I actually took my 1st test drive of a new Cherokee today. I drove a 4 cyl model. My comments below will be based on a test drive and not ownership if that matters to you( OP ). I have actually held off driving one as I am not ready to buy yet and I knew if I did drive one it would get me itching to pull the trigger. As I expected it was really hard to leave without buying one. Great ride.
I actually had one with a 4 cyl and one with a 6 cyl vehicle lined up to test. An ADI Latitude for the 4cyl and an ADII Limited for the 6 cyl. I was going to do both so I could get a feel for the power differences. I drove the 4 cyl 1st and never even bothered with the 6 cyl model once I got back. No need for me as the 4 cyl will do the job just fine.
I am very anal about MPG and sticker price these days. I wasn't sure if I would be happy with the 4 cyl and 9spd as I tow a boat for fishing and waterfowl hunting about 10 months out of the year( about 1700lbs or so ). My Patriot handles it, barely, so I was going to try a 6 cyl too. The 4 cyl clearly has more than enough power to handle my towing needs though so as much as I would like the V6 for non practical reasons I know the 4 cyl will do the job and I prefer the better MPG and lower cost.
My Patriot has a 2.4L and the one in the Cherokee( updated/redesigned/different )while only making about 13 HP or so more FEELS like a lot more. Much more responsive off the line and when you punch it the vehicle gets right up and scoots. The Patriot has a CVT which impacts performance for sure but the Cherokee would flat out smoke my Patriot. Very noticeable performance difference.
It is a 4 cyl so it is not a rocket but it is not underpowered at all for the vehicle like I have heard some say. It is quiet, smooth, and has plenty of get up and go. Had some fun with it on the highway on ramp and it had no trouble getting up to speed so I could merge out. IMO the V6 is only a "NEED" if you need the 4500lbs towing capacity. Otherwise it is a "WANT". The 4 cyl is just fine in this vehicle.
Just for reference I come from driving nothing but full sized trucks with 300-400 HP V8's prior to the Patriot. I had a HEMI Ram before I got the Patriot so I am used to V8's with lots of power and I still found the Cherokee 4 cyl to be ok.