Chrysler South Africa has confirmed that the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk will be coming to SA.
While the new Jeep Cherokee, which broke cover recently, is undoubtedly designed to compete with vehicles such as the RAV4, Sportage and Santa Fe, Jeep hasn’t neglected its hardcore fanbase completely. The company has announced that a tough-as-nails version of the Cherokee will go on sale alongside its softer siblings. Called the Trailhawk, this premium Cherokee will apparently boast all the off-road ability that the brand is known for. According to Jeep it will be the most capable SUV in its class. And, needless to say, it will sport Jeep’s famous “Trail Rated” badge.
So what will make the Trailhawk so capable?
Firstly, it will boast ground clearance of 221mm, thanks to a factory-fitted lift of 25mm. The other Cherokee versions will have clearance of around 196mm. It will also sport a set of chunky all-terrain tyres, skid plates and red tow hooks. Approach, departure and break-over angles will be 29,8 degrees, 32,1 degrees and 23,3 degrees respectively. The rear axle will have a Jeep Active Drive Lock with locking rear differential. The locking rear differential will be selectable in any low-range terrain mode, but will lock automatically when in certain modes, such as “Rock,” to maximise tractive effort at the tyre patch that can support it.
And what sort of powerplant will drive the wheels? At the moment, two engines have been announced, both petrol mills. The first is the 2,4-litre Tigershark MultiAir 2 I-4 engine that will offer 135 kW of power and 231 Nm of torque. The second engine is the new 3,2-litre Pentastar V6 engine, which will generate 202 kW and 323 Nm of torque. Both engines will be mated to a nine-speed automatic gearbox.
It is important to realise that the new Cherokee will in essence be a crossover utility vehicle, since it will be based on the same underpinnings as the Dodge Dart. The Trailhawk will be a little different, though. To be sure, it will still be a soft-roader, but it will undoubtedly boast an impressive amount of off-road ability for its segment. With any luck, it will be able to attract those looking for a funky and fresh SUV, while still retaining Jeep’s off-road credibility.
According to Chrysler South Africa, the Trailhawk, as well as the other Cherokee models, will arrive in South Africa early in 2014. For now, it seems as if the Trailhawk might be the only 4×4 version to go on sale in our market, though there is a possibility that another all-wheel-drive model (though without low range) will be made available.