When most people hear the word “Jeep,” the image of the iconic Wrangler is what springs to mind. But if you browse the inventory at your local Canadian Jeep dealer, you’ll find plenty of other models on the lot, and some of them look less like vehicles that can trace their history back to World War II and more like modern SUVs. The Cherokee, for instance, is a compact SUV in the same class as the Hyundai Tucson and Honda CR-V, and its exterior aesthetic doesn’t do a lot to make it stand out.
But if you take a closer look at its stats and features, you’ll find that Jeep has gone out of its way to design a vehicle that fits in with its rugged lineup. Let’s zero in on one particular trim level, the Trailhawk, and see what it has to offer and how its features make it optimized for outdoor adventures. From raw power to off-road capability to creature comforts, we’re going to dig in and see what the 2022 Cherokee Trailhawk brings to the table.
The Trailhawk trim comes standard with the largest engine available for the Cherokee: a 3.2L Pentastar V6 that provides 271 hp and 239 lb-ft of torque. This gives the Trailhawk a maximum towing capacity of 2,041 kg, so you can take your outdoor adventures up a level by bringing along a trailer full of gear or a boat for exploring the lake.
While most compact SUVs boast that they are better prepared than cars to handle uneven roads and inclement weather, the Cherokee Trailhawk is properly capable of going off-road. It comes standard with the Jeep Active Drive Lock 4×4 system that allows you to save fuel by using two-wheel drive on dry, paved roads and automatically engaging 4×4 when the terrain gets less predictable. The system also includes a rear locker. This means that if one of the rear wheels isn’t getting traction, perhaps because of a mud puddle or other obstacle on a rough OHV trail, the rear axle will lock so that both rear wheels spin in unison, giving you the traction you need to move forward. The Trailhawk also has skid plates that work to protect the transmission, fuel tank, underbody, and front suspension on uneven ground.
Traction can also be adjusted with the Selec-Terrain Traction Management System, which comes standard on the Cherokee Trailhawk. This lets the driver switch between Auto mode for regular on-road driving, Sport mode for better performance, Snow mode for surviving Canadian winters, and Sand/Mud mode for rough terrain. In addition to these modes, the Trailhawk has a trim-exclusive Rock mode, which is designed to tackle off-road trails while providing a seamless steering feel.
Going on outdoor adventures can require a lot of gear, from coolers and extra clothes to camping supplies. So the back seats of the Cherokee can be folded completely flat, giving you 1,548L of cargo space to work with. There’s also a multi-level rear cargo floor that can come in handy for storing taller items.
Up at the front of the cabin, the Cherokee features supportive seats to keep the driver and front passenger comfortable, even on longer trips over bumpy roads. Heated front seats and a heated steering wheel keep everyone warm on cold winter days. An available dual-pane panoramic sunroof can make driving through nature an even more immersive experience, offering natural lighting during the day and a view of the stars above at night.
As you might expect, the Cherokee Trailhawk comes fitted with all-terrain tires that have tread designed to offer a good grip on a variety of surfaces. It also has a full-size spare tire onboard, so you can get rolling again if you come up against a particularly sharp rock. Up top, the Trailhawk comes with roof rails that you can use to transport cargo that’s too large to fit inside.
The rear window features a defroster, wiper, and washer so that you have an unobstructed view even on the dustiest of trails. Heated power mirrors also help repel fogging and frost on cold winter days. Deep tint privacy glass in the rear windows helps shield you and your belongings from the view of passersby.
The size of the Cherokee’s standard touchscreen has increased from 18 cm to 21 cm for the 2022 model year. This upgrade makes everything from audio settings to navigation instructions easier to see at a glance, so you can check the information you need quickly and get your eyes back on the road (or trail) in front of you. But while the touchscreen is centrally located between the driver and the front passenger, there’s also an available 18 cm digital display located right behind the wheel. Using controls on the steering wheel, you can choose the vehicle data you need in real-time, displaying everything right within your natural line of sight. The display is fully customizable, so you can prioritize whatever information is most important to you.
The Cherokee Trailhawk is loaded with safety features that keep drivers well-informed and in control, whether they’re cruising down the highway, navigating a dark rural road, or mastering a tricky OHV trail. All 2022 Cherokee trims come standard with features that are designed to help you keep control of the vehicle, even at high speeds under difficult circumstances.
- Electronic Stability Control and Electronic Roll Mitigation are automatic systems that work to keep the vehicle on course.
- Hill Start Assist detects when you are stopped on an incline and keeps the brakes activated as you move your foot to the accelerator so that you don’t roll backwards.
- All-Speed Traction Control maintains the vehicle’s traction in slippery conditions by limiting how much the wheels can spin.
The 2022 Cherokee also comes standard with LED low and high beam headlamps, which provide plenty of light for driving in the dark, even on country backroads. It also comes with LED daytime running lamps and taillamps, making the Cherokee easier to see during the day as well. The North trim and up (including the Trailhawk) come standard with LED fog lamps, which can cut through thick fog and illuminate misty roads.
The Trailhawk also comes standard with a Blind Spot Monitoring System, which keeps track of whether or not there is a vehicle in your blind spot and alerts you if you try to change lanes in front of another driver. It also has Rear Cross-Path Detection, which comes in handy when backing out of a space, either at a shopping centre or a campground parking lot.
While the Trailhawk is built to handle off-roading in difficult terrain, it’s still possible to end up in a situation where you need a tow. That’s why the Trailhawk comes with three tow hooks: two in the front and one in the rear. Their bright red colour makes them highly visible, and since there’s at least one on each side, you should be able to get a good angle no matter what position the vehicle is in.
Our Overall Impression
Inside and out, the Cherokee Trailhawk is built with adventure in mind. Not only does it have the chops to handle rough and rocky off-road trails, but it also has interior features that can keep drivers and passengers alike safe and comfortable while exploring the great outdoors. While many other SUVs focus on creating an exterior that looks tough and rugged, Jeep follows through with a truly capable vehicle that is ready to weather just about anything.