Jeep: Jeep Cherokee 2.8 CRD 2008 Review

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The Jeep name has always been synonymous with tough ‘ready to go anywhere and bring anything back’ practicality which was borne of a military need.

Even the name Jeep (in part) stems from military slang for ‘untested vehicle’ though many believe the Just Enough Essential Parts acronym which it earnt during the Korean war for its spartan design is a more accurate tag.

With the new Cherokee, Jeep seeks to combine luxury car-like cruising attributes with the proven off-road ability that the marque is famous for.

The diesel engine gave us a Johnny Depp-style surprise by being both American and refined. Not very much clatter usually associated with diesels here at all, just a smooth sounding four-pot that growls when pushed hard like a crabby co-worker, pre-morning coffee.

The distance you have to push the accelerator pedal down to get any meaningful thrust is long (think ‘Mariana Trench’), the torque on offer really propels the Jeep forward like a kick up the bum from ‘Texas Ranger’ Norris himself.

The 2.8 litre engine really punches above its weight in terms of performance, surging the Cherokee forward on a crushing tide of 460Nm of torque which is available from 2000rpm. This torque helps the Jeep achieve a towing capacity of up to 2270kg.

Chrysler quotes official fuel consumption as 12.2L/100km for the urban cycle, and 9.4L/100km for the combined cycle. During our time with it we registered 10.1L/100km (combined) over 250km.

The interior of the Cherokee while not as enjoyable as the Playboy Mansion is a nice place to be with options like full leather seats and MyGIG stereo system that features a 20 gigabyte hard drive, USB connectivity and DVD player providing comfort and entertainment on long journeys.

There are some problems with the interior however, namely the lack of space in the passenger and driver footwells – caused by a wide transmission tunnel – and the lack of adjustability with the steering wheel which doesn’t adjust for reach. The shortage of foot room makes the driving experience slightly uncomfortable, more so for tall people. The back seat itself is comfortable (if a little slippery on the twisty roads) but legroom could be a problem if there are tall people front and back.

Interior plastics and surfaces are a step up from the usual U.S ‘TV dinner tray’ fare, but you won’t get Euro-class fit and finish at this price point in almost any SUV

Being made for the North American market the handbrake is on the wrong side of the centre console. This goes for the layout of the shifter as well.

The big news with the Cherokee however is the optional two-way fabric roof that can open either forwards or backwards allowing all passengers, front, rear or both to enjoy open top motoring. It is a great feature, but more for those interested in star gazing than those who want to be seen.

Cargo space in the Cherokee is 419L with the rear seats up and 1404L when folded down.  The rear seats fold to create a flat floor and feature several cargo hooks in the floor and the back of the seats which is quite useful for tying down loose loads.

The automatic tailgate window can be opened independently of the tailgate which is handy for putting the shopping in or for long loads and is activated by a button on the key fob, or a separate button to the right of the numberplate light.

Ride comfort is good on smooth roads, which is probably down to the unitary chassis and coil springs all-round, though there is some skittishness over potholes which is as unexpected as finding out Mr T’s favourite colour is pink -. Not what you really expect from a tough American icon.

Four wheel-drive is selectable on the move with both high and low ranges available on the five-speed auto, though our test route only saw the Cherokee traverse wet gravel roads which it had no problems with. Hill descent and hill holding features are standard.

A colleague did have the opportunity to sample the Cherokee off-road recently and said it was a spankingly good 4WD.

The Cherokee has parking sensors but no reversing camera which is odd given the 6.5-inch screen in the dash and the fact that many 4WDs feature reversing cameras these days.

All the normal luxury stuff that you get for $56,990 is there including air-conditioning, cruise control and electrically adjustable heated seats.

Like Chuck Norris’ acting the Cherokee isn’t perfect, but it makes up for its short-comings of a cramped interior with optional extras like the retracting roof and excellent sound system which do help to make the package more appealing as does the torquey and tough diesel engine.

Click through to the next page for full specs on the Jeep Cherokee.

