Legendary 4X4 Tradition Continues in New Skins
Jeep invited the media to the Santa Monica Mountains in early March to drive the all-new 2018 Wrangler and the new 2019 Cherokee. Our off-road driving reinforced the long tradition of Jeep being sure-footed off the pavement—and impressively so. But stay on the roadways, and the driving attributes, especially of the Cherokee, continue to impress.
Clean Fleet Report takes a look at our brief time in both vehicles and will follow-up in the coming months with in-depth Road Test reviews.
The All-new 2018 Wrangler
The last time the Wrangler was redesigned was in 2006, which is more than a few lifetimes for a design re-do. Wrangler fans are loyal and were excited that the all-new 2018 Wrangler retained much of the same look, but with refined features that only enhance the off- and on-road driving capability.
The 2018 Wrangler comes in two- and four-door models in up to four trim levels with these base MSRP.
Sport $26,995 (2DR); $30,495 (4DR)
Sport S $30,195 (2DR); $33,695 (4DR)
Rubicon $36,995 (2DR); $40,495 (4DR)
Sahara $37,345 (4DR)
Each trim level adds increased features as standard equipment, with the Rubicon being the version that is the most off-road capable. First introduced in 1986, the Wrangler continues as a body-on-frame design that has a removable windshield, roof, side windows and door panels. Stripped-down, the Wrangler is ready for serious off-road adventuring.
The 2018 Wrangler has two power plants. The 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 has Jeep’s eTorque mild-hybrid technology, which includes automatic stop/start, electric power assist and regenerative braking. The 2.0-liter engine has an output of 270 horsepower (hp) and 295 pound-feet of torque (lb.-ft.) and is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, with 285 hp and 260 lb.-ft. of torque, is mated to a standard six-speed manual, with the eight-speed automatic transmission being optional.
Clean Fleet Report had the opportunity to drive Wranglers with both transmissions (with the V6) off-road, and felt the manual offered a bit more old-school driving fun. However, the automatic was smooth and gave us complete confidence, whether climbing or descending a steep and rutted grade. Out on the pavement, the automatic shifted smoothly and would be a good option for those who spend the majority of their time commuting.
A 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 with 260 hp and a whopping 442 lb.-ft. of torque is scheduled for the 2019 model year. It should get the 2019 Wrangler into the AWD 30 MPG Club.
The New 2019 Jeep Cherokee
The Jeep Cherokee has a more premium look for 2019 with a new front fascia, hood and LED headlamps. There are five wheel designs, hands-free power lift gate and a dual-pane sunroof. The interior has been massaged with satin chrome and piano black trim.
The 2019 Cherokee comes in six trim levels with these base MSRP.
Latitude Plus $26,495
Trailhawk Elite $36,315
Clean Fleet Report recently reviewed the 2017 Jeep Cherokee Overland here.
There are three engine options for the 2019 Cherokee. The all-new 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 engine (shared with the Wrangler and other models) has 270 hp and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. The 3.2-liter Pentastar V6 delivers 271 hp and 239 lb.-ft. of torque. The most fuel-efficient engine is the 2.4-liter Tigershark MultiAir2 with 180 hp and 170 lb.-ft. of torque. All are mated to a nine-speed automatic with the 4X4 models getting the Jeep Active Drive system with Drive Lock.
Clean Fleet Report drove the V6 Cherokee Trailhawk off-road and were impressed with the grip level for a vehicle most owners will keep on the highway.
Observations: 2018 Wrangler and 2019 Cherokee
Jeep arguably has the most loyal and devoted fans and owners. Ever heard of the Jeep Jamboree? No other manufacturer has a program where their vehicles are put through such a rugged test by the actual owners. Of course, the Jamboree was created by Jeep owners 65 years ago and only garnered Jeep’s full endorsement well into its now life. Jamboree and the Jeep’s manufacturer are now inseparable.
Clean Fleet Report will drive several Jeep models in the coming months, so make sure to check back for news and reviews. Until then, know that if you are looking for off-road fun combined with a well-mannered street SUV, both the 2018 Wrangler and 2019 Cherokee will meet your needs.
Whatever you end up buying, enjoy your new car and as always, Happy Driving!
Related Stories You Might Enjoy: Other Jeep Adventures
Road Test: 2017 Jeep Cherokee Overland
Road Test: 2017 Jeep Renegade Altitude
Road Test: 2017 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk
First Drive: 2015 Jeep Renegade
Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.
Our focus is on vehicles that offer the best fuel economy in their class, which leads us to emphasize electric cars, plug-in hybrids, hybrids and diesels. We also feature those efficient gas-powered vehicles that are among the top mpg vehicles in their class. In addition, we aim to offer reviews and news on advanced technology and the alternative fuel vehicle market. We welcome any feedback from vehicle owners and are dedicated to providing a forum for alternative viewpoints. Please let us know your views at firstname.lastname@example.org.