TOUGH or should that be rugged good looks, a proper four-wheel drive system and some modern sophistication. These are the words we would use to describe the 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk, the brand’s range topping mid-sized 4×4 SUV.
First things first, the Trailhawk looks good. It has a real taking care of business persona, especially in our test colour, Granite Crystal, with the matte black bonnet accent and red badging only further adding to that styling look.
The big red tow hooks poking out the front further impress, not just in the looks department, as they also add a real off the beaten track look; making you feel like the Jeep is ready for some serious fun.
We know what people are gonna say; ‘tow hooks!? Must mean it gets stuck a lot’. The same could be said for some off road vehicles with an excessive number of antennas having good radio coverage. It’s a throw away line. The tow hooks look tough. That’s all.
It’s got simple, sleek lines, and an aggressive stance that is pure Jeep. But the new model has had a makeover and the swept back angles make it look more modern. The lighting clusters further add to this sophisticated-ness too.
Yes we know that’s not a word, but we’re creating it just for this story. The lights include LED sexiness for the head lamps, fog lamps and the daytime running lights. The front bumper is a little bulbous though, but not to the point that it is off putting.
If anything, it blends the jacked up feeling of the 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk with the 4WD goodies like the under body skid plates and 17-inch off road alloy wheels. In proper 4WD fashion, there’s also a power transfer case offering 4L and 4H functionality.
There’s a lockable rear differential and a kick arse easy to use Jeep Selec-Terrain traction management system, with rock mode. Put simply, it’s got the pedigree and the credentials, and on some pretty decent off road tasks it performed admirably.
Sure, you wouldn’t take it to Cape York, but it will let you have a heap of fun without adding on thousands of dollars in extras. It will also do it in surprising comfort with a nicely finished premium black leather interior.
There are stitched red Trailhawk accents pretty much everywhere inside, along with heated and ventilated front seats, an 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat and 4-way power adjustable front passenger seat.
All your devices are catered for too with lots of plugs and sockets to charge or connect to the Uconnect entertainment system that has SatNav, Bluetooth, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, DAB+ digital radio and an easy to use 8.4-inch touchscreen.
The sound system is pretty tasty as well, with a 9-speaker Alpine setup that delivers serious noise through a 506-watt amp and sub-woofer. There are more device ports in the back, although rear leg room is not that great, especially if there’s tall folk in the front.
The interior design features a whole host of black and grey bits, mixed with some glossy panels here and there, and combined with lots of soft surfaces. There’s a big panoramic glass moon roof with built in sunroof too.
Plenty of storage is also available, whether it’s via the centre console, or the dash cubby hole, and there’s plenty of door storage too. The interior lighting is also well placed, both front and rear.
On the tarmac, and away from the dirt, the 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk handles things pretty easily, cornering well and riding comfortably on the road, albeit with somewhat disappointing power deliver.
Considering there’s a 3.2-litre V6 under the hood that punches out 200kW of power and 315Nm of torque through a 9-speed automatic transmission, we expected more in terms of get up and go.
Even in Sport mode, with a boot full of beans (not actual beans in the boot mind you, rather the accelerator stomping variety), there was just something lacking. Fuel economy is a claimed 10.2-litres/100km too, but we couldn’t get below 13.0-litres/100km.
Even with some very gentle driving, and we mean like driving miss daisy style, with the stop go fuel saver on as well, we just couldn’t nudge it below that. Those are our only real gripes though, in what was a fairly decent test of the Trailhawk.
That nice ride, both on and off road, is thanks to a pretty decent package that includes McPherson struts, long travel coil springs, a one piece steel sub-frame, aluminium lower control arms, and a stabiliser bar in the front.
Four link rear suspension with trailing arms, aluminium lateral links, an isolated high-strength steel rear cradle, coil springs and another stabiliser bar complete the rear end to deliver a much improved overall driving experience.
There’s plenty of safety gear too. So much so that if you’re doing something wrong, the 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk will either warn you or just take control and stop you before you do serious damage to yourself or someone around you.
It has a 5-star ANCAP safety rating, and comes bundled with a 5-year 100,000km warranty. There’s an abundance of colours, including Bright White, Billet Silver, Diamond Black, Firecracker Red, Velvet Red, Hydro Blue and Light Brownstone.
There’s also Granite Crystal (as tested), Pearl White and Olive Green, as well a range of different interior options. It’s priced at $48,450 plus on-roads but the price won’t protect you from your mates saying ‘you bought a Jeep’.
Our test vehicle was provided by Jeep Australia. To find out more about the 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk, contact your local Jeep dealer.