Jeep: 2014 Cherokee Trailhawk review

Jeep: 2014 Cherokee Trailhawk review

That grille and the menacing eyes simply scare difficult terrain out of the way. Underpinning the seriousness of Jeep’s commitment to dominating the road less paved, you can wade through water up to 508mm deep due to additional electrical and body seals plus a high air intake, there’s 224mm of ground clearance, the approach angle is almost 30 degrees, the departure angle is 32 degrees and the ramp breakover angle is almost 23 degrees.

Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk 2014 frontWhile this doesn’t approach the ridge-scaling capabilities of a Land Rover Defender, the Jeep is essentially a luxury car whereas a Defender is an expensive way to vibrate your internal organs and send yourself deaf.

The Trailhawk is ‘trail-rated’ which means that it has completed the Rubicon Trail and that is no mean feat. It has protective skid plates, signature red tow hooks front and rear, and a locking differential. There are five traction modes (Selec-Terrain) to Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk 2014 rear quartercover off sand/mud, snow, rock, sports driving and regular driving – similar to a Range Rover. There’s a low ratio and hill descent mode.

While I wouldn’t say that the Jeep is ‘at home’ in the city, it’s certainly more manageable than a Toyota Land Cruiser Prado. It has a reversing camera and sensors for parking, and keyless entry/start. If you add the Technology Group package ($3000) then you can have blind spot monitoring, forward collision mitigation, lane departure warning and parking assistance (both parallel and perpendicular).

The standard safety features are 7 airbags plus the electronic stability programme (ABS, traction control, electronic brakeforce distribution and emergency brake assist).

Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk 2014 dashboardThe interior features are what you would expect in a car of this price: an apps-based multimedia system gives you sat nav on an 8.4-inch in-dash touchscreen, Bluetooth phone and audio integration, iPod/SD card inputs, etc. There’s a separate 7-inch colour display in the instrument cluster which gives a wealth of information about the vehicle such as tyre pressures, trip computer and oil temperature.

There is plenty of legroom for all occupants and the heated seats are comfortable. The front passenger seat folds forward to reveal a useful cubby hole for hiding valuables or keeping something like a first aid kit. The seats are beautifully stitched in red with Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk 2014 front interiorTrailhawk emblazoned on them. Rear seats move forward and backwards 150mm to vary the legroom. You can fold the rear seats flat with ease to open up a loading area of over 500 litres.

For summer, you’ll welcome the cup holders which will accept 1.5-litre bottles. The glovebox is quite large and there are pockets and recesses for other items like maps and tablets – there’s even an optional wireless charging pad.

Jeep has raised the game by putting a 9-speed transmission in the Cherokee with four overdrive ratios to help with efficiency and noise reduction. You can shift cogs yourself, or you can leave it to the Cherokee which has over 40 individual shift maps for specific conditions.

The gears are driven by a 3.2-litre 200kW V6 engine with 316Nm of twisting power. This gives quite spritely performance when you need it, but don’t expect frugality in the fuel consumption department: 13.9l/100km is the official figure. In terms of on-road handling it’ll mix it with any of the other SUVs, but it’s still an SUV and not a car – there’s body roll evident.

The Trailhawk is priced at $65,990 which is five to ten grand more than some of the obvious competitors (top-of-the-range Mazda CX5, Holden Captiva, Toyota RAV4), and four grand less than the most expensive Nissan Pathfinder. Most of those will struggle to match the Jeep for its off-road ability. If you want the more rugged off-road experience then a Land Rover Defender is a similar price, but if you want luxury off-road, then the Cherokee fares very well at a third of the price of some of BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Range Rover’s offerings while giving you the confidence that you can get to at least the same places.

Price: $65,990


  • Off-road hero
  • Plenty of luxury features
  • Lots of room


  • Thirsty

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