Lots have been said about the new Jeep Cherokee when it was released so the nagging question going through my mind when I picked up the keys to the Cherokee Longitude was will it live up to hype.
I’m going to start with the outside as the looks seem to be the most polarising thing about this car and after a week it comes across as one of those cars that people like the looks or they don’t like them there seems to be no middle ground.
The only thing faintly remnant about previous models Cherokee’s is the seven slat grille, the front end is an usual design fog lights at the bottom of the front bar, above that is the headlights at the top where you would normally expect the headlights are the parkers which double as DRL’s as well.
Stepping inside and looks like Jeep has tried to make the Cherokee look very much like it’s bigger Grand Cherokee sibling which is a good thing as the interior is rather nice indeed.
There is an abundance stitched leather across the dash giving it an up market look and feel, the leather bound steering wheel is comfortable to hold and the prefect thickness for me, it also has buttons for the cruise control and audio system.
The instrument panel is a nice mix of new and old with LCD screen flanked by an analogue speedo and tacho. You can access various vehicle functions including the trip metre, tyre pressure monitors, oil temp, transmission temp, distance to empty and many more functions via easy to use buttons on the steering wheel.
The steering column has height and reach adjustment so it is easy to find your perfect driving position.
The dash is highlighted by bronze accents which adds to the ambiance in the cabin and is something I really like and it also gives the added bonus of no reflective surfaces for the sun to reflect off like it does which chrome finishes.
The controls are well set out and easy to use, the centre stack is home to the 8.4 inch colour touch screen for the UConnect multimedia system and if you are familiar with my other Jeep reviews you will know how much of a fan of this system I am.
It offers full Bluetooth connectivity, live audio streaming from your phone, USB input and voice recognition. This system is extremely user friendly, the Bluetooth system is the quickest out of all the cars I’ve reviewed to connect to your phone. The only system that slightly edges it out for easy of use would be Holden’s Mylink system.
But the UConnect system makes up for that with it’s sound as it’s one of the best sounding factory system I’ve sampled my music library ranges from thrash metal to classical and every track I play sounds great on this system.
The cloth seats are very comfortable and offer a decent amount of support and would be perfect on a long drive, the drivers features electric adjustment as well as a 4 way adjustable lumbar support.
Rear legroom was great my kids never complained once to whole time, Boot space was adequate and the rear seats do fold flat for those lager items.
Under the bonnet the Cherokee differs from most others in its class by being powered by a 3.2L V6 the Pentastar V6 pushes out 200kW and 316Nm or torque which means it has plenty of power.
The Cherokee is a fairly decent performer and its V6 is tractable and will easily to keep up with traffic, on the highway it will just effortlessly cruise’s along at freeway speeds.
The downside to this though is that it can be a bit thirsty, the week I spent running around in peak hour traffic I averaged 14.2L/100km on the freeway it got down to 10L/100km.
The V6 is backed by Jeep new 9 speed automatic transmission which it has introduced across the Cherokee range. The shifts were smooth but I did find at times that it was prone to down shift a gear or two as soon as it got a whiff on any sort of incline.
It also has a sport shift which I found extremely frustrating to use just in fact it would never change gears when I wanted to rather than when I wanted it, so basically I found it easier to just leave it in drive and let the car do it.
On the road the Cherokee has got to be one of the best riding SUV’s on the market, I found the ride exceptionally compliant absorbing all the bumps and imperfections and transmitting very little into the cabin.
I had several people comment during the week on how well it rode and how comfortable it was to ride in.
The Steering was direct and light enough to make parking easy even in tight shopping centre car parks.
This model did also come with Jeeps awesome 4×4 system complete with the Selec-Terrain® traction control system which has 4 settings for Auto, Snow, Sport, Sand/Mud, but unfortunately it was one of those busy weeks and I didn’t really get to time test them out. (As I go to press with this review I’ve just tested the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk where I did test out the 4×4 system so please check back in a week or so for that review.)
Safety wise the Cherokee has received a 5 star ANCAP rating so as you would expect it is full of safety features including, ESC, Electronic Roll Mitigation, 10 standard air bags, reverse sensors and it scores bonus points for having a rear view camera.
So after a week I came away more then impressed with the Cherokee, I think Jeep have done an awesome job with this car. The fit and finish and quality of materials was spot on the ride was unbelievably smooth and compliant. It has a great amount of features including, Uconnect Voice Command with Bluetooth, Dual Zone Control Climate Control, Rain Sensitive Windscreen Wipers, Automatic Headlights, Parkview Rear Back-Up Camera, Rear Park Assist, Jeep® Active Drive I – All wheel drive (AWD) system and Select-Terrain.
The only downside I got was I thought the fuel economy could be a touch better but I did not was drive it for economy and it’s polarising looks.
So if you’re looking for a midsize SUV that offers great safety, a smooth and compliant ride and will take places others can’t thanks to Jeeps 4×4 system then you would be mad not to put the Jeep Cherokee on your list.
For full details on the Jeep Cherokee range check out their website www.jeep.com.au also don’t forget to check back in a few weeks for my full review on the Cherokee TrailHawk.