This year Jeep is porting the lovely Overland trim from the Grand Cherokee to the smaller Cherokee, which will make the mid-sized SUV a lot swankier starting at around $35,000. If it’s as nice as the big one, that’s enticingly cheap for a luxury 4×4.
I’ve driven a Grand Cherokee Overland and it’s as close as I’ve been to an American Range Rover; nicely capturing the idea of ruggedness while actually being really comfortable. Adding that level of sophistication to the current-gen Cherokee, which is nice to drive if not as eager to off-road as its namesake predecessor, makes for a pretty solid package at the price.
Now the best buys on luxury SUVs are always going to be older ones that have paid their dues in deprecation, but if you’re compelled to buy a brand-new vehicle I’m excited for the Cherokee Overland as a Land Rover Discovery Sport alternative.
There are plenty of ultra-plush large SUVs and performance-oriented smaller ones, but seeing the “mid-sized” category get fancier with things like this and the 2017 GMC Acadia makes me think the industry will start making the super-big vehicles less important when more efficient alternatives can be just as nice.
Outside the Overland trim adds more body-color matched bits, 18-inch wheels and HID headlights over a standard Cherokee. But inside is where the package is best appreciated; there’s more wood, leather and bright aluminum everywhere plus power heated and cooled seats for the driver and front passenger.
An Alpine stereo is hooked up to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA)’s Uconnect infotainment system which I have praised consistently as easy to use.
Jeep is bundling a “power liftgate, blind spot monitoring and rear crosspath detection, Parksense rear backup assist system” and an insulation upgrade with the Overland package to entice you a little harder.
The Cherokee Overland 4×4 does not get Jeep’s Active Drive Lock drivetrain with the locking differential, but it will have Jeep Active Drive II which includes an automatically disconnecting rear axle to maximize fuel economy and various “modes” for low-traction surfaces.
Jeep says it has 8.2 inches of ground clearance in a press release. The Trailhawk is still as close to “off-road oriented” as this body style gets.
The “Heavy Duty Protection Group” with skid plates and a full-size spare will be optional, as will FCA’s “Technology Group” suite of driver aids like lane departure warnings, pre-crash warnings, sunroof, a wireless charging pad and a remote CD player, whatever that is.
The Cherokee Overland will hit dealerships spring 2016, and if you favor luxury over off-roading might be a solid alternative to a Trailhawk for the money.
Images via Jeep
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