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2016 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk not just a looker

2016 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk not just a looker

Jeep is one of the fastest rising automotive brands here in North America, and even more so in Europe.
And the Jeeps that are selling in numbers are not the ones you see on mountain goat paths, they’re the ones you see in the parking lots at Costco and Ikea.
But while parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) obviously knows how to leverage and market Jeep’s high profile and iconic look to a broader and less adventurous audience, you have to also give them credit for continuing to make a select number of Jeeps in the original, rough and ready mode.
In addition to the Wrangler, proficient Jeep off-roaders can be found throughout the line-up — a prime example is our test subject this week, the Cherokee Trailhawk. “Normal” 4X4 Cherokees are already quite off-road capable, owing to a sophisticated driver-selectable five-mode all-terrain system (Auto, Snow, Sport, Sand/Mud, and Rock). Trailhawk models add locking rear differential, increased approach and departure angles and ground clearance, skid plates, and 17-inch all-terrain tires.
The amazing thing about modern rock climbers like Trailhawk is that they don’t punish you when you’re not rock climbing. Other that a bit more tire noise, the Cherokee Trailhawk was a model of civility on the streets and the highways.
FCA’s high-tech, nine-speed automatic transmission had some teething problems, but they’ve sorted them; it shifts smoothly and gives the Cherokee a relaxed gate on the highway.
Our tester had the optional 3.2-litre V6, which is refined and powerful, and now features automatic stop-start to save a bit more fuel. A Trailhawk 4X4 model with this engine is not your fuel efficiency choice in the compact crossover segment — its combined city/highway rating is 10.8 L/100 km.
The interior is well executed and appointed, capped off by FCA’s new wiz-bang 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen.
Always one of the more intuitive and easy-to-use systems, it now features a “Drop and Drag” feature that allows you to locate your preferred app icons on the screen, Siri Eyes Free, and Do-Not-Disturb, which automatically routes phone calls and texts direct to voice mail. Our fully-loaded tester just nudged over the $40,000 mark. A lot of money for a compact based SUV, but it’s dense with technology and capability, and you can certainly get a Trailhawk for less.

While the interior feels spacious, the cargo area is a bit wanting. The only other caveat would be the front end styling, which is polarizing. To some it’s what makes this a sleek Jeep, to others it’s an angry snout.
The Checklist: 2016 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk
The Basics

  • Type. Five-door, five-passenger, 4WD, compact SUV
  • Power. 184-hp 2.4-litre I4, 271-hp 3.2-litre V6
  • Transmission. Nine-speed automatic
  • Price. Base $34,695 (plus destination)

Cool Features

  • AWD features several terrain modes, and also automatically disconnects rear axle, when AWD not needed, to increase fuel efficiency.
  • You can drop and drag apps via their corresponding icons, to the touch screen, to customize the screen.
  • Full suite of safety systems available.


  • Named Four Wheeler Magazine’s 2015 Four Wheeler of the Year.
  • Best in class trailer tow capability of 2,041 kg.
  • Based on FCA’s “Compact Platform,” which also underpins Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200.

Market Position

  • Cherokee slots between smaller Renegade and larger Grand Cherokee in Jeep’s line-up.
  • Best-selling Jeep nameplate in Canada, and 15th overall best selling vehicle in the country.

Categories: New Inventory