Beauty Is As Beauty Does: The 2016 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk

The 2016 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk 4X4.
You may have noticed that we have entered the age of angry comic book styling in the car world. Front ends, which once endeavored to present earnest, friendly "faces", now look like they want---no, intend---to eat you.  And none looks more hungry than the Jeep Cherokee. Even now, three years since the first one rolled onto American roads, the effect is still a bit startling to some.

Rear 3/4 view of 2016 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk
2016 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk.
The rear of the Cherokee features fairly conventional small SUV styling, though, and since that is the end of the Jeep most other drivers who intend to go off-roading will likely see, you can let the front frighten bears and wolves.  The Cherokee, unlike all other machines populating the hotly competitive small SUV field, is Trail Rated. That is a Jeep trademark that actually has meaning.  You can take a Cherokee, without modifcations, and conquer the Rubicon Trail in the Sierra Nevada.  That, of course, is assuming you are sufficiently brave and sufficiently talented.

Every Cherokee is Trail Rated, but the Cherokee Trailhawk 4X4 is equipped to be first among equals, carrying a package of off-roading essentials like hill start assist, hill descent control and an off-road suspension as part of its standard equipment.  The price? $30,595.

Interior view of 2016 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk
2016 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk interior.
The interior is pleasant and well-equipped, as well as easy to clean.  Jeep knows you are likely to have mud on your boots.  The vehicle we tested had the powerful (271 horsepower) optional ($1,745) 3.2-liter V6 engine and the standard nine-speed automatic transmission.  That combination results in respectable fuel economy from all that power---an EPA-estimated 19 city/26 highway.

In addition to the upgraded engine, our test vehicle had every option or option package in the Cherokee Trailhawk catalog, resulting in an as-tested price, including $995 destination charge, of $39,805.  What resulted for that money was a supremely capable off-road vehicle that was supremely comfortable on-road.  It's hard to fault that.  The Cherokee "face" may not be a taste you have acquired, but the machine behind it is as good as they come.