First, there’s no ignoring the looks; there’s nothing square or traditional about the new model. This means there won’t be any fence-sitting when it comes to liking the styling or not.
I couldn’t find a single person who thought the car was good looking, but it grows on you.
But it is a Jeep – and a 3.2 litre Limited AWD – that comes in at R563 990. That means it can literally go anywhere you would want to take a mid-size SUV with your family inside.
The new Cherokee comes with a choice of two innovative four-wheel drive systems: Jeep Active Drive I and Jeep Active Drive Lock.
Jeep Active Drive I features a fully automatic, single power transfer unit. It delivers seamless operation in and out of four-wheel drive at any speed.
Jeep Active Drive Lock features a locking rear differential for superior low-speed power delivery, along with Jeep’s renowned Selec-Terrain traction control system with four modes.
On-road driving is taken care of by decent road suspension and an all-new nine-speed automatic gearbox.
The interior is vastly improved over the old. Even if it isn’t quite in Audi territory yet, it offers much and there is plenty of space.
Some South Africans might not like the Cherokee’s 3.2 litre V6 pe-
trol engine as range topper. This Pentastar-derived powerplant is powerful at 200kW of power and 315Nm of torque and gives decent go on the road.
But don’t expect to average less than 12 litres per 100km, despite what Jeep SA claims.
We are a turbodiesel SUV country and I’m sure a turbodiesel will make its way here at some stage in this SUV’s life cycle.
Safety is top class. Standard safety features on the new Jeep Cherokee consist of seven standard airbags (front seat multistage air bags, side bags, window bags, driver side knee air bag), ESC (Electronic Stability Control) with rollover mitigation and ABS with off-road calibration.
The complete offering of safety features available – either as standard or optional – includes new systems, such as the innovative Forward Collision Warning with Crash Mitigation, ParkSense Parallel and Perpendicular Park Assist, among others.
At almost R600 000, the Jeep Cherokee competes in a segment where Land Cruiser, Land Rover and even Subaru play.
This makes choosing it a tough decision.
> Vehicle: Jeep Cherokee 3.2 Limited
> Engine: 3.2 litre V6, naturally aspirated
> Gearbox: Nine-speed automatic
> Power: 213kW at 6 500rpm
> Torque: 315Nm at 4 300rpm
> Fuel: 12.0 litres per 100km on test
> Pricing: R563 990