The 2016 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk carries with it a qualification of being Trail Rated, a mark, which in this context, signifies something very relevant and ultimately, very measurable.
To achieve this rating of being a ‘real Jeep’, the Trailhawk must exhibit excellence with traction, articulation, manoeuvrability, ground clearance and water fording ability.
Featuring unique front and rear bumpers for better entry and departure angles, flared wheel arches, blackout panel on the bonnet (and bright red recovery hooks, the Trailhawk easily sets itself apart from looking like any other Cherokee.
The 8.4-inch U-Connect navigation touch screen offers the usual suite of infotainment functions but is missing DAB radio, which is available on the Grand Cherokee systems. It’s easy enough to pair a phone and to use, but it crashed on us a couple of times – returning to full function when using the old ‘turn the car off then on again’ trick.
The seven-inch colour LCD display on the instrument binnacle had a few glitches too, again it was easily reset but still frustrating. The amount of data available here is excellent, and we loved the old Willys Jeep shown in the automatic parking function screen, but the navigation of functions from the steering wheel buttons is quite complex and needs a lot of practice to become second nature.
One feature of the Cherokee, and in fact most Jeep and Chrysler vehicles, are the hidden rocker-switches on the back of the steering wheel that control the nine-speaker stereo volume and music track selection. They don’t take long to get used to and are strangely intuitive to use.
Around town, the 200kW / 316Nm 3.2-litre, Pentastar V6 is punchy and well-matched to the nine-speed automatic transmission. Power delivery is smooth and gear changes well-tuned.
Published: Wednesday, January 27, 2016