DETROIT - Jeep's midsize SUV, the Cherokee, gets a new turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four engine, a new face, and a number of tweaks as part of an extensive freshening for the 2019 model year.
The optional new turbocharged inline-four engine delivers 270 hp and 295 pound-feet of torque, and joins the standard 180-hp 2.4-liter I-4 engine delivering 170 pound-feet of torque and a naturally aspirated 3.2-liter V-6 delivering 271 hp and 239 pound-feet of torque in the Cherokee's new engine lineup.
All three engines are mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission with new operating software to improve performance, and each engine is equipped with stop-start technology to increase fuel efficiency.
The Cherokee's polarizing front fascia has been redesigned, with the daytime running lights and LED headlights melded into a single unit, instead of the stacked design in the previous model.
The hood and seven-slot grille also receive a makeover for 2019.
In the rear, a new liftgate design has an optional hands-free automatic opening feature that is activated with a foot wave beneath the bumper, while new rear lighting is wrapped with what Jeep calls a "feature light" -- a thin red band of LED lighting accentuating the stop, turn, and backing lights.
Three inches of additional cabin width allowed Jeep designers to fix a common complaint about the previous version: that it was too narrow to carry items such as golf clubs without dropping the second-row seats. The extra space adds 27 additional cubic feet to the cabin.
Engineers retooled the Cherokee's all-wheel-drive systems as well for the 2019 model. The base Active Drive 1 uses a new, lighter rear drive module for added efficiency, while the Active Drive II and Active Drive Lock are used in heavier off-road applications. The Trailhawk offroad trim now boasts an improved crawl ratio of 51.2:1.
The 2019 Cherokee will be available in U.S. dealerships beginning in the first quarter, FCA US said. It will come in five trim levels: Latitude, Latitude Plus, Limited, Overland and Trailhawk.
Pricing was not announced.