Jeep Cherokee Review & First Drive

by under Review on 06 Jun 2014 02:25:21 AM06 Jun 2014
Price Range
$37,950 - $52,650
Fuel Consumption
8.5L - 10.2L/100km


Launched last year in the United States the all-new Jeep Cherokee has finally arrived in Australia.  The iconic Jeep Cherokee is now built in the USA on the same platform that is used for Alfa Romeo Giulietta.


After reading about the Alfa Romeo Giulietta connection we must admit that we had a preconceived idea that the Jeep Cherokee had gone soft – how wrong we were.

Jeep Cherokee Overview

The new Jeep Cherokee is available in four models.  Entry to the range is via the front wheel drive Sport model, mid grad is called Longitude and the high end Limited model, both of which come with a 4x4 capability.  Rounding out the line-up is the bush bashing Trail Hawk model that has the ability to go deep in to the outback, where its competitors could only ever dream.


The Jeep Cherokee Australian line-up and pricing is: 







Sport 4x2

2.4-litre MultiAir Tigershark l-4

9-speed auto

$ 35,000

Longitude 4x4

3.2-litre V6 Pentastar

9-speed auto

$ 39,000

Limited 4x4

3.2-litre V6 Pentastar

9-speed auto

$ 44,000

Trailhawk 4x4

3.2-litre V6 Pentastar

9-speed auto

$ 47,500

* Manufacturer Suggested Retail Pricing – does not include statutory or dealer delivery charges

Standard highlights across the range include auto lights, auto dimming mirror, Day time running lights, Cruise Control, Keyless entry aux/USB/SD card, rear-reversing camera and Bluetooth connectivity with streaming audio and speed adjusted volume.

Jeep Cherokee Engine

Jeep has launched the range in Australia with a choice of two engines. The entry-level Sport model has a  2.4 litre 16 valve Multiair Tigershark in-line four engine that is capable of  producing 137kW @ 6250 rpm and 232Nm of torque at 4600 rpm.  Combined fuel economy is a claimed 8.3-litres a 45% improvement on the outdoing model


The three high spec’d models (Cherokee Limited, Longitude and Trailhawk) all have a 3.2 litre DOHC 24 valve V6 engine produces (202 kW and 324 Nm @ 4400 rpm.   Combined fuel economy is a claimed 10.0-litres per 100km which is a 30% improvement.


Buyers wanting to get their hands on a diesel version of the Jeep Cherokee will need to wait until the end of 2014.

Jeep Cherokee Interior

The interior of the new Jeep Cherokee has also undergone a revolution with designers working hard to delivery a high-end interior space.  The designers have thoroughly thought out each area of the cabin and have delivered an interior that rivals its larger, more expensive sibling Jeep Grand Cherokee. 


The Jeep Cherokee has 7 standard airbags include front & rear side-curtain airbags and front seat-mounted side airbags
From the drivers seats drivers are greeted with a instrument cluster that is easy to read.  The Sport and Longitude cluster has rev counter on the left a 3.5-inchTFT gray scale trip computer in the center a speedo on the right.  The Limited and Trail Hawk gains a seven-inch full-colour TFT screen.


Both the Cherokee Sport and Longitude   come with a 5.0-inch Uconnect touch screen that disappointedly misses out on the Satellite Navigation that should be standard at this price point.  The higher spec’d Limited and Trail Hawk get the larger 8.4-inch Uconnect system that does have standard Sat-Nav.  
Storage inside the Jeep Cherokee is plentiful and well thought out.  The front passenger under seat storage on the Longitude model and above is just one such feature.  The integrated phone docking station and optional wireless charging pad concealed in the center console is another great idea.  


Luggage space with the 60/40 rear seats in place is 700-litres which increases to 1,555-litres when the seats are folded flat.

Jeep Cherokee Exterior and Styling

The latest Jeep Cherokee divides buyers and experts alike no other SUV has.  For some the exterior styling will be too much for some.
The Jeep design team led by Mark Allen started with a clean slate and an idea to get the C02 drag number under 0.37, which is unheard of for a SUV.
The team set out to reinvent the Jeep Cherokee yet still keeps the traditional styling cues (Waterfall Hood, Drop Down DLO inspired by the half doors on the Jeep Wrangler and the trapezoidal wheel arches.  Every thing else was fair game.
The front of the Cherokee looks like no other yet is still unmistakably part of the Jeep family.  The waterfall hood and the 7-slot grille are still there.  Daytime running lights and indicators have replaced standard placement of headlights.  The projector headlamps sit below the DLR’s and above where fog lamps are.


At the rear the contemporary full LED tail lamps dominate the rear, the rear also carries the Jeep Cherokee-specific rear fog lamps and reflex. 
The Jeep Trail Hawk is almost looks like a different car, it comes with signature red front tow hooks, skid plates, and wider fender flares to accommodate aggressive all-terrain tyres, giving the Trail Hawk a rugged appearance.

Jeep Cherokee On The Road

Like most SUVs these days the Jeep Cherokee has adopted a monocoque chassis, for a more car like driving experience, couple that with electric power steering and new independent suspension and the Jeep Cherokee is just impressive on road as it is off.

2014 JEEP CHEROKEE had the opportunity to sample the FWD Sport, AWD Limited and 4x4 Trail Hawk at the national launch in and around Wilpena Pound, South Australia.
The drive program for the Sport and Limited mainly consisted of high-speed highway driving and gravel roads with a few creek crossings.  In these conditions the improvement of on road dynamics for the new Jeep Cherokee are most noticeable.


For the first time the Selec-Terrain system appears on the Jeep Cherokee, available on the Longitude, Limited and Trailhawk Cherokee models. There are up to five modes to provide optimal traction for specific conditions: Auto, Snow, Sand/Mud, Sport, the Trail Hawk version also receives a Rock mode.


The Trail Hawk had a morning dedicated to hard-core 4x4 driving around the Skytrek Willow Springs Station track.  The Cherokee Trail Hawk completed the 18km assault course with ease thanks to the Selec Trac system that also lets drivers lock the rear differential and select low-range, add the hill descent mode and the Jeep Cherokee Trail Hawk can go almost anywhere.


Jeep Cherokee Issues

Don’t expect to see too many Jeep Cherokee Sport models on the road.  With the starting price at $33,500, there are just too many better options to buy.
For some buyer the exterior will turn some buyers off straight away, while others will love it – each to their own.  Just make sure that you see one in the metal before writing it off.
The boot space is limited but this is the price you pay for decent occupant space

Jeep Cherokee Competition

As a potential buyer of a compact SUV you are blessed with the choice of at least another 21 models you could test drive.
If you want the serious off roader capability then the Land Rover Freelander priced from $42,300 should be on your list. 


If it is more of a urban based SUV your after then we suggest that you test drive the Subaru Forester , Toyota RAV4, Kia Sportage/Hyundai iX35 Honda CRV, Nissan X-Trail and Mazda CX-5.  
Just remember that Jeep Cherokee range starts with a 9-speed automatic transmission and alloy wheels.  Just make sure you are comparing like for like vehicles. 

Jeep Cherokee Verdict

The Jeep Cherokee is the perfect medium sized SUV for those buyers who are interested in actually getting off the tarmac and in to the countryside.
With its improved handing and on-road dynamics the Jeep Cherokee is the perfect commuter during the week and one of the ultimate explores at weekends.


If you are in the market for a cross over SUV but also want to be able to take your SUV off the beaten track then the Jeep Cherokee is perfect for you.

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