7 March 2014

Trying out the new Cherokee at Geneva

I don't usually get a chance to drive a car at a Motor Show, but was offered just such an opportunity at Geneva 2014, writes Brian Byrne.

It was the new Jeep Cherokee, which will be in Ireland in a few months, and though the experience was on a made-up 'Territory' on the back lot of a local Jeep dealer, it did show off very well the capabilities of the car.

This is new territory for Jeep also, as the car is built on a new platform developed by Fiat and Chrysler jointly, and which also underpins the Alfa Romeo Giulietta and the Dodge Dart.

The square look of the previous car is also gone, and the new Cherokee is a sleek and sophisticated car that looks as well in a high-end shopping area as it probably does in the wilderness.

The Americans are reportedly jealous that they can't have the diesel version that goes on sale soon in Europe. In two power outputs, the 2.0 MultiJet unit comes with 140hp for the 6-speed automatic and 170hp with the 9-speed automatic.

It will be available in both FWD and AWD variants, and obviously if you have off-road need, the latter will be the one to go for. There's another with low range gearbox for really tough territory, and a Trailhawk version with locking differential.

Visually the car carries traditional Jeep cues, in particular a modernised version of the grille. The 'slit eyes' lights follow from the latest Grand Cherokee, and may be an acquired taste for some. The interior is smart, sophisticated, and with very clear instrumentation.

This is no road test, so I won't go into detail. But the pictures show some of the tests the new Jeep Cherokee was given under my hands.

Pics: Andrea Mazzon.