2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk Elite vs 1991 Cherokee Laredo: Can New School Tech Beat Old School Ruggedness? [Video]

28 years separate these two siblings, but what about their off-road ability?

Automotive technology has moved on in the past three decades – of that there’s no doubt. Take the 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk Elite, for example. Now, you can have an SUV with multiple drive modes, hill descent control and a selectable locking rear differential. The Trailhawk even has crawl control up its sleeve to tackle some fairly serious off-roading. Then, there’s the powerplant: it’s 3.2-liter V6 engine with 271 horsepower and 239 lb-ft of torque mated to a nine-speed automatic outclass its XJ counterpart.

2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk Off-road Review
2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk. [Photo: FCA]
However, while the modern 2019 Jeep Cherokee may have all that plus park assist, blind spot monitoring and all the other modern safety systems, the 1991 Cherokee XJ has some old-school ruggedness on its side. It has selectable full-time four-wheel drive, as well as a low-range transfer case. It also has a healthy amount of ground clearance and skid plates over vital components. The Cherokee XJ also came with solid axles.

TFL’s long-term 1991 Jeep Cherokee XJ.

Then there’s the engine. Yes, the 4.0-liter inline-six engine may not be as strong as the modern Pentastar unit. It produces 190 horsepower and 225 lb-ft of torque, or at least it did when it was new. However, it is, as Tommy explained in our previous comparison video, a pretty bulletproof engine.

So, we have new school versus old-school off-roading. Modern tech against heritage and plain, few-frills dependability. Can the 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk Elite outperform the old XJ Cherokee off-road? Check out the video above to find out! Stay tuned to TFLcar.com for more news, views and real-world, off-road reviews.