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New Cherokee adopts classic Jeep looks. Image by Eric Gallina.

New Cherokee adopts classic Jeep looks
Redesigned Jeep Cherokee sports sharper styling and new chassis targets.
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Newer articles featuring 2008 Jeep Cherokee

2008-09-05: Let's off road

Amidst storm clouds and pouring rain, DaimlerChrysler's fabled off-road brand launched a refreshed version of its mid-range Cherokee at the 2007 New York Auto Show. The Jeep Cherokee (nee Liberty in the US) has been completely redesigned for the 2008 model year, harkening back to the chiselled design of its ancestor.

Underpinned by the same platform as the forthcoming Dodge Nitro, the new Cherokee resembles a smaller version of its Commander sibling, with upright styling and redesigned front and rear fascias. While retaining the characteristic Jeep seven-slot grille and trapezoidal wheel arches, the front-end incorporates new headlamps and classic dash-to-axle proportions, while the bolt upright boot and tail lamps bear a distinct similarity to those fitted to the Commander.

A 3.7-litre single-cam V6 engine - producing 210bhp at 5200rpm and 235lb.ft of torque at 4000rpm - has been carried over from the previous iteration, but the new model boasts an all-new independent front suspension and a new five-link rear suspension to control the solid rear axle. In this regard, the Cherokee is claimed to be a more pleasurable road companion, with increased levels of refinement. Stopping power is provided by vented 302mm front and 312mm solid rear discs.

The Jeep brand has a huge following amongst keen off-road enthusiasts and the new model sports the same 'trail-rated' ability as its forebear. Two four-wheel drive systems are offered: a part-time Command-Trac system and a new full-time, Selec-Trac II. An electronic stability program, hill descent control and hill start assist are all offered as standard equipment.

Inside, the Cherokee boasts increases cabin space over the outgoing model. Thanks to a wheelbase that is 51mm longer than the outgoing model, rear seat legroom is claimed to have increased by 38mm. Material quality of the slab-sided instrument panel does not appear to have improved though, with plastics feeling rather dated and sub-par. An optional 'Sky Slider' full open canvas roof - built by convertible top manufacturer ASC - adds an airy aspect to the cabin.

In the US, Liberty models are offered in both Sport and Limited trim with a six-speed manual standard fare in the Sport, and a four-speed automatic transmission fitted to the Limited. Remote start, rain-sensing wipers, memory seats and mirrors, and express up/down windows have been added to the list of features and options. No doubt the European version will continue to offer good value for money when it arrives.

Eric Gallina - 21 Apr 2007

2007 Jeep Liberty. Image by Eric Gallina.2007 Jeep Liberty. Image by Eric Gallina.2007 Jeep Liberty. Image by Eric Gallina.2007 Jeep Liberty. Image by Eric Gallina.2007 Jeep Liberty. Image by Eric Gallina.

2007 Jeep Liberty. Image by Eric Gallina.2007 Jeep Liberty. Image by Jeep.2007 Jeep Liberty. Image by Jeep.2007 Jeep Liberty. Image by Jeep.2007 Jeep Liberty. Image by Jeep.    - Jeep road tests
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