Interior view of the 2017 Jeep Cherokee Overland. (All photos: Fiat Chrysler Auto)

The 2017 Jeep Cherokee Overland is a good-looking SUV that can go off-road or to the opera with panache and aplomb, writes our automotive editor Sally Miller Wyatt.

Unless you live in the Santa Cruz Mountains or the Sierras, and you’re like most people, you probably really don’t need off-roading features on your everyday vehicle. But, when roads are flooded or muddy, or you just want an adventurous weekend in the snow or at Burning Man, it sure is nice to know your vehicle has what it takes to handle trails and poor road conditions.

And, not everyone wants to drive a huge, muscular-looking SUV, either. For date night to the newest five-star restaurant, or when you’re headed to the airport to pick up your in-laws, you want a sleek-looking vehicle to set the right tone.

Jeep Cherokees offer the best of those worlds and if it’s luxury you’re seeking, the 2017 Jeep Cherokee Overland is top-of-the-line for this model.

Exterior view of the 2017 Jeep Cherokee Overland.

The 2017 Jeep Cherokee is a five-passenger crossover SUV and it is available in five trims: Sport, Latitude, Trailhawk, Limited and Overland. The base model is the Sport, and it offers several nice-to-have standard features, with the list expanded somewhat on the Latitude versions. The Trailhawk is geared toward the off-road experience, with its advanced four-wheel-drive system and wider, 17-inch all-terrain tires, increased ground clearance and skid plates, off-road-tuned suspension and hill ascent and descent control. The Limited sheds all that off-road stuff and instead adds 18-inch alloy wheels, remote ignition, leather upholstery, an eight-way power driver’s seat and heated front seats and steering wheel, and dual-zone climate control.

The top-of-the-line Cherokee Overland, which was our test car, had all of the Limited’s features, but added all the accoutrements of urban living: rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-path alert, a power lift gate, cornering lights, wood accents on the steering wheel and upgraded leather upholstery. A nine-speaker audio system with subwoofer and HD radio system added a cool ambiance.

Now, you don’t need to go all the way up to the Overland model to surround yourself in luxury; some of the features found on this trim can be added on the lower trims with optional packages.

One of those options is a towing package. This package, when paired with the V6 engine, offers 4,500-pound towing capacity.

The standard engine for Jeep Cherokees is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder power plant rated at 184 horsepower and 171-pound-fet of torque. The 3.2-liter V6 is optional and it adds 271 horsepower and 239 pound-feet of torque. I would definitely recommend the upgrade, because having more power on hard acceleration – especially when you’re merging onto the freeway—is always a bonus.

Exterior view of the 2017 Jeep Cherokee Overland.

You have a choice of either front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive with either engine, but Trailhawks are only available in four-wheel drive.

Standard safety features include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, all the regular air bags, in addition to ones to protect front passenger’s knees.

On the dashboard, an 8.4-inch touchscreen comes with U-connect Access, which offers easy to use navigation menus, and large buttons. This U-connect system also includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, remote door unlocking and assistance should the vehicle be stolen. An optional package adds adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and automatic braking, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert. All this is terrific, and I would highly recommend these safety features.

On the inside, you’ll find this crossover SUV offers a quality look and feel. The rear seat is very comfortable for passengers of all sizes, and the seats even recline. The driver’s seat, with its power adjustable features, is very comfortable for tall or short drivers.

The rear cargo area is on the smaller side for a SUV of this size, but it’s not minute by any means. It measures 24.6 cubic feet behind the second row, and 54.9 inches when the rear seat backs are folded down.

On the road, the 3.2-liter V6 engine was forceful when power was needed, the ride quiet and the maneuverability was exemplary. Visibility is very good.

Overall, the 2017 Jeep Cherokee Overland is a good-looking SUV that can go off-road or to the opera with panache and aplomb.