2019 Jeep Cherokee First Drive: All-Around Upgrade

– Westlake Village, California

Has a popular vehicle needed a facelift more than the Jeep Cherokee since its needle-nosed debut for the 2014 model year? While Jeep’s middle child SUV – slotting below the Grand Cherokee and above the new Compass – was clever enough to sell nearly 170,000 units just last year, it always struck me as just slightly, well, weird looking.

Apparently I wasn’t the only one. Among the host of improvements and upgrades that Jeep has wrought for the 2019 Cherokee, the most obvious is the nose on its face… as it were. The pointed snout has been replaced with a higher, blunter front end, which generally looks like a smaller version of the Grand Cherokee. That includes new LED headlights – in fact, all lighting has gone LED, and on every trim level – that are less squinty than those they replace.

Read about the 2019 Jeep Cherokee's debut:

Losing the decisive front end of the car makes the whole shape entirely conventional. And while I’m typically a vocal proponent of automotive design that eschews the traditional, this is one battle I’m happy convention has won.

Beyond the dramatically better face, you’ll be hard pressed to see how the ’19 Cherokee differs from its predecessor. Five new wheel designs will help, including a fetching dark-finished wheel for the Trailhawk, and the model’s first ever set of 19-inchers.

The cabin has also been updated for the refreshed Jeep, with the star ...