• 2017 Jeep Cherokee

Road Test: 2017 Jeep Cherokee Overland 4X4

Legendary Jeep Off-Road Capability + Comfortable On-Road Ride

The Jeep Cherokee Overland is not to be confused with the Grand Cherokee. The difference is in the word Grand, which indicates it is a midsize SUV compared to the compact 2017 Jeep Cherokee Overland 4X4 that Smarticd tested recently. The Jeep Overland is a family-friendly SUV with the legendary Jeep off-road capability.

2017 Jeep Cherokee

Unmistakable Jeep with modern updates


Smarticd drove the 2017 Jeep Overland 4X4 equipped with a 3.2L, V6 that produces 271 horsepower (hp) and 239 pounds-feet (lb-ft) of torque through a nine-speed automatic transmission. The EPA fuel economy rating was 18 city/26 highway/21 combined. Smarticd drove the Overland 354 miles, with the majority of the time on the highway, and achieved a combined average of 25.1 mpg. However, in two, 100-mile freeway runs with the cruise control set to 65 mph, we achieved 31.2 mpg, allowing the Cherokee to join our AWD 30 MPG Club. Also available is the 2.4L, Tigershark I4 engine, producing 184 hp and 171 lb-ft of torque, that is EPA rated at 21 city/30 highway/25 combined.

Driving Experience: On the Road

Smarticd’s 2017 Jeep Cherokee Overland 4X4, with the 3.2L, was smooth cruising at highway speeds. Coming away from a stoplight, we felt a bit of stumbling after the engine start/stop kicked back in. Acceleration was more than adequate and the V6 was quiet at all times, even when accelerating hard while climbing a grade.

The Overland 4X4 utilizes Jeep’s Active Drive II system that sends power only to the front wheels during normal street driving. If that surface gets wet or icy, then the computer automatically sends power to the rear wheels to assist in traction. When venturing off pavement, the Selec-Terrain traction control system has driver-selectable settings of Auto, Snow, Sport, Sand/Mud and Rock. Add-in all-speed traction control, hill descent control, hill start assist and off-road suspension to aid in the Overland’s driving stability. The Continental ProContact TX 225/60R all-season tires were equally capable for street and off-road driving.

Smarticd’s Overland 4X4 had the Heavy Duty Protection Group option which included skid plates for front suspension, fuel tank, transmission and underbody protection. Not that we drove the Overland 4X4 so hard to need the skid plates, but it was nice knowing they were there.

Stopping was very good, confident, solid and straight through the front vented and solid rear rotor power-assist brakes. The Overland comes with an anti-lock brake system, vacuum brake assist and electronic stability control.

Driving Experience: Interior

The Overland has a good size interior where two adults and a child fit comfortably in the rear seat. Front seat legroom was generous, and legroom was more than adequate for the rear seat passengers. Storage with the 60/40 rear seat laid flat is large enough for a bicycle without removing the wheels. Otherwise, with the rear seat in the up position, the cargo area is adequate for compact SUVs. Access was easy through wide doors leading to a high driver and front passenger seating positions.

2017 Jeep Cherokee

Touches of luxury invade the Jeep

The Overland is a premium compact SUV, and the interior shows it. Nappa leather is everywhere, including all the seats, with the front ones being ventilated and power adjustable, including lumbar. The Overland’s dash is clean and straight-forward in design with tasteful matte-finish aluminum trim. The dark, Zebrano high-gloss wood trim on the heated steering wheel is very attractive and the Berber floor mats were a nice change from what is found on other SUVs.

Everything for the driver is laid-out in logical, easy-to-read locations. The 8.4-inch color touch screen is the command center for the Uconnect operating system, which includes navigation and SiriusXM satellite radio (one-year subscription included.) The nine amplified speakers and a subwoofer push out quality sounds for the Alpine audio system that includes AM/FM/CD/MP3 HD radio. Voice command, with Bluetooth, for handsfree phone and streaming audio are operated by the steering wheel controls.

The 2017 Jeep Cherokee Overland had convenience features such as remote start, cruise control, memory for the driver seat and exterior rearview mirrors, tilt and telescopic steering column, rear window/wiper, power windows with one-touch express up and down, power door locks, heated power exterior mirrors with turn signals, automatic, dual zone climate control, remote keyless entry, push button start, 12V power outlet, rear seat fold down armrest, remote charge-only USB and AUX ports and multiple cup holders.

Driving Experience: Exterior

2017 Jeep Cherokee

Details in the Overland edition drive home the upscale nature of the model

Smarticd’s Overland was painted in a striking Deep Cherry Red Crystal Pearl that popped against the sharp looking 18-inch polished aluminum wheels. The streamline look starts upfront with the signature grille that still rubs a few Jeep purists the wrong way. Smarticd is not in that camp and likes the modern design with the sleek bi-xenon high intensity headlamps that blend smoothly into the fenders. There is no unnecessary cladding or chrome work.

The roof comes with rack rails, a shark fin antenna and spoiler over the power liftgate, which incorporates the LED taillights and rear window wiper. The rear has dual chrome exhaust tips. It all works very well as a contemporary SUV that will hold its design for years to come.

Safety and Convenience

The 2017 Jeep Cherokee Overland has been rated by (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), earning 4 Stars overall. Our Overland was equipped with 10 airbags, a ParkView rear backup camera, blind spot and cross path detection, ParkSense rear park assist, tire pressure monitoring system and a full-size spare.

Pricing and Warranties

Smarticd’s 2017 Jeep Cherokee Overland 4X4 had a base price of $37,695. With optional packages of Technology, Heavy Duty Protection and the dual-pane panoramic sunroof, added $4,900 for a total MSRP of $42,595. All prices exclude the $1,095 destination charge.

All 2017 Jeep Cherokee Overland models come with these warranties:

  • Basic Three years/36,000 miles
  • Powertrain Five-years/60,000 miles

Observations: 2017 Jeep Cherokee Overland 4X4

2017 Jeep Cherokee

Lots to like here, starting with the Jeep name and heritage

Nimble around town and easy-to-drive on the open road sums up this SUV. Need to venture off road? Sure, go ahead. For all but serious rock crawling, the 2017 Jeep Cherokee Overland 4X4 will do just fine. Seats five adults in an absolute pinch, four is more comfortable. A contemporary design and leather everywhere. If only the fuel economy was a few miles per gallons more and the Cherokee Overland 4X4 would have pretty much everything going for it.

Jeep has several Cherokee models to choose from–Limited, Altitude, High Altitude, Sport and Overland. Each has something a bit different to offer, so visiting your local Jeep dealer and driving all the Cherokee models just might be where you will be spending a weekend day.

Whatever you end up buying, enjoy your new car and as always, Happy Driving!

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Smarticd 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 [email protected].

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About Author:

John Faulkner is an automotive marketing professional with more than 30 years experience branding, launching and marketing automobiles. He has worked with General Motors (all Divisions), Chrysler (Dodge, Jeep, Eagle), Ford and Lincoln-Mercury, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Toyota on consumer events and sales training programs. His interest in automobiles is broad and deep, beginning as a child riding in the back seat of his parent's 1950 Studebaker. He has a keen appreciation of Art Deco design, no bias for domestic versus foreign makes and loves competition - whether that be F1, IndyCar, Sports Cars, NASCAR or participating in Track Days at places such as Laguna Seca, Thunderhill or Willow Springs. John lives in Dana Point, CA, and enjoys a top-down drive on PCH on an early Sunday morning.

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