Jeep Cherokee gets major refresh for 2019

Jeep managers unveiled a significantly updated Cherokee for 2019 Monday.

The updated off-roader rolled down the slope of a stage at the 2018 North American International Auto Show for the reveal.

Up front, the new Cherokee gets an updated front face with new bumpers and headlights. The look is more conservative than the previous generation, which was released five years ago, and gives it a stronger resemblance to the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Compass.

In the back, there’s a new tailgate made of composite materials to make it lighter. On some models, that tailgate can be opened simply by waving your foot under the rear bumper. Updated taillights complete the new look in the back.

The interior has also been revamped to make it more comfortable and easier to use. For example, the power outlets in the center console have been moved back a bit to give front passengers a larger front storage pocket.

There are several technology options, including either a 7- or 8.4-inch center touchscreen that integrates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

There’s also an available 7-inch screen in the gauge cluster that’s configurable to show specific information to the driver.

Cloth or leather seats are available, and some trims also feature heated and ventilated front seats. The rear seats can move forward or back to either give rear passengers more leg room, or make more space in the rear for storage.

That rear cargo area is now 3 inches wider to provide more room than before.

The four-cylinder and V6 engines from the previous generation will carry through to 2019, but the SUV will also add a turbocharged four-cylinder into the mix. That new engine has similar power to the V6 at 270 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque.

Jeep managers point out that there are more than 80 available safety and security features available in the car, including things like adaptive cruise control, semi-automatic parallel parking, lane departure warning and a forward-collision warning system that will apply the brakes if the driver doesn’t react fast enough.

The new Cherokee will be available in four trim levels when it goes on sale later this spring.