, the 2019 Cherokee offers a host of must have features, including: eight standard airbags. Active lane keep assist and automatic emergency braking. Adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, roll mitigation, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and a rear-view camera.

We tested the high-end Overland version which came in probably the best shade of paint I have seen in a while, -a subtle Olive green pearl that looked so classy. The swanky Overland builds on the top luxury orientated Limited Model, and adds: 19 inch polished wheels, Hands free tailgate, Uconnect 4c Navigation with 8.4 Touchscreen, with Sirius XM Guardian, and Sirius XM Traffic.

The interior is very comfortable, with the  top-level Overland trim. The interior featured rich tan trimmed leather with Overland logo’s that make you feel much pampered. Cargo capacity is rated at 781 litres, 1,634 litres with the rear seat folded.

One the road, the Jeep drives very well with a smooth ride and decent acceleration. The Jeep   offers a rather firm ride and is fairly agile, the nine-speed transmission is improved and offers better transition between gears now. For an off-road test, we took the Jeep Compass to a combination of terrain, namely some semi-rough trails, and country roads. And I have to say we were hugely impressed. The 2019 Cherokee Jeep Active Drive I, hands-off four-wheel-drive system   switches between two- and four-wheel drive while offering Selec-Terrain mode choices with Auto, Snow, Sport, Sand/Mud and Rock settings. Fuel economy for the Cherokee is around the 11.2/8.0L/100km (city/hwy) mark. To sum up, the Jeep Cherokee offers great value if you opt for the base model starting at $27,245 with a decent enough range of equipment. With a plethora of models, the upper range Overland is a good choice if you want more luxury and conveniences. The new refined look outside and the improved premium materials inside, along with a host of other improvements make the 2019 Jeep Cherokee a top competitor in the mid-size utility market. Highly recommended

2019 Jeep Cherokee pried from: $27,245. Jeep Cherokee Overland as tested: priced from: $40,645. Plus, Destination ($1,895) and other fees not included.