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Jeep Cherokee High Altitude: Lofty Choice

By Arv Voss, January 11th, 2020

Some folks in the traditionalist Jeep camp weren't happy when the design language of the iconic Jeep Cherokee changed with the 2014 lineup. Some Jeepsters were fans of the Jeep Liberty, which was replaced by the Cherokee. The 2020 Jeep Cherokee represents a radical departure from the Cherokee of old.


The new 2020 Cherokee lineup consists of eight models, with the choices of a 2.4-liter four-cylinder or a 3.2-liter V-6 engine, varied four-wheel-drive systems to choose from, and Jeep's Selec-Terrain traction control system. Drive configurations vary between FWD or 4x4 depending on the model. Base pricing ranges from $25,935 to $37,895.


Powering the Cherokee tribe are either a 2.4-liter MultiAir2 Tigershark four-cylinder that produces 184 horsepower and 171 lb.-ft. of torque or a 3.2-liter Pentastar V-6 engine that makes 271 horsepower along with 239 lb.-ft. of torque. Both mate to a nine-speed automatic transmission.

strong>The four-wheel-drive systems available are: Jeep Active Drive I, Jeep Active Drive II, and finally Jeep Active Drive Lock. All three systems feature rear-axle disconnect, which results in reduced energy loss when 4x4 capability isn't needed.

The innovative Jeep Selec-Terrain system provides up to five selectable modes -- Auto, Sport, Snow, Sand/Mud, and Rock -- providing optimum four-wheel-drive performance for any road or weather condition.


The 2020 Jeep Cherokee High Altitude 4x4 showcases a progressive exterior designed for the future. Exterior lines are fluid and sleek. The tough, protective lower body conveys the legendary capability characteristic of every Jeep. The rugged lower and smooth upper body is divided by the key waterline feature connecting the exterior for a full 360 degrees. The headlights are still round but restyled and repositioned.

Up front is the peaked, seven-slotted grille. The hood is clearly defined and separated from the front fenders in a modern twist of Jeep heritage. Advanced LED lighting technology is used for all Jeep Cherokees.


The 2020 Jeep Cherokee High Altitude's interior is a blend of hand-sculpted fluid shapes, high-quality materials, innovative color and material choices, precision craftsmanship, state-of-the-art technology, and thoughtful, clever features, making it inviting and comfortable. Seats are ergonomically designed to support the contour of the body, and are trimmed with premium cloth or quality Nappa leather and are available with power adjustable, heated/ventilated seats with memory.


An available award-winning 8.4-inch touchscreen multimedia command center or the standard 5-inch touchscreen multimedia command center are attractive, intuitive, and easy-to-use, and are located in the center stack. The Uconnect system allows the driver to control the audio, climate controls, heated/ventilated seats, and much more from the touchscreen, or redundant controls located on the center stack below the touchscreen, or with voice commands.


My 2020 Jeep Cherokee High Altitude 4x4 wore an exterior coat of Velvet Red Pearl complemented by a black interior treatment. The base sticker read $35,595. The High Altitude package alone incurred a cost of $1,795 and includes a host of primarily cosmetic enhancements.


The 2020 Cherokee High Altitude 4x4 is as capable as it is good looking. It handles admirably both on- and off-road. The 3.2-liter Pentastar V-6 is the star engine, and the new automatic transmission operates smoothly, changing gears in either direction.

Road holding is stable and the ride quality is quite comfortable. The handling characteristics are sporty in nature, with good on-center feedback. Towing capacity is 2,000 pounds.


If you're looking for an ideal-sized SUV with sleek styling and legendary capability, the Jeep Cherokee is a sure winner. For those who are fixated on the boxy old traditional Cherokee, remember, your vehicle was once new too, and it was a departure from the early military Jeep, so perhaps the time to move on has come.


Base price $34,595 (as tested: $42,715)
Curb weight 3,960 lbs.
Displacement 3.2-liter
Engine type 24-valve Pentastar V-6 w/MPFI
Epa mileage rating 19 mpg city, 27 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 15.8 gal.
Horsepower (net) 271 at 6500 rpm
Overall length 182.0 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 239 at 4400 rpm
Transmission 9-speed automatic
Vehicle type 5-passenger 4WD SUV
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