Price: from $46,990. Price as tested $56,990 (Limited option) excluding extras.

What we like

  • Huge torque
  • Awesome stereo

What we don’t like

  • Cramped footwell
  • Interior engineered for the U.S market

POWERTRAIN
3.7L V6 3700
2.8L CRD I-4 2768

Horsepower (kW@rpm)
3.7L V6 151 @ 5200
2.8L CRD I-4 130 @ 3800

Torque (Nm @ rpm)
3.7L V6 314 @ 4000
2.8L CRD I-4 460 @ 2000 (Automatic)

3.7L V6 Sequential multipoint electronic fuel injection
2.8L CRD I-4 Direct-injection, common rail (1600 bar)

2.8L I-4 CRD
Transmission 5-speed automatic with overdrive, electronic govenor, electronically controlled converter clutch Std.

3.7L V6
4-speed automatic with overdrive and lockup torque converter;
electronically controlled Std.

FOUR-WHEEL-DRIVE SYSTEM (transfer case)
Selec-Trac® II MP3022 Active full-time; 2-speed with 2WD and 4WD auto high range, low range (2.72:1) and neutral, variable with 35/65 front/rear default torque split, electronically controlled clutch pack coupling in centre differential and open front and rear differentials Std.

CAPACITIES/WEIGHTS(kg unless otherwise specified)
Fuel Tank (L)
3.7L V6 73.8
2.8L CRD I-4 70.0

Base Curb Weight (kg)3.7L V6 1935
2.8L CRD I-4 1985

Max Cargo Weight (kg) 590

Maximum Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (kg)
3.7L V6 2540
2.8L CRD I-4 2520

Towing Capacity (without/with load-levelling device)1600kg/2270kg
Tongue Load Limit (without/with load-levelling device) 160kg/227kg

BODY/SUSPENSION/CHASSIS
Body Design
UniFrame construction: All-steel body sheet metal and frame structural members welded and bonded into a single unit Std.

BODY/SUSPENSION/CHASSIS
Front Suspension: Independent short/long arm (SLAnm) with cast-iron lower and forged steel upper A-shaped control arms, coil springs, stabiliser bar; low-pressure gas-charged shock absorbers; 1247 kg gross axle weight rating
Rear: Five-link solid axle with tubular track bar, upper and lower trailing control arms, coil springs, stabiliser bar, low-pressure gas-charged shock absorbers; 1451 kg gross axle weight rating

Steering Power-assisted, rack-and-pinion
Overall Ratio 17.4:1
Turns (lock-to-lock) 3.4
Turning Diameter (m) curb-to-curb 10.8

Brake System
Power-assisted; ventilated disc brakes; 302 mm rotor diameter Front Power-assisted; solid disc brakes; 316 mm rotor diameter Rear Electronic Stability Program (ESP)
Four-channel, four-wheel antilock with active wheel-speed, vehicle-speed, steering-wheel angle, yaw-rate, and lateral-acceleration sensors, vehicle stability management with two-stage activation switch, all-speed traction control, Brake Lock Differentials, Brake Assist, Electronic Roll Mitigation (ERM), Hill Start Assist and Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) Std. Hill Descent Control Std.

INTERIOR DIMENSIONS(mm unless otherwise specified)
Head Room, front/rear 1024/1027
Leg Room, front/rear 1036/982
Shoulder Room, front/rear 1449/1436
Hip Room, front/rear 1338/1229
Cargo Volume (L), rear seat up/folded 419/1404
Seating Capacity, front/rear 2/3 Adults

EXTERIOR DIMENSIONS (mm unless otherwise specified)
Length Wheelbase 2694
Overall Length 4493
Overhang, front/rear 744/1055
Width Body Width 1839
Track, front/rear 1549/1549
Height with/without roof rack side rails 1797/1736
Ground Clearance, (at base curb weight) front/rear 189/196
Water Fording (at 8km/h) 483
Approach Angle(2)/Departure Angle 38.2º/30º
Breakover Angle 21.7º

Words Ben Dillon, photos Darren Cottingham

News: Volkswagen CC to go on sale this year but not in New Zealand

Volkswagen Passat CC fq2

To kick off the market launch of the Passat-based CC, Volkswagen of America has debuted a CC Gold Coast edition at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The CC Gold Coast highlights the luxury sports coupe with powerful performance, strong lines and luxury touches combining the emotional and expressive stance of a sports coupe with the convenience of a luxury sedan.

