Revised Active Drive I system loses weight, adds efficiency

The 2019 Jeep Cherokee includes some admirable updates. The front has been redesigned to not be so ugly, new LED headlights should perform better, a new lightweight tailgate gets hands-free opening, five new wheel designs change up the appearance, a dual-pane sunroof is available, and the new 2.0-liter turbo-four borrowed from the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL is under the reshaped aluminum hood. But Jeep didn’t stop its drivetrain updates with the new engine. The Cherokee’s base 4WD system has been updated with less internal friction and a reduction of 17 pounds.

A Detailed Look At The 2019 Jeep Cherokee's 4WD Systems Exterior
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Active Drive I is the basic 4WD system offered in the Cherokee’s Latitude, Latitude Plus, Limited, and Overland trims

Active Drive I is the basic 4WD system offered in the Cherokee’s Latitude, Latitude Plus, Limited, and Overland trims. Jeep says the system has been completely redesigned for 2019 and includes a new, next-generation rear drive module. The RDM, or rear differential, works automatically to deliver power to the rear wheels when the front tires lose traction, regardless of speed and without any action needed from the driver. The RDM also provides yaw correction (torque vectoring) during turning, which helps prevent understeer and oversteer. The new rear differential weighs an impressive 17 pounds less, and even more impressive, has 50 percent less drag at low speeds.

Active Drive II is the more capable 4WD system and includes a two-speed transfer case with both high and low gear ranges. Available on the same trims as Active Drive I, AD II simply adds more off-road capability. The system, recalibrated for 2019, is still fully automatic in high-range mode, but the driver can select low-range for more treacherous terrain. This mode locks the transfer case into delivering equal torque to the front and rear wheels, regardless of wheel slip, with a gear reduction of 2.92:1. When paired with the 2.0-liter turbo-four, Active Drive II offers an impressive crawl ratio of 51.2:1. The 3.2-liter V-6 gets a crawl ratio of 48.3:1. Regardless of engine choice, Cherokees with Active Drive II get a one-inch suspension lift and have a neutral setting in the transfer case for flat towing.

A Detailed Look At The 2019 Jeep Cherokee's 4WD Systems Exterior
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Active Drive II is the more capable 4WD system and includes a two-speed transfer case with both high and low gear ranges

Active Drive Lock is essentially Active Drive II but includes a locking rear differential and Rock Mode in Jeep’s Selec-Terrain traction control system. Active Drive Lock is only found on the Cherokee Trailhawk. The locking rear differential can be engaged when in 4WD low range and locks together the rear axle shafts so they spin at the same speed, regardless of wheel slip. This gives the best traction in off-roading situations.

Regardless of the Active Drive 4WD system, all three are fully automatic in their high-range engagement. When traction isn’t an issue, the rear differential disengages for reduced drag on the driveline, leaving the front wheels to power the Jeep. All three systems also come with Jeep’s Selec-Terrain system, too. It includes drive modes that tailor the drivetrain for the best performance. The modes are Auto, Snow, Sport, and Sand/Mud. The Cherokee Trailhawk’s Active Drive Lock also gets a Rock Mode, along with hill ascent and hill descent settings.

2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk High Resolution Exterior
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Naturally, the Cherokee Trailhawk is the right choice for serious off-roaders.

Naturally, the Cherokee Trailhawk is the right choice for serious off-roaders. Matching its drivetrain, the Trailhawk has unique bodywork that affords it more clearance. It boasts an approach angle of 29.9 degrees, a breakover angle of 22.9 degrees, and a departure angle of 32.2 degrees. Ground clearance measures 8.7 inches. That’s only an inch less than the new 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL in Sport trim and only 2.1 inches shy of the Wrangler Rubicon’s 10.8 inches of ground clearance. The Cherokee Trailhawk does come standard with underbody skid plates and red-painted tow hooks should the trail prove extra challenging.

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References

Jeep Cherokee

Updated Jeep Cherokee Goes Softer In The Styling Department Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 Jeep Cherokee.

2015 Jeep Cherokee - Driven High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full driven review on the 2015 Jeep Cherokee.

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