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Jeep's Michael Manley introduces the 2019 Jeep Cherokee at the Detroit auto show. (Kami Buchholz photo)

2018 NAIAS: FCA turbocharges the 2019 Jeep Cherokee

FCA used the Jeep Cherokee's significant mid-cycle revamp for 2019 to introduce a new, sophisticated 4-cylinder gasoline engine to the popular midsize SUV.

The turbocharged, direct-injected 2.0-L "brings together key engineering innovations to solve a wide range of performance demands,” explained Jeep brand boss Michael Manley during the Cherokee debut at the 2018 North American International Auto Show.

Rated at 270 hp (201 kW) and 295 lb·ft (400 N·m), the new DOHC four is part of FCA’s Global Medium Engine family. Its torque output is 35 lb·ft (47 N·m) greater than that produced by the company's 3.6-L 'Pentastar' V6.

FCA engineers claim the 2.0-L is the first production engine to combine a twin-scroll turbocharger, central DI, cooled-and-throttled EGR, and a separate cooling circuit for the intake charge cooler, throttle body and direct-mount turbocharger. That holistically-designed system enables reduced fuel consumption while maintaining excellent performance, they said.

The cylinder block is an open-deck design that is manufactured (along with the aluminum head) at FCA's Trenton (MI) South casting plant for North American vehicle applications.

The KL Cherokee's new four is a variant of the GME-T4 turbo 2.0-L that debuted in the 2018 TL Wrangler. It's "specifically tuned for the Cherokee architecture and its driving dynamics," explained Paul Smith, the vehicle's chief engineer. The Cherokee package, while it includes stop-start capability, does not incorporate the 48-V belt-starter-generator mild hybrid system used on the new Wrangler.

A 9-speed 948TE transaxle, designed by ZF and manufactured at FCA's Kokomo, IN, plant, is paired with the new 2.0-L as well as with the other two Cherokee engine offerings: a 2.4-L 'Tigershark' MultiAir2 inline four delivering SAE-rated 180 hp (134 kW) and 170 lb·ft (230 Nm), and the 3.2-L V6 with 271 hp (202 kW) and 239 lb·ft (324 N·m).

Besides the new engine, and exterior changes aimed at toning down the outgoing model's controversial styling, other engineering upgrades include a new aluminum hood, a hands-free-operated composite liftgate, a retuned electric power steering system and a re-calibrated suspension.

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