When it goes on sale here this month (June 2014), the new Cherokee will introduce smart new technology to the mid-size SUV segment, instantly becoming one of the most user-friendly cars in its class.
Initially the new Cherokee will be available with a choice of 138 and 168bhp 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engines. The more powerful engine is linked to a nine-speed automatic gearbox, a first for the mid-size SUV (Jeep classification 4.5-4.8m) class. This ground-breaking transmission is also available to all four trim levels: Longitude, Longitude+, Limited and Trailhawk. Three of the four – Longitude, Longitude+ and Limited – can be specified with either diesel engine and in two or four-wheel drive. The more off-road focused Trailhawk model comes only with a 3.2-litre petrol engine and only automatic transmission. It will be available by special order only from the end of the year.
Thanks to the light-weight materials used and the efficiency of the 2.0-litre MultiJet II engine, the new Cherokee becomes one of the cleanest cars in its class. The front-wheel drive 138bhp version returns 53.3mpg on the combined cycle and emits just 139g/km of CO2. Yet performance is hardly hampered: the 168bhp automatic 4×4 will do 0-60mph in a lively 10.3 seconds.
As the Cherokee wears the legendary Jeep badge it will be one of the most capable cars around, no matter what surface it’s on. New suspension combines with a very rigid bodyshell to make it comfortable, refined and enjoyable to drive on the road. The fuel-efficient Jeep Active Drive I four-wheel drive system automatically switches between front and all-wheel drive when required. And Jeep’s Selec-Terrain system offers up to five different four-wheel drive modes to ensure drivers employ the most suitable settings for the prevailing conditions.
Taking cues from its Grand Cherokee stablemate, the new Cherokee has a stylish, well-equipped interior that exudes premium craftsmanship. It’s also comfortable and versatile with figure-hugging front seats and in the back, seats that fold and recline as well as sliding backwards and forwards to maximise either leg room or boot space.
All new Cherokees are packed with technology. Each model features a Thin-Film Transistor (TFT) screen in the instrument cluster available in either monochrome or colour. On the centre console there’s a choice between a 5-inch colour touch-screen for the Uconnect media system and, in a first for this class, an 8.4-inch display. Even the entry-level Longitude model comes with cruise control, parking sensors and dual-zone air-conditioning as standard. And some neat options can be specified. These include the full-length CommandView sun roof and a charging pad that can replenish some smart phones without the need to plug them in.
The Cherokee is one of the safest cars on the road: it has already been awarded five stars by EuroNCAP and has more than 70 available safety features. These include systems such as Forward Collision Warning with Crash Mitigation which employs radar to help the driver avoid, or limit the effects of, any impact. Meanwhile, ParkSense Parallel/Perpendicular Park Assist finds parking spaces that will accommodate the Cherokee, then helps the driver reverse into them by controlling the manoeuvre.
The result is a car that combines the traditional Jeep values of simplicity and versatility with style, efficiency and technology to create a no-compromise all-rounder capable of doing the famous seven-slotted grille justice.
DESIGN: STYLISH IN THE CITY, TOUGH ON THE TRAIL
When it came to designing the all-new Cherokee, the team at Jeep had to be mindful that they were recreating a legend. The new car had to remain true to the Jeep brand and DNA, yet move the story on with an efficient but capable looking form that would age as gracefully as its predecessors. The result is a car with a smooth and sophisticated top half and a rugged bottom half that combine with aggressive wheel-to-body proportions to give it a powerful stance and commanding road presence.
Mark Allen, head of Jeep Design, said: “Our objective with the Cherokee was to convey visually that this is an all-new Jeep while still communicating legendary best-in-class capability. But the rest of the equation has changed. Our vision was a smooth and flowing upper body with signature Jeep cues such as the peaked seven-slot grille, trapezoidal wheel arches and the functional ‘kink’ in the beltline mated to a tough, durable lower body. We wanted a design that is fluid and efficient yet still rugged and as at home on the trail as outside the theatre.”
The Jeep Design team spent a lot of time working on the aerodynamic features of the new Cherokee in order to reduce drag and help improve fuel economy. The result is a rear spoiler, integrated underbelly pans and aerodynamic spats on the sill and tail lamps that have been designed to improve separation from the air. Lightweight aluminium wheels have also been designed to optimise aerodynamic efficiency.
The bonnet incorporates Jeep’s iconic seven slotted grille. This enables a more precise build and visually separates the grille from the front bumper. The grille itself has a crisp curve to it which is a feature on many classic Jeeps. LED lighting technology is used throughout the all-new Cherokee and features at the front with slim daytime running lights. These sit high for water fording and lie above a projector headlamp.
