Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk
By Tim Barnes-Clay, Motoring Journalist
www.carwriteups.co.uk Twitter: @carwriteups
Ever fancied burning across a desert in a proper Jeep? It’s always appealed to me, and very fortunately I got the chance to do just that recently.
Jeep flew me with two other British journalists to Morocco so we could sample the 2015 Cherokee Trailhawk. But this was no ordinary cushy event for the media – it was a few days of hard-core driving across the Agafay desert and High Atlas Mountains. Looking back, it’s one of the best experiences of my career.
The North African region’s rocky terrain is marked by bizarre fissures and curves, while concealed canyons stand out against the backdrop of the mountainous vista. Nothing about the place appears to make much sense – except to the new Cherokee.
The robust Trailhawk comes with a powerful 3.2-litre V6 268bhp petrol engine and a nine-speed automatic gearbox. This makes it the perfect vehicle for an adventure in the wilderness. Just turn the car’s Selec-Terrain dial to ‘sand’ mode and the Jeep Active Drive Lock does the rest.
Any seemingly impossible barriers to progress are soon dealt with by the SUV’s exclusive ‘Rock’ mode. And when the trail gets even harder, ‘4WD-Low’ can be chosen. This engages the low range gears and exploits the rear differential lock. The end result is that nothing stands in your way.
Even sheer uphill and downhill inclines can be sorted out. By activating Selec Speed Control, the pre-set pace can be held, leaving you to concentrate on nothing other than the steering; the Cherokee does the rest.
Out of the desert, the Jeep’s on-tarmac capabilities are just as inspiring, as I found out on the roads carved into the Atlas Mountains. Praise has to go to the Cherokee Trailhawk’s independent suspensions; and once any crater-like potholes disappear from under the wheels, the rear axle disengages and switches to front wheel drive all by itself.
Other excellent features to make owning the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk a delight include tinted sunscreen glass, coloured grille surrounds and roof rails, off-road wheel flares and 17-inch aluminium wheels.
Inside, the equipment continues with Nappa Leather trim, red interior stitching accents, all-season floor mats, a cargo net, a media centre with 8.4-inch touch screen display and USB remote port.
The 2015 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk got me through my desert escapade so competently I was almost disappointed by the lack of drama. To be fair though, the theatrical scenery made up for any extra rushes of adrenaline required.
Take it from me, if you’re into 4x4s you could do a lot worse than this. The Trailhawk illustrates all this on and off-road capability with a distinguishing, no-nonsense look, and all the versatility of a full-size family motor. It’s backed up by Jeep Trail Rated equipment which includes uncompromising approach and departure angles, front suspension and transmission skid plates and signature red tow hooks.
The Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk costs £34,245 on the road and is available now.