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SAFETY | 8 out of 10
Four stars overall
Top Safety Pick
Jeep’s ascent and descent control accelerates or decelerates the Trailhawk up and down severe off-road trails.
Road & Track
all Cherokees offer a rearview camera.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has rated the Cherokee at four stars overall, a score it earns in all but the side-impact tests--where it's given five stars. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) calls it a Top Safety Pick, with good scores on all tests save for a small-overlap test not yet performed.
All Cherokees come with ten airbags, including rear-seat side airbags and driver and front passenger knee airbags. Stability and traction control and tire-pressure monitors are also standard.
Lower down on the obviously safe scale, Bluetooth is also standard, and the Cherokee has fairly good visibility for the driver. A rearview camera is standard only on the Limited model, an option on all other trim lines.
Deep into the high-tech safety realm are a wealth of features you'll find on the Ford Escape, but few other compact and mid-size crossovers. The Cherokee can be fitted with adaptive cruise control that can bring it to a full stop if an impending collision is detected; lane-departure and forward-collision warning systems are also an option, as are blind-spot monitors and parking sensors that can also trigger the vehicle to a full stop at low speeds, if obstacles are detected. All we'd ask for are some clever surround-view cameras, which would be a boon for off-road use.Finally, there's the Cherokee's flavor of hands-free parking. Here, as with the Range Rover Sport, the system can steer and nudge the car into a parallel or a conventional parking spot, with the driver serving as a final failsafe. It's the latest driving gadget that impresses most the first two or times you demonstrate it to friends. Beyond that...if you can't control the Cherokee easily on roads, how will you ever take it off-road--where wheel position is paramount?
The Cherokee has options like blind-spot monitors--and some kinship with the very safe Dart sedan.