The side view has Jeep’s signature trapezoidal wheel arches while the window line draws inspiration from the half doors on the Jeep Wrangler by diving down towards the front. This gives the driver better visibility and helps to improve the view of obstacles while driving off-road.
At the rear there are full LED tail lamps while the rear bumper incorporates the fog lights and reflectors. The tailgate extends right down to the rear bumper. This repeats the theme of the front by visually separating bodywork from bumper while giving a low-loading sill for maximum driver convenience.
The Jeep Cherokee comes in four models: Longitude, Longitude+, Limited and Trailhawk. Although it’s the entry model to the new Jeep Cherokee line-up, the Longitude is still a very well equipped car. LED Daytime Running Lights and LED tail lights are standard, as are 17-inch aluminium wheels and chrome window, grille, roof rails and exhaust tips. Inside there is automatic air-conditioning and electric front windows along with a tilting and telescopic steering column and six-way adjustable driver’s seat. Other luxuries include a leather wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, USB and Bluetooth connectivity and ParkSense Rear Park Assist with Stop.
In addition to this, the Longitude+ model features the Uconnect media centre with touchscreen, navigation system and DAB radio, along with a nine-speaker sound system. The Limited model has as standard keyless Enter’n Go, rain-sensitive windscreen wipers, tinted privacy glass, High Intensity Discharge bi-xenon headlamps, heated front seats and an eight-way adjustable driver’s seat. Other features include a unique to class wireless charging pad for phones and tablets, a seven-inch TFT colour screen in the instrument cluster, a rear reversing camera and 18-inch polished aluminium wheels.
The forthcoming Trailhawk version moves the Cherokee’s rugged design onto a new level. There are exclusive interior and exterior colours plus red front tow hooks, skid plates and wider wheel arches to accommodate aggressive all-terrain tyres.
INSIDE: FOCUS ON THE CUSTOMER
The interior of the Cherokee has been designed to combine the use of high quality materials with innovative colours, precision craftsmanship and state-of-the-art technology plus simple, clever features that combine to offer a truly customer focused environment.
The basic look of the Cherokee’s interior builds upon the recent 2013 Grand Cherokee model. The appearance is strong yet graceful with fluid shapes carrying the instrument panel around to the door panel. The overall feel is inviting, refined, comfortable and convenient.
High quality, soft-touch materials are employed throughout with particular attention paid to where occupants come into direct contact with the vehicle. The instrument panel has a stitched cover and there’s also stitching on the centre and front door arm rests. The seats have been designed to support the contours of the body and the driver’s seat can be specified to adjust electrically, have a memory function and can be heated or cooled.
Jeep’s designers drew their inspiration for the interior from exotic locations and terrains around the world. For UK buyers there’s an available choice between the dramatic dark brown and indigo blue of the Vesuvio trim, inspired by Mount Vesuvius, with its Nappa leather hide, or the high contrast of the black and golden hues of Morocco available with either cloth or leather upholstery. The Cherokee also has the option of a new full-length dual pane CommandView sunroof.
State of the art technology
The interior of the Cherokee was designed to be easy to use so means technology plays an integral part. All models feature a Thin-Film Transistor (TFT) screen in the instrument cluster. This allows the driver to receive information such as navigation instructions, vehicle speed, fuel economy details or audio information while keeping their eyes on the road. On Longitude and Longitude+ models the screen is 3.5-inch monochrome. On Limited and Trailhawk models it is 7-inch colour.
The Uconnect media centre features screens in the centre console that are attractive, intuitive and easy to use. A 5-inch touch screen is standard on Longitude models but on Longitude+, Limited and Trailhawk models the Cherokee has an 8.4-inch touch screen, the largest in the mid-size SUV category. The Uconnect system allows the driver to control the audio, climate controls, heated and ventilated seats and much more with large, easy-to-see buttons. It includes Bluetooth connectivity, navigation, music and audio streaming capability. In addition, this latest Uconnect platform delivers faster response times, sharper navigation and offers drivers more extensive voice recognition capabilities.
A wireless charging pad is also available, concealed in the upper tray of the centre arm rest and compatible with any smart phone that is QI wireless charging enabled. Devices without QI technology can still employ the charging pad, but might need a separately purchased accessory. All models also have an SD card slot, audio AUX-IN jack, USB charging port and can be specified with two 12-volt power outlets. The Cherokee’s steering wheel is a new design and has three spokes with audio, voice, and cruise control functions on it.
