1 Mar 2008
JEEP released the third-generation Cherokee in early 2008. Dubbed the KK, it replaces the 2001-vintage KJ series, with an all-new body and interior, sitting on a significantly modified ladder-frame chassis that is now wider and longer in track and wheelbase than before.
There is now a new four-wheel drive system, while big steps have been taken in the name of safety, strength and refinement, backed up by a roomier and more refined interior, as well as higher levels of standard and optional equipment.
Under the skin the KK Cherokee is closely related to the recently released Dodge Nitro.
Two Jeep models are available – with prices commencing at $39,990 for the Sport and $45,990 for the Limited – while a pair of carryover engines is fitted to Australian-bound Cherokees.
The first is the 3.7-litre single-overhead cam petrol V6 that delivers 151kW of power at 5200rpm and 314Nm of torque at 4000rpm.
This engine is only available with a four-speed automatic gearbox.
For even better economy, there is the 2.8-litre double overhead cam 16-valve common-rail turbo-diesel four-cylinder unit featuring a VGT Variable Geometry Turbo-charger shared with the Wrangler. This aids its 160kW power maximum at 3800rpm, while the 460Nm torque top happens at 2100rpm.
Mercedes also supplies the five-speed automatic gearbox in the diesel. It has a sequential shift function.
The new 4WD system is called Selec-Trac II, which uses a console-mounted switch to electronically shift between three modes – 2WD, 4WD Auto and 4WD Low – with a pushpin button present to shift into Neutral if desired.
Standard on both models, it is an on-demand set-up with technology that anticipates and prevents wheel slip before it occurs.
Normal 2WD sends 100 per cent of torque to the rear wheels.
In 4WD Auto vehicle sensors adjust and redirect torque between the front and rear axles based upon real-time driving conditions.
Drivers can also select 4WD Low in scenarios such as steep grades, rough terrain or over poor traction surfaces. Jeep says that this second speed gear multiplies engine torque 2.72 times and locks the clutch pack for maximum traction.
Underpinning all this is a wheelbase that is 45mm longer than before, straddled by a uniframe body that is actually 3mm shorter.
The new independent front suspension features short and long-arm coil springs and an anti-roll bar for what Jeep refers to as an optimum combination of ride, handling and steering feel.
Meanwhile, an all-new five-link rear suspension set-up features upper and lower trailing links and a track bar, to provide lateral stiffness for greater responsiveness.