It’s been a couple of years since the new Jeep Cherokee made its debut and it remains one of the top-selling SUVs in Canada despite its rather unusual (for a Jeep) front-end styling. In the first three months of 2016, the Jeep Cherokee was the fourth-best selling SUV in Canada behind the Ford Escape (#3), Honda CR-V (#2), and Toyota RAV4 (#1).

After a quick check of Jeep’s Canadian website  I was disappointed to see that 2016 Cherokee suggested retail prices have gone up significantly.  Curiously, at the beginning of the 2016 model year, 2016 Cherokee MSRPs were the same as in 2015 but somewhere between then and now, they rose anywhere from $2,200 to $2,350 by my reckoning.  As well, the 2016 Destination charge of $1,795 has increased by $100 from the 2015 charge of $1,695.

Jeep also added two new trim levels for 2016: a mid-level 75th Anniversary Edition and a new top-of-the-line Overland luxury trim.

2016 Jeep Cherokee MSRPs are as follows: Sport (4X2 $26,695; 4X4 $28,895), North (4X2 $30,395, 4X4 $32,595), 75th Anniversary Edition model (4X2 $33,390, 4X4 $35,590), Limited (4X2 $33,895, 4X4 $36,095), Trailhawk (4X4 $34,895), and Overland (4X2 $39,895, 4X4 $45,095).

Higher pricing doesn’t seem to have affected the Cherokee’s appeal.  Perhaps that’s because, unlike most compact SUVs, the Cherokee is available with an optional V6 engine rather than the increasingly commonplace optional turbocharged four-cylinder.  For many SUV buyers, a smaller-displacement turbocharged engine is no substitute for a normally-aspirated V6 with its linear torque curve, superior engine smoothness and greater towing capability, even if its gas mileage is worse (but not always). The Cherokee’s optional 271-hp 3.2L V6 engine gives the Cherokee a maximum towing capacity of 2,041 kg (4,500 lbs), the best towing capacity in its class.  For comparison, the Cherokee’s standard 187 hp 2.4L four-cylinder engine provides a towing capacity of 907 kg (2,000 lbs).

Off-road appeal: 2015 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk Test Drive

And while most compact SUVs offer front-wheel drive and/or a completely automatic all-wheel drive system, the Cherokee offers standard front-wheel drive and three types of all-wheel drive systems:  Active Drive I with Selec Terrain that has driver-selectable settings for different road surfaces, Snow, Sand and Mud as well as Auto and Sport modes; Active Drive II which adds a Low Range gear; and Active Drive Lock 4WD on Trailhawk models which adds a locking rear differential.  The Trailhawk, designed for serious off-roading, also gets a lower first gear crawl ratio, Hill Descent Control, off-road suspension, higher ground clearance, underbody skid plates, and front and rear tow hooks.

The 2.4L four-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive are standard in all 2016 Cherokee trim levels except the Trailhawk which has standard four-wheel drive (Active Drive II).  Both the four-cylinder engine and the V6 are available with front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, the latter either Active Drive I or Active Drive II depending on the trim level.  A class-exclusive nine-speed automatic transmission is standard in all trims with both engines.

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