Angry face, but sweet ride
This latest model is loaded with technological goodies, and it still thrives off-road, PETER BARNWELL writes
OBVIOUSLY Jeep’s new Cherokee is nothing like the previous vehicle, especially in styling but also in technology and many other areas.
But it can still go a fair old way off road despite looking more like a people mover this time around, with an angry face.
To be truthful, we were shocked when images of this vehicle first emerged.
“What were they thinking?’’ sprang to mind.
But now, we find the style characterful and distinctive, probably how potential owners will feel.
It sure ain’t like anything else on the road.
The Limited we drove is the penultimate Cherokee at $44,000, topped only by the Trailhawk — a toughened-up off-road model.
That said, the Limited is still a handy tool in the dirt — and rocks, mud, sand, snow and ice for that matter. Pretty good on sealed roads, too.
They put terrain select in it this time around, which calibrates numerous functions to cater for various driving applications — just like Range Rover and Land Rover.
The 4WD system offers many drive options, including low range 4WD for crawling. Ground clearance is a handy 221mm.
A mid-size five-seater, the Cherokee Limited is available only with a 3.2-litre petrol V6 engine, and, like all the 4x4 new Cherokee models, a disconnecting rear axle unless rear drive is necessary.
We really like the remote engine start that allows you to fire up Cherokee on approach. Should operate a little farther out, we reckon, though that may be tempting theft.
Cherokee has new strut and multi-link suspension front and rear and this model rides on 18inch alloys. Jeep paid particular attention to noise vibration and harshness in the new Cherokee, with rewarding results.
The drive feel is aided by adaptive dampers and electric steering, as well as strong performance from the engine and chassis and we must admit to not really noticing the ninespeed auto in action.
Kit is generous, with an electric park brake, cruise, dual zone climate control, tyre pressure monitor, reverse camera, power driver and passenger seats, auto wipers and lights, bi-xenon lights etc.
We had to eat humble pie on this one.
Much better than expected, goes well, OK on fuel, plenty of kit, sharp price, handy on and off road, right size, and five star safety.