Updated Cherokee for 2018 push

A new look, fresh equipment and carry-over engines seem likely to arrive with the refreshed Jeep Cherokee

AN updated Jeep Cherokee will be here around mid-year, but potentially without one core change that goes into its home market.

Local distributor Ateco New Zealand is present shying from comment on reports that Australasia is presently exempt from receiving the additional new powertrain that was announced for the mid-life refreshed car during its debut at the Detroit motor show.

When asked about this, chief executive David Smitherman offered that details about this market’s specification will be provided closer to launch, the timing of which is not specified.

The new powertrain is a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder  petrol that, with maximum outputs of 201kW and 400Nm, is even gruntier than the 3.2-litre Pentastar that is expected to continue, with 1kW and 74Nm more.

It features a twin-scroll turbocharger, direct injection and a cooled exhaust gas recirculation system, while fuel economy is helped with the addition of engine stop-start technology.

Also set to carry-over, according to reports from Australia – which by and large shares a common line-up – is the current car’s 130kW/232Nm 2.4-litre Tigershark engine.

Smitherman says his Auckland-based operation is excited about the refreshed line.

“We have had considerable success with Cherokee … with many Kiwis embracing all Cherokee has to offer.

“The Cherokee update is part of the entire Jeep range product action in 2018 that starts with the all-new Compass and includes Grand Cherokee, Renegade and Wrangler.

“We are very excited about 2018 and believe it will be a very strong year for Jeep.”

The Cherokee is identified by taking a resculpted front end, with fresh lights, and has a new tailgate and a bigger boot.

Available on Latitude trims and above, the new lights have superior beam control than the previous model and are designed to have a much wider range, for safer night time driving. Fog lights are now available in LED for the first time and allow for a more cohesive front end look when they are used simultaneously with the headlights, Jeep says.

The boot area has been reshaped, to become 8.5cm wider and slightly more commodious. The boot opening also benefits from this and is larger than before to ease loading and unloading of cargo.

The tailgate is rendered from a composite and lightweight material so becomes nine kilos lighter. The car’s bonnet is also now made of aluminium. Jeep says these actions, plus the weight saving – even the lamps are lighter – and an enhanced suspension setup help shed around 90kg from the model.

The interior has also been reworked. There’s a re-sculpted centre console, piano black and satin chrome trim elements, and the latest Uconnect multimedia interface systems, which offers a larger screen and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, handsfree call or text, sat-nav and real-time information.

FCA also refined the algorithms in the software and made menus easier to access, improved response times, and made reactions to inputs much less laggy.

A multitude of advanced driver assistance systems will be available in the Cherokee, including adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, electronic stability control, electronic roll mitigation, blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert and parallel/perpendicular park assistant.

All-wheel-drive variants adopt a recalibrated Active Drive system which includes a low-range transfer case and reduced crawl ratios, while the Trailhawk variant – the red vehicle pictured today - adopts a rear differential lock.