As the new Jeep Cherokee has been designed for use as a family car, particular attention has been paid to in-cabin storage with some clever, thoughtful, yet simple features to make owners’ lives easier.
The glovebox storage is deep and large enough to hold a tablet or small laptop computer. There’s a covered bin on top of the instrument panel giving secure storage for a wallet or phone and the front passenger seat folds flat and has hidden, in-seat storage courtesy of a flip-up passenger seat cushion. Two front cup holders have grips for different sizes of drink containers and are rubber lined to make them easy to clean.
Second-row passengers can relax in seats that recline and slide backwards and forwards to increase leg room or storage space as needed. The boot is equipped with Jeep’s innovative Cargo Management System, which has a universal module rack mounted on the side of the rear cargo area with hooks, and a removable grocery bag. Mopar offers a full range of accessories that are compatible, such as an off-road kit for Trailhawk models, cargo bin and mat, a foldable cooler and first aid and emergency kit.
ENGINES AND GEARBOXES: FIRST WITH A NINE-SPEED AUTO
On its UK launch the Jeep Cherokee will feature two versions of the efficient 2.0-litre MultiJet II turbo diesel. The 3.2-litre Pentastar V6 petrol engine will be available on the special-order Trailhawk versions in the UK at the end of 2014. However, the big news is that the new Jeep Cherokee will become the first mid-size SUV to feature a nine-speed automatic gearbox.
This will be available on the 168bhp 2.0 turbo diesel and 3.2-litre petrol models. Designed to improve fuel efficiency, reduce exhaust emissions and enhance performance, the wide range of ratios also ensures the right gear and engine response at the right time. More than 40 individual shift maps take into account variables such as engine torque, gradients and longitudinal and lateral acceleration.
Internally, the transmission, developed with ZF, has four gear seats and six shift elements of multi-disc clutches, dog clutches and brakes. Only three shift elements are open at any time. With fewer open shift elements, drag losses through multiple parts rotating relative to one another are reduced. In addition, the gear ratios and the smaller steps between them that having nine speeds allows ensures there’s the correct gear for every circumstance which helps to improve mechanical efficiency because the engine is operating at lower revs for more of the time. First gear has been specifically designed for aggressive launches while there are four overdrive ratios to benefit highway fuel economy and reduce noise, vibration and harshness levels. The result is an automatic gearbox that can provide fast, smooth changes and the ideal response to almost any conditions and style of driving.
As well as the automatic, a six-speed manual gearbox is available on all diesel models in 4×2 and 4×4 drive types.
2.0 MultiJet II turbo diesel
Employing the Fiat Powertrain Technology-patented MultiJet II technology, the 2.0-litre turbo diesel is available in two outputs: 138 and168bhp.
The core engine for both is the same with an aluminium cylinder head, double overhead camshafts (DOHC) and four valves per cylinder. The cylinder block is cast iron for high durability and low cost construction, and there’s a balance shaft unit to reduce engine vibration. There’s also a cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation system with a cooler bypass for lower emissions and improved fuel efficiency plus a Variable Geometry Turbocharger to enhance acceleration.
Star of the show is undoubtedly the second-generation MultiJet common rail injection system. Using solenoid fuel injectors, this introduces diesel to the cylinders at high pressure (1600bar). The engine management is capable of up to eight injections per combustion cycle for smooth and efficient engine operation in all conditions. The injection rate can even be modulated – a process called Injection Rate Shaping – to reduce noise, fuel consumption and emissions.
Efficiency is further improved with the standard Stop/Start system. This shuts down the engine when the car is at a standstill and restarts automatically when it’s time to move off again. Drivers can deactivate the technology via a button on the dashboard if required.
The result is 168bhp at 4000rpm and 258 ft lbs of torque at 1750rpm when it’s combined with the new nine-speed automatic transmission. Economy for the 4×4 is 48.7mpg on the combined cycle with CO2 emissions of 154g/km. The 138bhp version produces its peak output at 3750rpm with 258ft lbs of torque at 1750rpm. This engine comes with a six-speed manual gearbox. In this format and with two-wheel drive, economy on the combined cycle is 53.3mpg; CO2 emissions are 139g/km ensuring the new Cherokee is one of the cleanest cars in its class.
DRIVING: ON-ROAD COMFORT, OFF-ROAD CAPABILITY
The Jeep name is synonymous with off-road capability and the latest version of the Cherokee lives up to the brand’s heritage by combining premium on-road driving dynamics with unique trail-rated capability when the going gets rough.
