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Bluetooth pairing is uneventful and sound quality for calls is reassuringly clear. For those who can’t do without their phone screens, there is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well.
You also get four USB ports, a 12V outlet and in a nod to technology proofing two USB-C ports as well. ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS The four-wheel drive Trailhawk is powered by a 3.2-litre V6 naturally aspirated petrol unit that provides 315Nm of torque and a useful 200kW of power. A ninespeed automatic gearbox completes the offering and while it is quite capable, you can sometimes hear it hunting for gears especially when you are going up or down a hill.
As a point of difference in this accomplished mid-sized SUV class, the Trailhawk sports a proper 4WD drivetrain with triple diffs, low-range transfer case and hill ascent and descent control.
The Select Terrain feature allows you to choose from Auto, Sand/Mud, Snow and Sport settings with the ability to lock all three diffs which makes its excellent offroad performance possible. SAFETY Standard safety inclusions have stepped up across the Jeep Cherokee range with the Trailhawk featuring many driver support aids.
In addition to six airbags, parking sensors and a rear view camera with guidelines, you also get autonomous emergency braking, active forward collision warning, lane departure warning, rear cross traffic alert and blind spot monitoring.
There are three IsoFix points if you are carrying young children, although it is tricky to use all three at once. DRIVING Refinements to the suspension, chassis and steering equates to an all-round better performance for this latest Jeep Cherokee.
On the road, it is easily manageable, accelerates well, is happy to change direction quickly and feels well balanced and relaxed.
Given the constraints of an SUV, the Cherokee reacts well when pushed into corners, is decisive when following a line and never totters around looking for its feet.
It is composed over poor urban roads, is manoeuvrable in tight confines and seems eager to please. It can sometimes take a tad long to get going and the gearbox can miss a beat.
There are no disappointments to be had off the road either, with the Trailhawk impressing with its poise and fleetness of foot. The suspension offers 221mm of ground clearance and the steel underbody skid plates combine with the Trailhawk’s 4WD underpinnings to give it clear confidence when tackling all sorts of terrain.
While the course we tested the Trailhawk on wasn’t difficult, it was muddy and slippery and required a bit of thought to navigate. The Trailhawk just went about its business, crawling and scrambling without fuss and making it a truly fun experience.
Despite its charms, the Cherokee is quite a thirsty unit. We struggled to get the official 10.2 L/100km and had to settle for 12.9 L/100km during our week in the seat. Jeep offers the Trailhawk with a five year/ 100,000km warranty, a fixed-price servicing program and free roadside assist if you service the car at a Jeep dealer. Service intervals are 12,000km or 12 months. SUMMING UP Jeep has upped its game with the latest Cherokee range. It looks and drives better, has an impressive inclusions list and in the Trailhawk, you have a car that can introduce you to real off-road adventures. How it fares against segment favourites remains to be seen but at least it has a fighting chance.