namibia Adventure Safari JEEP CHEROKEE 2.8 CRD LIMITED
The Jeep Cherokee is a very capable compact SUV. It is spacious, rugged and boasts all sorts of off-road bells and whistles. It is, in short, the sort of compact SUV that John Rambo would drive
Contemplate the following hypothetical scenario for a second. John Rambo is out shopping for a new vehicle. Like most shoppers, he’s looking for something that will suit his lifestyle. Consequently, his new vehicle needs to be spacious and highly capable off road. It also needs to reflect his personality, which is why he wants something with a certain macho quality. Finally, it has to be American – he is a patriot, after all.
For John, there is only one brand: Jeep. But what model should he buy? He has a look at the Patriot and the Compass, and although he likes their styling, he finds that these vehicles are a bit too road focused for his liking. He wants something that can go very far off road.
As you probably suspect, he loves the Wrangler. It is great in 4×4 conditions and makes the sort of lifestyle statement he’s after. The problem, however, is that it doesn’t provide enough luggage space. There’s no way he would be able to squeeze a rocket launcher, a shotgun, a hunting rifle and two hand guns into the luggage compartment.
Next, he spots the Grand Cherokee, and slides in behind the steering wheel. He loves it, but the Grand is a bit outside his price bracket.
Just as he is about to walk out of the dealership, he sees the Cherokee, and decides to give it a look.
It’s a compact SUV, but it has more than enough luggage space. He also knows that it’ll be able to go off road, since it sports decent ground clearance and low-range gearing. The available engines offer more than enough power. There’s a 3,7-litre petrol powerplant that a churns out a hefty 151 kW of power and 314 Nm of torque, and a 2,8-litre oilburner that generates 147 kW and 460 Nm of torque. Overall, John likes what he sees – and decides to buy the Cherokee.
Has he made the right decision? Absolutely!
If you’re looking for a competent compact SUV that can go the off-road mile, the Cherokee is a great bet. The two engine types offer loads of power and torque, and are mated to a very good gearbox. The vehicle also has the dimensions and features of a proper off-roader. In addition to low-range gearing, it has good ground clearance and short overhangs that make crawling over rocks a simple task. And unlike many other compact SUVs and crossovers, the Cherokee has factory-fitted skid plates that protect its mechanical bits.
Another important advantage that Jeep’s SUV has over many competitors is its large fuel tank. Many compact SUVs have fuel tanks that are a bit small for long overland expeditions. The Cherokee has one that can hold 70 litres, which means the diesel version can travel around 700km on one tank – a handy capability when you’re travelling through a place such as the Kaokoveld.
The first Cherokee – the SJ – made its appearance in 1971. It was a very different animal from the one we know today. It was a full-size SUV that was very reminiscent of the Wagoneer, but had only two doors. A four-door version was eventually released in 1977.
The XJ Cherokee appeared in 1984 and stayed in production, pretty much unchanged, until 2001. A few interior and exterior styling updates were made in 1997, but the basic shape remained the same.
In 2002, the Cherokee was discontinued and replaced by the Liberty. Outside of the US, however, the Cherokee name remained, which is why we know the Liberty as the Cherokee here in SA.
The first generation had a more-rounded shape, and was in production from 2002 to 2007. The current generation was released in 2008.
At the time of its initial launch, the new Cherokee (Liberty) was Jeep’s most city-friendly vehicle, though the Patriot and Compass have now usurped this role. For people in search of a compact SUV that offers a perfect compromise between a nippy runabout and a competent off-roader, the Cherokee remains an excellent choice.
Trivia: Hoping to increase sales, Jeep decided to launch a two-wheel-drive version of the XJ Cherokee in 1985. But this wasn’t the first time that a two-wheel-drive Jeep was made available. A 2WD Wagoneer was sold until 1967.
JEEP CHEROKEE 2.8 CRD LIMITED
Engine: 2,8-litre common-rail diesel
Power: 147 kW @ 3600 r/min
Torque: 460 Nm @ 1600 r/min
Gearbox: Five-speed automatic
4WD: Full-time system with 2WD High, 4WD Auto and 4WD Low