Best & Worst Jeep Cherokee Years

Avoid the costly mistake of buying a Jeep Cherokee from one of its worst years. This guide shows you exactly which Jeep Cherokee years to avoid.

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll break down the latest Jeep Cherokee generation (KL), unveiling the best Jeep Cherokee years to buy and the worst Cherokee years to avoid.

We demonstrate our commitment to providing accurate and reliable insights through analysis backed by authoritative sources such as NHTSA, Consumer Reports, and Edmunds.

We’ll mainly focus on Jeep Cherokee’s yearly reliability, safety, technology, common owner-reported problems, recalls, and average resale values to help you make an informed decision.

Let’s dive right in!

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Table of ContentsShow

Jeep Cherokee Generations

Since its introduction, the Jeep Cherokee has been an iconic figure in the automotive world. Known for its rugged design and off-road capabilities, the Cherokee has been a popular choice for those seeking adventure and reliability in their vehicle.

The first model set the tone with its robust engine options, four-wheel drive, and a design that was both practical and stylish, appealing to a wide range of drivers.

Below is an overview of the Jeep Cherokee generations from 2014 to 2023.

5th generation (KL)2014-2023

The evolution between generations is particularly noteworthy, with significant updates in design, technology, and performance, which can be critical for prospective buyers.

Jeep Cherokee Best, Neutral, and Worst Years

When it comes to assessing the best and worst years of the Jeep Cherokee, our rankings and categorizations consider a wide array of factors. These include:

  • Owner-reported reliability (surveys)
  • Annual maintenance costs
  • Safety ratings
  • Consumer Reports reliability scores
  • Consumer Reports owner satisfaction scores
  • NHTSA recalls, investigations, and complaints
  • Edmunds owner ratings
  • JD Power owner ratings
  • Kelley Blue Book (KBB) owner ratings
  • VehicleHistory owner ratings
  • owner ratings

This graph summarizes the combined ratings from the sources mentioned above, offering a comprehensive look at the Cherokee’s performance over the years.

Jeep Cherokee Car Smite Score Combined Overall Score 1

The following table categorizes all Jeep Cherokee model years into best, neutral, and worst years groups based on our detailed analysis:

GenerationBest YearsNeutral YearsWorst Years
5th generation (KL)2020

“Neutral Years” typically have a balanced mix of pros and cons, making them a potentially good choice for buyers looking for a reliable vehicle without major issues and standout excellence.

Factors like NHTSA recalls can negatively affect a car’s reliability. A higher number of complaints and recalls suggests potential safety risks, impacting the vehicle’s overall appeal.

It’s also worth noting that the Jeep Cherokee was discontinued in 2023 so there won’t be any newer models coming.

Let’s dive into the best, neutral, and worst years.

Best & Worst Years for Jeep Cherokee 5th Generation (2014-2023)

Jeep Cherokee 5th generation 2014 model
The 2014 Jeep Cherokee

The Jeep Cherokee’s fifth generation, spanning from 2014 to 2023, brought significant innovations and updates to this storied model.

Introduced with a modern design ethos and enhanced technological features, it aimed to balance Jeep’s rugged off-road heritage with the comforts and efficiency demanded by contemporary drivers.

The Best Years: 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023

These years marked the best and most reliable years of the fifth-generation Jeep Cherokee, with notable improvements in powertrain technology and overall vehicle refinement.

The introduction of the 2.0L turbocharged I4 engine, delivering 270 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, provided an excellent balance of power and fuel economy, with models achieving up to 23 city/31 highway MPG.

Coupled with an improved 9-speed automatic transmission, the driving experience was both smooth and responsive.

Trim levels, including Latitude, Latitude Plus, Limited, Overland, and the off-road-focused Trailhawk, offered a wide range of customization and luxury options.

Safety and technological features saw significant enhancements, with advanced driver assistance systems becoming standard, including forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and blind-spot monitoring.

The infotainment system upgrades, featuring larger touchscreens and improved connectivity, further solidified these years as the most desirable for potential buyers.

The Neutral Years: 2018

The 2018 Jeep Cherokee represented a turning point for the Cherokee, addressing some previous reliability concerns while still falling short of the substantial progress seen in later years.

It maintained the 3.2L V6 engine option, producing 271 hp, alongside the base 2.4L I4 engine, providing a decent mix of power and efficiency.

The AWD V6’s fuel economy hovered around 20 city/27 highway MPG, a respectable figure for the segment.

This year, a mid-cycle refresh updated exterior styling and interior comfort, including a revised front fascia and enhanced infotainment features.

However, it was not without its issues, as engine and transmission issues and recalls related to voltage regulator failures and fuel leaks were reported.

The Worst Years: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019

With the lowest owner ratings on platforms like Consumer Reports and the highest numbers of complaints and recalls, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2019 are the Jeep Cherokee years to avoid.

Recurrent engine and transmission issues characterized these models, with the 9-speed automatic transmission being notorious for erratic behavior, such as unexpected shifts into neutral and jerky transitions between gears.

Electrical problems plagued the 2014 through 2017 Jeep Cherokee models, which led to recalls concerning unintended airbag deployment, cruise control malfunctions, AC unit fire risks, windshield wiper failures, and electrical shorts.

Engine stalling and loss of motive power were common complaints for the 2019 Jeep Cherokee. It was recalled for voltage regulators, improper transmission calibration, reduced braking performance due to insufficient coating on rear brake caliper pistons, and loss of steering.

See NHTSA 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019 Jeep Cherokee recalls and complaints.

Jeep Cherokee Resale Values

See the graph below, which shows the average resale values of Jeep Cherokee across various model years.

Jeep Cherokee Average List Price 1


After carefully reviewing the Jeep Cherokee’s 5th generation, it’s clear that the 2020-2023 facelift models are the best years for reliability, performance, and technological advancements.

The 2014-2017 and 2019 Jeep Cherokee models are the least reliable years and you should avoid them. The most common problems include engine, transmission, and electrical issues. The initial facelift model, 2019, received many complaints about stalling and infotainment system malfunctions.

Which do you believe is the most reliable Jeep Cherokee year?

Share your thoughts in the comments!

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Jonathan Eckert

Jonathan is an ASE-certified mechanic with over 22 years of hands-on experience in the automotive industry. His expertise spans a wide range of vehicles, but he specializes in diagnosing and repairing Japanese cars. His previous workplace highly commended his meticulous attention to detail, and that's exaclty what he uses at Car Smite to craft the best guides for each purpose.