Jeep Cherokee 2.0 Longitude 140 6 Speed Manual 4X4
Radical new look is a bold but successful move from Jeep
- Rakish looks are a bold design statement
- Generous standard specification
- Off-road ability remains excellent
- A much improved on-road driving experience
- Cabin quality still falls short in some areas
- European rivals offer a more established choice of SUVs
- Some minor switchgear can be fiddly to operate
- Initial run of full-on 4x4 variant is petrol only
It might boast one the most iconic and recognizable badges in automotive history, but American brand Jeep has often struggled to make serious inroads in the UK market. With this latest generation Cherokee, Jeep hopes the quality and dynamic improvements are enough to finally challenge its Euro rivals head on.
The most obvious difference between the new Cherokee and the old model is the change in the exterior appearance. This is no subtle design tweak, either. A more rakish look has been adopted across the Jeep brand, but its most obvious on the Cherokee.
This latest generation Cherokee also sits on a new platform, which has been adopted to deliver a more refined and polished on-road experience - something past models lacks.
The end result is a bold looking and pleasing to drive mid-size SUV, powered by a handful of modern diesel engines. And while Jeep is the latest firm to offer a city-friendly front-wheel drive model, it 4x4 range boasts increasing levels of sophistication to ensure any off-roading adventure doesn't end in tears.
Crucially, Jeep has made important strides in terms of cabin quality, with this Cherokee coming close to challenging the best models from Europe. While equipment levels are generous, it's the greater attention to detail regarding trim and materials selection that should impress potential buyers the most.
Our verdict on the Jeep Cherokee 2.0 Longitude 140 6 Speed Manual 4X4
There's no mistaking the fact that Jeep is attempting to make a bold statement with its latest Cherokee. For the most part the act has paid off, as the car rides, drives and performs considerably better than its predecessor. Jeep has also (almost) banished past cabin quality issues, as this car comes very close to premium European model standards.
While you wouldn't expect Cherokee running costs to match that of a family hatchback, improvements in diesel engine technology has resulted in useful gains at the pumps and in the wallet. Furthermore, the Cherokee's generous level of standard kit should mean less time spent browsing the options list in the showroom.
Space and practicality
The Cherokee makes good use of its size, offering decent room front and rear plus a large boot. The optional full-length sunroof helps to increase the amount of light in the cabin. There are plenty of storage areas throughout, helping to make maximum use of the space, while the boot can be configured in a number of ways to accommodate a mix of large loads and passengers.
Controls and display
Having struggled in the past to match the slick experience offered by European rivals, this Cherokee boasts a more polished and intuitive set of controls and displays. The focal point is the central infotainment system, which delivers a clear and easy to use experience. Minor controls are well placed, while the main dials are clear and offer a wealth of useful information.
Boasting a more refined and upmarket cabin, this Cherokee does a good job of insulating occupants from road, engine and wind noise. The wide cabin also ensures plenty of personal space, while the seats deliver a much welcome supportive roll.
All Cherokee models come with an approved alarm and immobiliser system as standard, which should prove more than sufficient for warding off thieves.
This latest Cherokee is easily on a par with its European rivals, what with a generous number of airbags plus a comprehensive list of electronic stability and traction aids. Don't forget that in 4x4 guise the Cherokee boasts extra grip for use in all weathers, and can add greater stability when towing.
A new direction for Jeep is a front-drive Cherokee for the leisure market. Purists might frown but for city dwellers this should better balance performance with economy. For everyone else, the all-wheel drive Cherokee offers ample off-road ability, boasts refined and willing diesel engines and displays much improved road manners over its predecessor.
Family car appeal
Jeep is pitching this Cherokee as a versatile family wagon, and it's easy to see why. The SUV has the size and practicality to suit family duties, especially with the high seating position and optional high specification audio system. The easy-folding seats are a useful feature too, while boot space is generous and its towing capabilities are considerable.
First car appeal
Being a little too large and expensive to appeal to a new driver, the Cherokee is not really for the inexperienced and its off-road ability is unlikely to be needed by someone new to motoring.
Quality and image
Jeep is pitching the Cherokee at premium rivals, and unlike in the past its efforts should prove more successful. It's not quite up to European standards in some areas but the gap is been closed considerably. From a performance perspective the Jeep brand remains a strong one in the eyes of enthusiasts.
With large doors front and rear, climbing aboard the Cherokee is relatively easy despite the car's raised ride height, although very small adults and children may find the seats a little high. The boot is also easy to gain access to.
Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)
The standard fit audio system is a single CD/tuner with MP3 compatibility accessed via a central touchscreen. The navigation package brings a welcome added dimension and proves relatively simple to use.
Colours and trim
The Cherokee's bold exterior works best in a bright colour, but somber hues are also flattering. Inside, light colours help to increase the feeling of space. Despite the use of leather on selected variants, some of the cabin feels less than premium in quality than it could.
Despite its size, the Cherokee is relatively easy to park thanks to plenty of assistance from the powered steering. Parking sensors are also fitted as standard, which is a useful extra feature along with a rear view camera on selected variants.
Reduced size spare wheel mounted underneath the boot floor.
Diesel engine options - 2.0-litre (140bhp, 170bhp). Transmission options: six-speed manual gearbox, nine-speed automatic gearbox. Trim level: Longitude, Longitude Plus, Limited.
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