The unmistakable Volkswagen front-end, with two cross-struts and a centrally placed Volkswagen logo between trapezoidal headlamps is highlighted by the ground effects on the CC Gold Coast. A high-end tri-coat paint, DuPont’s Pepe Pepper, features a rich mix of gold, brown and silver tones that compliment the cars design characteristics.

The rear end of the four-door coupe-style CC is also marked by large-surface dual taillights that produce an unmistakable visual image day and night. A spoiler with additional rear-end ground effects helps further enhance the vehicle’s sporty nature. The CC Gold Coast sits on 19 inch propeller style wheels, which provide a combination of sharp style and improved curb appeal.

Volkswagen’s attention to detail is shown off in the interior of the CC Gold Coast with four ergonomically formed sport seats wrapped in luxurious leather, a combination of Latte Macchiatto, Cornsilk with Bronze Piping on the seats with matching accents on the dash and door trim.

The CC Gold Coast edition features the 3.6L TFSI, rated at 280 horsepower and 360Nm of torque, with the innovative DSG double-clutch 6-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic, yet another example of the car’s dual nature. The DSG system not only offers the driver the advantage of choosing between fully automatic operation or full manual selection, DSG also changes gears more quickly and smoothly than a conventional transmission, while improving fuel economy.

The CC will be released in the U.S. market in the fourth quarter of 2008, with a starting price under $27,000 (NZ$38,000).

There are no plans as yet to bring the CC to New Zealand.

News: Peugeot RC concept to be named at Paris could see production

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The ‘RC¦’ whose full name will be revealed at the Paris Motor Show, is a hybrid concept car created by Peugeot’s stylists and engineers.

It is a ‘GT’ coupe which provides the missing link between the RC and concept cars revealed in 2002 and the 908 RC, one of the stars of the 2006 Paris Motor Show. It’s a working laboratory of many future ideas and brings together numerous stylistic, engineering and technological ideas all in a single vehicle.

The ‘RC¦’ is also an accessible and versatile car, with four doors, four seats and highly innovative hybrid architecture.

Its aim: a very high level of efficiency both in terms of performance (with its potential maximum power output of 313 bhp) and minimal impact on the environment (CO2 emissions of 109 g/km in the combined cycle or ZERO in electric mode).

It is an exciting, eco-efficient vehicle which has all the characteristics that also ensure great driving enjoyment; a synthesis of ideas which demonstrates that respect for the environment and driving pleasure can be compatible.

News: Jamie Lee Curtis has a moment of Honda Clarity

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The first Honda FCX Clarity customers have taken delivery of their zero emission cars in California. Up to 200 customers will begin leasing the fuel cell vehicles in the United States and Japan over the next three years.

Film director Ron Yerxa was the first customer to get the keys to an FCX Clarity, followed by actress Jamie Lee Curtis and her husband, Christopher Guest.

“I really wasn’t expecting it to be so luxurious,” said Curtis. “I love the interior layout, design and access to controls. It is user friendly and very modern.”

The FCX Clarity is Honda’s next generation, hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle. Driven by an electric motor that runs on electricity generated by a fuel cell, the car’s only emissions are heat and water. Its fuel efficiency is three times that of a modern petrol engine.

News: Bosch and Samsung join forces in the hunt for Li-ion battery supremacy

As the rush by automakers to hedge their bets on how cars will be powered in the future (biofuel, electric or fuel-cell?) intensifies, two unlikely contenders have joined forces and thrown their hat into the Lithium-Ion ring.

