Hannah Gordon finds herself seduced by an American icon, the Jeep Cherokee
What is it? A mid range SUV from possibly the best known off road specialists Jeep. The stylistic exterior and badge heritage are aiming to make an impact into the hugely competitive SUV sector.
Who is it aimed at? Jeep are after a piece of the SUV pie, and you’ll find the Jeep Cherokee appealing to families and consumers who require a lot of space. But this is definitely not a vehicle for serious off roading, regardless of the history adorning the cabin in the form of the jeep silhouette on the window screen and the “made in 1941” stamped into the steering wheel.
Styling? The familiar 7 slatted grill retains its position headlining the front of the Jeep Cherokee, the small headlights and driving lights resemble the Nissan Juke configuration. The squared wheel arches wrap around the chrome alloys, which do look a bit outdated and typically American. The Jeep Cherokee is nicely proportioned and the sleek lines make the Cherokee a great looking SUV.
Under the bonnet? The same multijet 2.0 diesel engine as used in the Fiat and Alfa range is used in the Jeep Cherokee. A top speed of 119mph and a 0-62mph of 10.3 seconds isn’t too bad considering its size and capabilities. The 168bhp drive train is the pick compared to the lower powered version, and it pulls well when put under stress. The noise received throughout the cabin at the higher rev range is a shame and shows the unrefined side of the Jeep. The 9 speed gearbox is definitely a must, the changes are seamless and help give a smooth and economic drive.
What about inside? If you have ever owned a Jeep then you will be fully aware that it looks like its done a drive by raid on a plastics factory, but Jeep aren’t ready to leave this behind. The controls and buttons are chunky but feel well made. Seating position is comfortable and make long journeys a breeze. The array of technology that comes as standard with the Limited edition is staggering. The Panoromic roof is a nice extra and the 8.4 inch touch screen is a joy to use, choosing media and sat nav options requires little effort. Overall the interior feels cheap but look beyond the plastic and there is a very useable cabin.
On the road? The Jeep Cherokee feels settled on roads and feels at home munching up the motorway miles, when asked to make progress on country roads it becomes responsive and doesn’t have huge amounts of body roll which is good. The steering does become increasingly numb when pushed through the corners and suspension gives a comfortable ride instead of an exciting one. The steering ca become heavy at slow speed and while parking, and don’t take the Jeep through any serious off road courses, its simply not made for that.
And Safety? The Jeep Cherokee feels safe and this is proved by the 5 star NCAP safety test result. There are plenty of safety features including Electronic roll mitigation, Brake stability control and Emergency accident response system. The Jeep has lane departure warning and will pull you back into a lane if it feels like you’ve lost the plot in driving in a straight line.
What are my Options? Absolutely stuffed to breaking point with kit as standard the Jeep Cherokee has a small options list. The test vehicle came with special paint at £625, panoramic sunroof £1095 and the Technology pack including lane departure, advanced braking comes as a £2000 option.
Will it break the bank? The price of this car with options is over £40,000, and the residual values aren’t great for Jeep. The economy is pretty average for the SUV sector at a combined figure of 48.7 mpg and CO2 emissions of 154g/km which puts it in tax group G and £180 per year.
So the Verdict? In the past I have owned a Jeep, and although it was a pretty awful car I still miss it. That’s what Jeep do to people, and its the same with the new Jeep Cherokee, its packed full of technology and the looks really separate it from the crowd on the road. The suspension and steering are comfortable but never really wow you, the 9 speed gearbox makes driving effortless. But the engine is noisy and the cabin just doesn’t match other manufacturers in the segment, and for a car of this value its hard to pick it over some of the rivals. If you are a Jeep fan then all of the cons will just add to its appeal, Jeeps are infectious and I’m slightly hooked.
Why you’ll buy one? Stylish Looks; Well Equipped; Iconic
Why you won’t? Noisy; Cabin Quality
BMW X3 – prices starting from £33,295
Honda CR-V – prices starting from £22,345
Jeep Cherokee JTDm Limited
Max speed: 119 mph
0-62 mph: 10.3 seconds
Emissions: 154 g/km
Model price range: from £36,310
No of Doors: 5
Euro NCAP : 5
Fuel type: Diesel
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 48.2 mpg
Boot Capacity Seats up: 591 litres
Length: 4624 mm
Width: 1859 mm
Height: 1670 mm
Wheelbase: 2700 mm
7th July, 2015