New Cherokee should be a Jeep sales trailblazer

MOTORISTS looking for something completely different for their next new car need look no further than the latest Jeep Cherokee which certainly lives up to the company’s description of it as being born to be noticed writes Bryan Longworth.

Saturday, 2nd August 2014, 6:00 am

For the new Cherokee has more rounded styling especially the iconic bent seven slotted grille which is now far more prominent and in your face which potential customers will either love or hate but I believe the striking styling will attract many more new customers to the marque.

And while the new Cherokee is not an outright mud plugging off-roader it is still a very good performer off the road as the new Jeep demonstrated on a tough off-road course in the Cotswolds that included driving through a river and along steep muddy and rocky wooded tracks.

New Cherokee is aimed at the mid size SUV segment that includes formidable rivals like the Land Rover Freelander and BMW X3 and is available with petrol and diesel engines with prices ranging from £25,495 to £35,695.

It is also available with two and four wheel drive but one of the most popular models is likely to be a four wheel drive diesel powered model which I drove on the off-road course that was rather bizarrely a left hand drive Italian registered Cherokee which led to some curious admirers assuming I was an Italian tourist who had driven all the way from Italy to see the Cotswold holiday hotspots!

This car was also fitted with the new nine speed automatic gearbox that is ideal for driving both on and off road and it has been designed to improve fuel efficiency enhance performance and reduce exhaust emissions.

The new Cherokee from Jeep which is now part of the Fiat empire incorporates some components from Fiat and Alfa Romeo and while there are no low ratio gears the car is a really good performer in quite tough off-road conditions.

On the road the Cherokee had the best driving qualities of any Jeep which will significantly add to its all round appeal and as mentioned earlier the new Cherokee can tackle really tough conditions and had no problems when driving through a river with over a foot of fast flowing water and capably climbed a muddy and steep river bank back to dry land.

There is a quality roomy and comfortable interior which has taken cues from its Grand Cherokee stablemate with the rear seat folding and reclining as well as sliding backwards and forwards to maximise either leg room or boot space.

Despite the off-road capabilities of new Cherokee the vast majority of customers will buy the vehicle for on-road motoring and they will not be disappointed because it offers a high standard of comfort and handling plus a commanding view of the road ahead.

Jeep say that when designing new Cherokee they were mindful that they were recreating a legend true to the Jeep brand and DNA which they have achieved because the new model has big appeal especially for those owners who want something different from the competition.

There is no doubt that new Cherokee will help to boost the Jeep sales figures in the UK which are now very encouraging again following the Fiat takeover after the rather ill fated Daimler Chrysler venture.

Fact File

Model: New Jeep Cherokee.

Engines: Petrol and diesel.

Drive: Four and two wheel drive.

Transmissions: Manual and nine speed automatic.

Prices: From £25,495 to £35,695.

On sale: Now.