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2008 Jeep Cherokee

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When you think of Jeep, you can't help but picture a large, rugged 4X4 covered in dirt or mud. They are also often featured in action-packed movies either with the lead actor fleeing the baddies in rough terrain, slamming up and down ravines or with the villains pursuing the hero and crashing into other innocent traffic causing mayhem in the streets. Whether you like the stereotyping or not, it's sort of inevitable as the designers of Jeep vehicles themselves have stuck very close to the original style.

The 2008 Jeep Cherokee is supposedly completely redesigned but one glance at it and you will know it is distinctively Jeep. In some angles, it even looks like the Dodge Nitro probably because they share the same platform. The Jeep Cherokee, or the Jeep Liberty as it's known in some markets, is very tough and not many other 4WDs can compare in this aspect. The good thing is the 2008 model is even sturdier than its predecessors with its 3.7L 210 hp V6 engine. Although tougher than its Japanese competitors, its fuel consumption is far less economical than the Nissan Xterra and the Mitsubishi Pajero for example.

The test vehicle was the Cherokee Sport with the traditional square-jawed look and had a body-coloured grille which, in my opinion, made the entire appearance very handsome yet hardy. You will find a chrome grille on the higher- scale Limited instead.

Its interior is spacious enough to seat 5 large adults comfortably and carry all their outdoor equipment. There's also more room for backseat passengers, thanks to a 2-inch wheelbase stretch. The center console and instrument panel were very basic probably due to the “plastic” look but uncomplicated which made it very easy to interpret. Sometimes I wish all vehicles were like that because nothing can be more annoying than having to look at the manual each time you want to do a simple task like searching for a radio station even.

On road the Jeep Cherokee is now smoother, thanks to its new suspension (independent front and multilink rear) and steering systems. Standard on all models is a full-time four-wheel-drive system with low-range gearing. Off-road its strong points are generous ground clearance, departure angles and plenty of suspension travel which helps it tackle most trails and dunes with conviction and absolute ease.

There was a point when I was concerned about attempting a 45-degree slope of fine sand but the worry was certainly unwarranted when the vehicle went through it in the blink of an eye. Although my off-road driving skills aren't ranked high up in the professional level, the Jeep Cherokee gave me a real confidence booster.

The plus point for the Jeep Cherokee and also a very important point in many consumers' deciding factor is its affordability. The Basic model's pricing start at a mere AED 94,500 while you pay about AED 109,800 for the Limited. Available features are standard as with all the new vehicles these days but options include a trick roof that can open the full length of the ceiling enabling a panoramic view. Nice!


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