Here is a Jeep that has been forgotten. Yes, this Jeep is on sale in Malaysia and has been in showrooms for some time. This Jeep is shadowed by its legendary siblings, the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee. This is the Cherokee Trailhawk.
This Jeep is fronted by a seven-slot Jeep ‘Waterfall’ grille, which is part of the sculptured bonnet. There’s the usual gently rising high SUV waistline and the side doors are also deeply sculptured. The sides feature the signature Jeep trapezoidal wheel arches. The rear is highlighted by the contemporary full LED tail lamps, which are an integral part of the rear backlight graphic, making the vehicle look stronger yet harmonious. This shape is the connection between the upper and lower rear as an interlocking graphic statement that brings a unique presence specific to this new Cherokee. At the rear a hefty tailgate gives access to a 412-litre boot which also has an additional 70 litres of space under the load floor.
Inside the Cherokee you will find Jeep’s usual high level of standard equipment. The build quality and the feel of the materials are top notch, and the layout of the instruments and controls are very inviting and have noting in common with its European rivals such as the BMW X3, Audi Q5 and Range Rover Evoque. Premium materials abound wherever the passengers touch the vehicle, the door uppers, the center armrest and the upper instrument panel. Throughout the cabin, customers will find interior trim that is soft to the touch and pleasing to the eye. A vinyl-wrapped, stitched instrument panel brow is standard on all models and the stitching carries over to the center console armrest and front door armrests.
The high-line fascia with its leather-look stitched vinyl trim looks well padded and has a chunky appearance. So do the seats, with large bolsters which provide good support, and there’s a thick leather-trimmed steering wheel.
Functionality is a main characteristic of this Trailhawks interior, where plenty of thoughtful, clever storage features can be found. A refined, covered, top bin is located above the center stack on top of the instrument panel for secured storage of small items. The front-passenger seat folds flat and offers hidden, in-seat storage by flipping up the passenger seat cushion.
Much emphasis is now placed on safety features and these include seven airbags, rollover mitigation, ABS with off-road function, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-path detection.
Driving In The City
This 4×4 legend is under Fiat’s control and improved in most ways with an excellent new 2.4L engine.
Crucially, the on-road handling has been vastly improved over previous models thanks to an independent front suspension and multi-link rear set-up which, in conjunction with the passenger car platform, works really very well, even with the large polished 18-inch wheels.
The power steering is now electronically controlled giving sharper response although it feels heavy and the feedback is still lacking. Whilst it’s more comfortable to travel in, the new Cherokee still feels on the lazy side for handling — more cruiser than bruiser. Much emphasis has been placed on reducing noise intrusion into the vehicle with better insulation and the use of acoustic glass; that this has succeeded is very noticeable. “
On our day to day drive the suspension easily mopped up the impacts of the worst of the ever dug up Petaling Jaya roads. The numerous potholes and uneven surfaces thrown up at us during our test drive was easily taken in by the long travel suspension. The chassis articulation on this Jeep is impressive.
So refined is the Cherokee’s powertrain that road noise from the big wheels and tyres seems more noticeable; the entry-level Limited version also has appreciably stiffer suspension than the quieter Overland’s smoother adjustable air system.
Off-road, the ability to increase the Cherokee’s ground clearance proved useful and easily done and although the power came in easily and abundantly I thought the hill descent actuation was not very smooth on its own and better achieved with a gentle application of brakes as well.
4×4 systems and ‘Go anywhere’ Jeep capability
The new Jeep Cherokee takes the legendary Jeep 4×4 capability to the next level and offers the advantages of an all-weather, all-terrain vehicle. The new generation of the Jeep mid-size SUV provides a choice of three innovative 4×4 systems for best-in-class 4×4 capability in all driving conditions: the single-speed, fully automatic Jeep® Active Drive I, the two-speed Jeep® Active Drive II featuring torque management and low range and the Jeep® Active Drive Lock including all features of the Jeep active Drive II and adding a locking rear differential and Selec-Speed Control.
High Level Of Cabin Equipment
An available Wireless Charging Pad is concealed in the upper tray of the central armrest and it enables wireless charging of any smartphone that is QI wireless charging capable. To charge a device customers can simply place it where a mechanical docking station affords secure storage.
Filling the gauge cluster in front of the driver is the world-class thin-film transistor (TFT) 7-inch full-color, premium multiview display featuring a reconfigurable function that enables the drivers to enjoy a customized user experience and receive information and vehicle feedback in the format they prefer, while keeping their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
The easy-to-use instrument cluster displays the basic information a driver needs at his or her fingertips but also allows the driver to add as much or as little information they desire. The system is intuitive and can be arranged for a variety of views. Additionally, the four corners of the display can be customized to show information at a glance, including current fuel economy, outside temperature, time and compass direction.
Most Malaysians tend to have the ‘herd’ mentality when it comes to buying cars. Which means…..they follow the rest of the ‘herd’. If the herd likes Mercedes….then only Mercedes is considered. When some of the herd broke away from the pack and wnet to an Audi showroom, we saw more from the herd breaking away to get an Audi in the past few years.
For Jeep, the heard is still in packs moving around the German, Swedish and Japanese luxury SUV’s. They are afraid to move towards the Americans……so Jeep in Malaysia will have to keep calling the herd day in day out to separate some of the pack leaders and get them into a Jeep.