The Jeep Cherokee sits on a new Compact US Wide (CUS-wide) architecture. This employs common, modular and interchangeable components that allow multiple models to be built using the same basic underpinnings. The body structure is strong, light and solid thanks to the use of hot-stamped, high-strength and ultra high-strength steel. The result is an SUV with the refined on-road manners of a premium car.
However, the materials are only part of the story. The new Jeep Cherokee has independent front suspension with MacPherson struts. This provides 17cm of travel while the rear independent multi-link suspension gives up to 19.8cm of travel for better articulation. The isolated rear cradle, aluminium front cross member and excellent torsional rigidity deliver a quieter, smoother ride with improved handling characteristics.
The Electronic Power Steering system (EPS) derives its power assistance from an electric motor rather than traditional hydraulics. Assistance is controlled by sensors monitoring steering torque, steering wheel speed and angle, and vehicle speed. The results are optimal assistance at all speeds for the driver, less noise and better fuel efficiency. The EPS also helps the Cherokee feel nimble and manoeuvrable in tight spaces thanks to a turning circle of 11m for two-wheel drive models, 11.6m for four-wheel drive and 12m for the off-road focused Trailhawk.
The Cherokee is the first mid-size SUV to feature rear axle disconnect, resulting in reduced energy loss when 4×4 capability is not needed, and improving fuel efficiency. It switches seamlessly without input from the driver.
Jeep Active Drive I
Go-anywhere capability is a given with the Jeep brand. The new Cherokee has the Jeep Active Drive I system with a single Power Transfer Unit. This enables four-wheel drive to be engaged and disengaged at any speed with no input from the driver. The system offers balanced torque distribution with brake traction control and can deliver or restrict power to individual wheels in extreme driving conditions.
It works through a fully variable wet clutch that’s housed in the rear drive module. This clutch supplies the proper amount of torque for all driving conditions from slippery surfaces to aggressive starts. A sophisticated computer program enables this to work alongside the ESC system to deliver outstanding driving dynamics.
All models fitted with Jeep Active Drive I also feature the Selec-Terrain traction control system. With the push of a button on the Selec-Terrain dial, drivers can choose one of up to five customised settings: Auto, Snow, Sport, Sand/Mud and Rock. The system has been designed to allow drivers to maximise the Cherokee’s four-wheel drive system for unsurpassed control and capability. Selec-Terrain electronically co-ordinates and optimises up to 12 systems including the ESC, electronic brake controller and powertrain controller.
Jeep Active Drive II
The Cherokee will be able to be specified with Jeep Active Drive II later this year (on the Limited automatic version only). This features a two-speed Power Transfer Unit with torque management and low range. In 4-Low mode, the front and rear drive shafts are locked for low-speed power. Low range gives a 2.92:1 gear reduction for enhanced climbing of steep slopes.
Jeep Active Drive II works in conjunction with the Selec-Terrain system to ensure that the wheels with the most grip get the most power. It manages this by monitoring the engine, transmission and ESC and modifying torque distribution to enable the Cherokee to have peerless off-road ability. Jeep Active Drive II also includes Hill Descent Control.
All Cherokees have been engineered with off-road performance in mind but the Trailhawk model is the most focused over non-sealed surfaces. It features a ‘Trail Rated’ badge which indicates that it’s been designed to perform in various challenging off-road conditions. The categories it must excel in are traction, ground clearance, manoeuvrability, articulation and water fording. The Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk boasts an approach angle of 29.8 degrees, a departure angle of 32.1 degrees and breakover angle of 23.3 degrees. Its ground clearance is 22cm.
Jeep Active Drive Lock
For extreme off-road conditions, the Trailhawk version also only has Active Drive Lock which adds Rock mode to the Selec-Terrain system allowing the car to tackle even tougher obstacles, 4WD Low for precise throttle and speed control, and an electronic rear axle lock for improved traction.
An exclusive feature to this class of car, the Selec-Speed Control on Trailhawk only, combines Hill Descent Control and Hill Ascent Control. This employs the ESC system to control engine torque and brake pressure to allow the Trailhawk to climb and descend steep gradients with minimal driver input. The purpose is to enable the driver to focus on steering and navigating difficult off-road terrain. It is activated by a button on the Selec-Terrain switch. Drivers can even adjust the speed the vehicle travels at from 1 to 5mph.
The braked towing capacity of the 138bhp 2.0-litre turbo diesel with front-wheel drive is 1800kg; the 138bhp with four-wheel drive can pull up to 1600kg; and the 168bhp 4×4 automatic is a best-in-class 2475kg.
