First Drive: Jeep Cherokee

The new Jeep is no longer the boxy American off-roader it once was.

The new Jeep is no longer the boxy American off-roader it once was.

Jeep’s new Cherokee is due here in May but in advance we went the Balocco proving ground in Italy to put it through its paces writes Geraldine Herbert

What is it? This is the all new Jeep Cherokee, the fifth-generation Cherokee.

First impressions of the new Jeep Cherokee: If the compact SUV says style, the muscular new Jeep Cherokee screams utility. A seven bar grille dominates the front end flanked by a slim pair of grimacing headlights. The Cherokee’s chunky profile accentuated by the squared and blistered wheel arches makes for a body builder profile. By comparison though the rear is decidedly dull.

What about the interior?  Inside the new Jeep has an interesting balance of familiar Jeep touches and modern styling. It is distinctly classier and the elements of a luxury brand—high quality materials, leather seats and automatic climate control are all there. Towering above the road at SUV level and nestled into seats that are every bit as comfortable as they look   the driver is nicely cosseted but overall the interior left us a little underwhelmed.

And behind the wheel?  At the launch we had an opportunity to test drive both versions of the new diesel the 140 and 170 bhp on road and the Trailhawk version off road

Powering the redesigned 2014 Cherokee are three engines

Powering the redesigned 2014 Cherokee are three engines

Jeep Cherokee on road: On the road it is a vast improvement on its predecessor; stable and controlled with little body roll,  the steering is crisper with good feedback. For motorway driving it is smooth and crucially it is 43% more fuel efficient than the previous Cherokee.The 170bhp  with the automatic gear box is the more refined of the two with the diesel engine barely audible,   in contrast the 140 bhp engine is nosier and makes much more laboured progress. Neither are fast but the 140 is plain leisurely.

Jeep Cherokee off road Dedicated off roaders will opt for the Trailhawk version with a heightened suspension and ground clearance. It certainly looks the part but how capable actually is it off road? well for those who have harboured a long-held secret desire to climb up 70 per cent inclines and descend  similarly steep downhills  before surmounting  rock trails and some severe articulation crawls  then we can testify first hand that this is the car for you.

How Much? The range starts at £25,500 for a front-drive, with a 140bhp version with manual Longitude.  A range topping  automatic  Limited version with four-wheel drive and the 170bhp engine will set you back £35,000

How Safe? The Jeep Cherokee achieved ‘Best in class’ safety when tested by the Euro NCAP’s and was the safest SUV in its category thanks to more than 70 safety and security systems including Rollover Mitigation (ERM), ABS with off-road calibration, Forward Collision Warning with Crash Mitigation, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop&Go and  Lanesense.

What about my options: Powering the redesigned 2014 Cherokee are three engines, a 2.0-litre Multijet II turbo diesel with a choice of 140 or 170 bhp and the 3.2-litre V-6 Pentastar petrol engine. Two and four wheel drive versions are available. Three trims are also offered, Limited, Longitude and Trailhawk.

3 words to describe the Jeep Cherokee: Brawny; Capable; Economical

For more information check out Jeep.co. uk or the Jeep UK  facebook page

 

Geraldine Herbert

16th April, 2014

 

Author: Geraldine Herbert

Motoring journalist Geraldine Herbert is the founder of wheelsforwomen. A jury member for the International Women’s World Car of the Year, she has been a motoring journalist for over ten years and is the motoring expert for Good Housekeeping Magazine and their “Women at the Wheel” section of goodhousekeeing.co.uk. You can follow Geraldine on Twitter at @GerHerbert1

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