In June 2008, German car parts manufacturer Bosch and Korean giant Samsung signed an agreement to form a fifty-fifty joint venture to develop, manufacture, and sell lithium-ion batteries for automotive applications.

All the relevant authorities have now given their approval for the joint venture.

The company will be known as “SB LiMotive Co. Ltd.”. Operations are expected to start in September 2008.

The objective is to series-manufacture highly efficient lithium-ion batteries customized to automotive requirements and to market them worldwide from 2011.

Blogs: Jeep Cherokee makes me drive like Kevin Spacey

American cars tend to pander to the more solidly built motorist. Wide, height adjustable seats and big doors are a couple of the things, but there’s more. In the Jeep Cherokee that’s in the Car and SUV carpark today, you’ll experience the seat sliding back as you turn off the engine so that you can manoeuvre an oversized ab out of it more easily. Some cars (but not the Cherokee) even raise the steering wheel. Now, this is nothing new – it’s been on cars for decades (American cars, that is).
The Jeep may cater for oversized torsos, but it doesn’t like people with big feet or long legs as the footwell is severely compromised by (possibly) the low ratio transfer case. I feel like I’m driving how Kevin Spacey walks in The Usual Suspects. And it’s worse on the passenger side.
It also has quite a high boot floor because of the spare wheel and a hidden storage compartment.
Other than that, there’s the excellent MyGIG personal entertainment system, and plenty of torque from the diesel, which equates to plenty of towing capacity (2270kg on a load-levelled trailer). Thing is, even if you had the best sounds in the world pumping through the punchy stereo, would you really want to tow something that far with the uncomfortable driving position?

News: Cadillac displays new SRX Crossover at Pebble Beach

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Cadillac has provided a special sneak preview of the next-generation SRX Crossover, a 2010 model that will launch worldwide in mid-to-late 2009. Cadillac says that the all-new SRX, unveiled at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, in Monterey, California, will “bring a more dynamic alternative to the heart of the luxury crossover segment, featuring a fresh iteration of Cadillac’s signature design language”.

The all-new SRX will debut at major global motorshows later this year, at which time complete details will be released. The 2010 model will replace the current SRX Crossover, which launched in 2004 as a key component of Cadillac’s ongoing product renaissance and global expansion. This next-generation crossover is similar in styling and proportion to Cadillac’s Provoq Concept that made its UK debut at the British International Motorshow in July 2008.

The all-new production model is being developed to achieve excellent driving dynamics and wet-weather traction, with an elegantly modern cabin designed to accommodate five passengers and ample luggage.

News: Collaboration between Aston Martin and Chinese artist Qin Yufen

aston-martin-art

Aston Martin Chief Executive Officer Dr Ulrich Bez, Aston Martin China Chief Executive Officer Kenny Chen and the artist Qin Yufen have unveiled Beijing 008 at the city’s Today Art Museum in Beijing’s Chaoyang district. This interesting art installation celebrates the arrival of Aston Martin in China through a mix of traditional craft, iconographic imagery and sculpture.

Qin Yufen’s artwork is a remarkable installation that brings together Chinese handicraft skills, theoretical physics and the striking form of Aston Martin’s V8 Vantage.

Born in 1954, Qin Yufen lives and works in Beijing and Berlin. Her work explores the intersection between art, nature and technology, using natural materials, flowing fabrics and traditional processes to highlight the beauty of natural forms and their technological equivalents. Working closely with the Today Art Museum, its director Zhang Zikang and Senior Independent Curator Huang Du, Qin Yufen based the installation upon Professor Stephen Hawking’s statement that ‘disorder increases with time because we measure time in the direction in which disorder increases’.

The resulting structure embraces history, time, culture and speed. A giant tape measure, built from steel and wood and carefully covered in hundreds of hexagons of yellow-dyed silk, symbolises the importance of eternal standards. Within the measure itself, a 2.4m high structure, the artist has illuminated Hawking’s quote using bright yellow neon. The measure is set on a vast carpet, imprinted with the distinctive radial city map of Beijing, signifying the earth, while high above, in the Today Art Museum’s cavernous main gallery, fly a swarm of kites, a traditional symbol of the city. Each kite has been painstakingly made by hand, depicting the evolution of form from bird into sports car. Finally, the piece is completed by a sculpture of Professor Hawking himself.