SAFETY: MORE THAN 70 FEATURES
The new Jeep Cherokee isn’t just a safe pair of hands when it comes to driving off road, it is safe whatever the conditions. The Cherokee has already been awarded five stars by the prestigious EuroNCAP organisation and was rated best-in-class for 2013 in the ‘Small Offroad 4×4’ category with a score of 83 per cent.
The Cherokee’s success at providing excellent passenger protection comes from having safety engineered into it from the ground up. Its new Compact US Wide (CUS-wide) architecture employs 65 per cent high-strength steel. On top of that there are more than 70 active and passive safety features, some of them firsts in this class of car.
Forward Collision Warning with Crash Mitigation
This system employs radar and video sensors to monitor the gap to vehicles or large obstacles in front. If it detects the Cherokee approaching something in its path too quickly it activates the brakes and warns the driver to enable them to avoid, or reduce the effects of, any impact.
Parallel/Perpendicular Park Assist
Using ultra-sonic parking sensors, this class-leading option finds parking spaces that will accommodate the Cherokee. It then helps the driver reverse into them. It works for car park-style perpendicular parking and on-street parallel parking manoeuvres. The system controls the steering angle, the driver, the gear position, brake and accelerator. The system is only available on Limited automatic versions (Active-Drive I and Active-Drive II). Information about the manoeuvre and where the car is in relation to other vehicles is displayed on the TFT screen in the instrument cluster with a 1941 Willys Jeep graphic on either side of the open parking space. ParkSense is operated by buttons on the steering wheel.
The Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop&Go (ACC)
Pre-setting a cruising speed means that the driver can relax in the knowledge that should the Cherokee start closing on another vehicle in the same lane, the cruise control will automatically decrease its speed. If the vehicle in front speeds up or moves out of the way, the ACC will accelerate again. The driver can adjust the distance between the Cherokee and the vehicle in front making ACC versatile and a real safety benefit, particularly when driving in poor weather or reduced visibility.
LaneSense Lane Departure Warning
This employs a camera-based vision sensor to establish the Cherokee’s position on the road. If the car starts to drift out of its lane with no turn signal activation, there’s a visual warning and small amount of torque on the steering wheel. There’s a secondary visual warning if the system senses the driver unintentionally drifting too far.
Blind Spot Monitoring
By using dual ultra-wideband radar sensors the Cherokee can help change lanes safely, notifying the driver if there’s anything in their blind spot. Notification is via illuminated icons in the door mirror and a selectable chime.
Rear Cross Path (RCP) detection
By taking parking sensors a step further, RCP warns drivers backing out of parking spaces of traffic moving towards their vehicle. It’s activated when reverse is selected and notifies the driver by illuminated icons in the door mirror plus a selectable chime.
Seven airbags as standard
In addition to these innovative features, the Jeep Cherokee comes with seven airbags as standard. These include front seat multi-stage airbags, side bags, window bags and driver’s side knee airbags. Included is Occupant Restraint Controller (ORC) which determines whether a crash warrants airbag deployment and whether primary or secondary stage inflation should be implemented. The ORC also determines whether the curtain and thorax airbags should deploy in side impacts. As well as airbags there are adaptive front seats belts with active load limiters designed to prevent excessive chest loading in an impact.
Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is also standard, as is Electronic Rollover Mitigation which uses the same sensors as the ESC to detect a possible rollover situation and does its best to prevent it. The ABS anti-lock brake system is also standard and it features rough-road detection. Vibrations from driving on a rough surface cause oscillations in the wheel speed signals. The ABS computer knows the car is on a rough surface so the braking is calibrated differently, holding brake pressure for longer pulses to improve stopping ability.
On the road (OTR) pricing for the new Jeep Cherokee is as follows:
|Cherokee 2.0 Longitude 140 6 Speed Manual FWD||£25,495|
|Cherokee 2.0 Longitude 140 6 Speed Manual 4X4||£27,495|
|Cherokee 2.0 Longitude 170 9 Speed Automatic 4X4||£29,995|
|Cherokee 2.0 Longitude Plus 140 6 Speed Manual FWD||£27,695|
|Cherokee 2.0 Longitude Plus 140 6 Speed 4X4||£29,695|
|Cherokee 2.0 Longitude Plus 170 9 Speed Automatic 4X4||£32,195|
|Cherokee 2.0 Limited 140 6 Speed Manual FWD||£31,195|
|Cherokee 2.0 Limited 140 6 Speed Manual 4X4||£33,195|
|Cherokee 2.0 Limited 170 9 Speed Automatic 4X4||£35,695|