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Jeep Cherokee review

Jeep's new product offensive begins with an all-new Cherokee, now on sale in Ireland.

Shane O' Donoghue

Words: Shane O' Donoghue - @Shane_O_D

Published on: September 26, 2014

Words: Shane O' Donoghue - @Shane_O_D

Published on: September 26, 2014

Tech Specs

Model testedJeep Cherokee Limited 2.0 140 manual 4x2
Pricingstarts at €36,000, €43,150 as tested
Engine2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel
Transmissionsix-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Body stylefive-door SUV
RivalsAudi Q5, BMW X3, Volvo XC60
CO2 emissions139g/km (Band B2, €280 per annum)
Combined consumption5.3 litres/100kms (53.3mpg)
Top speed187km/h
0-100km/h10.9 seconds
Power140hp at 3,750rpm
Torque350Nm at 1,500rpm

Overall rating: 4/5

Jeep's distinctive new Cherokee SUV has arrived on sale in Ireland, starting at €36,000 with a five-year warranty. It comes in two well-specified trim levels and the all-diesel line-up features front- and four-wheel drive options, as well as a nine-speed automatic. Can it really compete with the established premium brands and get Jeep back in the game on the Irish market?

In the metal 4/5

Some won't like the appearance of the new Jeep Cherokee, but it's certainly interesting to look at. I'm a fan, though the headlamp layout is a little unusual. The 'waterfall' grille is highly distinctive and the design continues to be interesting along the sides thanks to a trapezoidal shape to the wheelarches and sharp creases. The rear end is just as unique. Nobody will ever use the word 'bland' to describe the look of this SUV - and that's just fine in our book.

All test cars were in high-spec Limited trim so the interiors were swathed in lovely high-quality leather and a larger touchscreen infotainment system is fitted. In this guise the cabin easily stands up to comparison with the premium brands, though the design of the lower centre console gets a but fussy if the extra controls for the four-wheel drive system are added in. Space in all five seats is good and there's a decent boot, which, incidentally, is 77 litres larger on the front-wheel drive Cherokee (at 591 litres) than the all-wheel drive model's.

Driving it 4/5

Our first test of the Cherokee on Irish roads was in a 4x4 version powered by the 175hp diesel engine and paired with the nine-speed automatic transmission. It was quite disappointing, mostly due to high gearing (or a high final ratio) that made the car feel sluggish when exiting junctions etc. A short off-road course at Mondello didn't cause any issues for the all-wheel drive system, which has several modes of operation depending on conditions.

Thankfully, the car most Irish buyers are likely to go for - the front-wheel drive model with a six-speed manual gearbox and the 140hp diesel unit - is far more satisfying to drive. It doesn't feel short on performance, and while the engine is a little gruff under pressure it settles down to a distant thrum at a cruise. The gearchange is satisfyingly slick and the car in general drives well. The steering wheel seems a little too sloped forward for my liking, and the steering itself is a little long-winded, but it suits the car's relaxed gait. It majors on comfort in terms of absorbing road imperfections, yet isn't all at sea in the corners. Jeep has found a good balance of control and comfort here.

What you get for your money 3.5/5

Jeep Ireland will market two versions of the Cherokee. The entry-level Longitude car comes with dual-zone climate control, parking sensors, a five-inch touchscreen infotainment system and seven airbags amongst other things. The Cherokee Limited is loaded with equipment though, featuring larger alloy wheels, leather upholstery, a larger touchscreen system and plenty more.

Prices start at €36,000 for the Cherokee Longitude with the 2.0-litre 140hp engine, front-wheel drive and a six-speed manual gearbox. It's €3,500 extra to add four-wheel drive to that model and the cheapest automatic option is €43,750, as it must be had with the more powerful engine and four-wheel drive. The Cherokee Limited starts at €43,150 and rises to €50,900.

Worth Noting

This is only the beginning of what could be a real resurgence of Jeep in Ireland. Next up will be the compact Jeep Renegade, which is even more suited to the market right now, but in between those two will be an as yet to be revealed 'C-SUV'. Jeep may need more than the seven dealers it has nationwide to cope with sales of these.

Summary

At the international launch of the Jeep Cherokee a lot of emphasis was placed on the brand's off-road roots, which we felt was not quite in keeping with the mind-set of the new car buyer in Ireland right now. Now that the car has arrived here, it seems more suited to the market than initially expected. It makes a lot of sense at the low end of the range, where it feels like a good-value alternative to the established premium brands.



Tech Specs

Model testedJeep Cherokee Limited 2.0 140 manual 4x2
Pricingstarts at €36,000, €43,150 as tested
Engine2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel
Transmissionsix-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Body stylefive-door SUV
RivalsAudi Q5, BMW X3, Volvo XC60
CO2 emissions139g/km (Band B2, €280 per annum)
Combined consumption5.3 litres/100kms (53.3mpg)
Top speed187km/h
0-100km/h10.9 seconds
Power140hp at 3,750rpm
Torque350Nm at 1,500rpm