Mixing Qin Yufen’s own cross-cultural background with the industrial found objects that feature so prominently in her work, Beijing 008 is a deliberately ambiguous work of art. As the artist states, Hawking’s quote operates on a number of levels, but for her it represented the ‘essentially mysterious nature’ of the 21st century. Every element of the structure – save for the V8 Vantage – was constructed at the artist’s own studio in Beijing or at nearby workshops.

The show was officially opened by Dr Ulrich Bez, Kenny Chen, Qin Yufen and Zhang Zikang in front of a crowd of 800 friends of the gallery and of Aston Martin China. Beijing 008 was on show at the Today Art Museum, and coincided with the spectacular opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games, held at the city’s new National Stadium, the ‘Bird’s Nest’.

The collaboration between Aston Martin and the Today Art Museum came at a critical time in China’s modern history, and marked the symbolic unification of East and West, as well as the arrival of a highly respected automotive brand into significant new markets and a globally respected gallery that has extensive experience of cultivating innovation.

Aston Martin Chief Executive Officer Dr Ulrich Bez, Aston Martin China Chief Executive Officer Kenny Chen and the artist Qin Yufen have unveiled Beijing 008 at the city’s Today Art Museum in Beijing’s Chaoyang district. This interesting art installation celebrates the arrival of Aston Martin in China through a mix of traditional craft, iconographic imagery and sculpture.

Qin Yufen’s artwork is a remarkable installation that brings together Chinese handicraft skills, theoretical physics and the striking form of Aston Martin’s V8 Vantage.

Born in 1954, Qin Yufen lives and works in Beijing and Berlin. Her work explores the intersection between art, nature and technology, using natural materials, flowing fabrics and traditional processes to highlight the beauty of natural forms and their technological equivalents. Working closely with the Today Art Museum, its director Zhang Zikang and Senior Independent Curator Huang Du, Qin Yufen based the installation upon Professor Stephen Hawking’s statement that ‘disorder increases with time because we measure time in the direction in which disorder increases’.

The resulting structure embraces history, time, culture and speed. A giant tape measure, built from steel and wood and carefully covered in hundreds of hexagons of yellow-dyed silk, symbolises the importance of eternal standards. Within the measure itself, a 2.4m high structure, the artist has illuminated Hawking’s quote using bright yellow neon. The measure is set on a vast carpet, imprinted with the distinctive radial city map of Beijing, signifying the earth, while high above, in the Today Art Museum’s cavernous main gallery, fly a swarm of kites, a traditional symbol of the city. Each kite has been painstakingly made by hand, depicting the evolution of form from bird into sports car. Finally, the piece is completed by a sculpture of Professor Hawking himself.

Mixing Qin Yufen’s own cross-cultural background with the industrial found objects that feature so prominently in her work, Beijing 008 is a deliberately ambiguous work of art. As the artist states, Hawking’s quote operates on a number of levels, but for her it represented the ‘essentially mysterious nature’ of the 21st century. Every element of the structure – save for the V8 Vantage – was constructed at the artist’s own studio in Beijing or at nearby workshops.

The show was officially opened by Dr Ulrich Bez, Kenny Chen, Qin Yufen and Zhang Zikang in front of a crowd of 800 friends of the gallery and of Aston Martin China. Beijing 008 was on show at the Today Art Museum, and coincided with the spectacular opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games, held at the city’s new National Stadium, the ‘Bird’s Nest’.

The collaboration between Aston Martin and the Today Art Museum came at a critical time in China’s modern history, and marked the symbolic unification of East and West, as well as the arrival of a highly respected automotive brand into significant new markets and a globally respected gallery that has extensive experience of cultivating innovation.