Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk

Goes where few crossovers can

"2014 Jeep Cherokee fits in both crossover and SUV segments"

"The crossover that is appealing to new hangers-on"

"Well built, utterly comfortable, drives very well and looks great" said Issam

"Among the most powerful vehicles in the compact crossover segment"

The weekends spent with our test vehicle, which was a 4X4 this time, was off the hook. I collected the 2014 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk from Gargour Automotive, official distributor of Jeep in Lebanon, and kicked off on a splendid journey!

Exterior
The midsize 2014 Jeep Cherokee SUV debuts a new exterior designed for the future with a global appeal. Jeep designers were inspired to create a vehicle that moves Jeep into the next era with a shape that is efficient without losing Jeep DNA and design heritage. The all new 2014 Jeep Cherokee is a vehicle that not only looks efficient and capable, but is efficient and capable both on road, off-road and in all weather conditions. Fluid, sleek exterior lines highlight the efficient, wind-splitting upper body of the all new Cherokee. The rugged, protective lower body conveys the legendary capability that is characteristic of every Jeep.

The 2014 Jeep Cherokee has a powerful stance, an aggressive wheel-to-body proportion and a commanding road presence. A key element in the front of the new Jeep Cherokee is the 'waterfall' hood with the iconic peaked, seven-slotted grille which includes a crisp, horizontal snap - a feature found in many classic Jeep vehicles. The hood is clearly defined and separated from the front fenders in a modern interpretation of the brand's design heritage. Advanced LED lighting technology enhances the unique proportions of the front, boasting daytime running lamps (DRL) and available Xenon headlights.

Interior
The interior of the all new 2014 Jeep Cherokee is modern, inviting and comfortable. A sophisticated, refined design, hand-sculpted forms, signature Jeep design cues, high quality materials, precision craftsmanship and attention to detail raise the bar in the midsize SUV segment. A driver-oriented cockpit loaded with easy to use, useful technology, clever, thoughtful storage features and more than 70 available safety and security features including seven standard air bags (multistage front seat air bags, side bags, window bags, driver's side knee air bag), give the driver and passengers everything they want for any adventure they undertake.

Drivetrain
All of the models of the new Jeep Cherokee range that will be available in the Middle East feature the 948TE nine speed automatic gearbox, a segment first, ensuring exceptionally smooth shifts, an extremely wide gear ratio range for optimized acceleration, reduced emissions and improved fuel efficiency. The new transmission also delivers aggressive launches and smooth power delivery at highway speeds.

The new 3.2 liter Pentastar V6 is the first derivative of the 3.6 liter Pentastar V6 (named one of Ward's 10 Best Engines three years running), and benefits from the same innovations that earned its larger displacement predecessor industry-wide praise for its efficiency, power and refinement. This contributes to a pleasing driving experience with reduced noise, vibrations and harshness (NVH) and an outstanding balance of higher specific power output (84.2 hp per liter). The 3.2 liter Pentastar V6 engine produces 271 hp, 316 Nm of torque and delivers best-in-class V6 towing of 2,041 kg.

The 2.4 liter Tigershark is the third Chrysler Group engine to feature MultiAir technology and boasts the second generation MultiAir2 system that further enhances combustion control, improves efficiency and reduces exhaust emissions. The 2.4 liter MultiAir2 Tigershark I-4 engine produces 184 hp and 234 Nm of torque and offers a driving range of more than 800 km on a tank of gasoline.

Trailhawk's features and equipment
The all new 2014 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk model exemplifies Jeep 4x4 capability with a distinctive, aggressive look, backed up by Jeep Trail Rated hardware, for the most capable Jeep Cherokee model and the most capable midsize SUV in the segment.

The Trailhawk includes, as standard equipment, aggressive approach and departure angles, complements of the unique front and rear fascias, one inch (25.4 mm) factory lift, Jeep Active Drive Lock with locking rear differential, skid plates and signature red tow hooks. The locking rear differential is selectable in any low range terrain mode, but will lock automatically when in certain modes, such as "Rock," to maximize tractive effort at the tire patch that can support it.

The Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk boasts an approach angle of 29.8 degrees, a departure angle of 32.1 degrees and break over angle of 23.3 degrees. Running ground clearance is 8.7 inches (220.98 mm).

The all new 2014 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk model with the standard off-road package is Trail Rated. The "Trail Rated" badge on the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk indicates that the vehicle is designed to perform in a variety of challenging off-road conditions identified by five key consumer-oriented performance categories: traction, ground clearance, maneuverability, articulation and water fording.

Verdict
As much as I enjoyed the Trailhawk, especially when I reached Kornet el Sawda, the highest peak in Lebanon (3000 meters above sea level), it would be hard for me to endorse the Trailhawk to someone who won't use it off-road; there are basically other more affordable crossovers. For the adventurers, however, it's a vital option because there is no other capable, multipurpose vehicle at this size and price.

But why would adventurers pick the Trailhawk over the Wrangler?

In terms of pricing, the Cherokee 4 cylinder is priced a bit expensive versus the competition. It cannot be compared to the Evoque, like many said. The outgoing Land Rover Freelander 2 was the exact match perhaps. The 6 cylinder Trailhawk cannot be compared to any other engine as many crossovers don't have the 6 cylinders option. The new X-Trail is likely the bordering rival. For now, the Cherokee is taking a discrete niche that other automakers will attempt to compete in.  

Rivals: Nissan X-Trail, Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, Ford Escape, Subaru Forester
Pros: Roomy, welcoming interior, comfortable, 4x4 system capable, new look
Cons: nimble steering on off-road
One word: overpass

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