Detroit Motor Show - Late last year we brought you some pictures of Jeep’s facelifted Cherokee, but at the time we had little information as to what was happening under the skin. Now the mid-sized SUV has been fully revealed at the Detroit Motor Show, and we have some more mechanical detail to offer.
Aside from a less polarising front end, which ditches the outgoing model’s unusual split headlight setup in favour of more conventional one-piece clusters, the new Cherokee also gets a lighter aluminium bonnet and composite tailgate, a new dual pane panoramic sunroof, five new wheel designs and a cleaner rear end designed to be more in line with the smaller Compass and bigger Grand Cherokee.
Under the hood you’ll still find the same naturally aspirated 2.4 and 3.2-litre engine options, but both have been fettled for improved fuel consumption. A new engine also makes its way into the range, in the form of a two-litre turbopetrol similar to that found in Alfa’s Stelvio SUV. We’re waiting for official comment from Fiat Chrysler SA on exact outputs, but expect it to match closely the Stelvio’s 206kW and 400Nm.
All engines are mated to Jeep’s nine-speed auto gearbox, but there’s a choice of three separate all or four-wheel drive systems depending on derivative.
Jeep’s new Active Drive I system is a simple all-wheel drive setup which automatically divvies drive to each wheel without intervention from a driver.
Active Drive II is a recalibrated version of the existing four-wheel drive system in Cherokees, with a proper transfer case and low range gearing. Models equipped with this version also get an extra 25mm of ground clearance.
The third system, called Active Drive Lock, comes standard in the range-topping Trailhawk and is basically the same as Active Drive II but adds a rear differential lock. The new Trailhawk also gains specific red tow hooks, wider fender flares and a new 17 inch wheel design of its own.
All three systems come standard with Jeep’s Selec-Terrain traction control system, which allows the driver to choose between five drive modes for Auto, Snow, Sport, Sand/Mud and Rock.
Changes inside are modest but buyers will now have a choice of 17.8cm or 21.3cm touchscreen infotainment systems. Each is compatible with Android Auto and Apple Carplay, but only the top tier unit comes with navigation. A slight redesign of the centre console makes more space for smartphones and another USB port has been added for rear seat passengers.
Fiat Chrysler SA confirms that the new Cherokee is planned for local launch sometime in the third quarter of 2018, but it’s too early to say which models or specifications are destined for our market.