Who’s ready to get down and dirty with off-road driving? And in a luxury SUV???
I know a lot of us ladies take pride in keeping our cars pristine by taking them to get washed religiously every week. We love the “new car,” “citrus” and “floral” fragrances from the detailers and do double takes every time we pass by our glossy tires from those Armour-All treatments.
But sometimes, even the most meticulous of us want to change it up. Release the rebel in us. Get down and dirty. In the mud. And still be in our comfy, pristine luxury car.
When I was asked if I’d like the opportunity to go on and off-roading in a luxury SUV and preview the 2019 Jeep Cherokee in the middle of the Santa Monica Mountains in California, the rebel in me, jumped up, raised my hand and quickly replied, “Oh heck to the yes!!!”
Fast-forward to the sneak preview of Jeep’s 2019 Cherokee press event.
Mind you, I have not been in a Jeep since the 1990’s and I was really looking forward to finding out what the newest bells and whistles were.
Let’s start with the basics of one of the New 2019 Jeep Cherokee Limited 4x4 that I would get to test drive:
- Engine: 3.2 liter Pentastar V-6 with ESS
- Horsepower: 271
- Torque: 239lb.-ft
- Transmission: 48TE Nine-speed Automatic
- TrailHawk trail rated, meaning it’s designed to drive nearly sideways, through ditches and over hills
- 8.7″ ground clearance (to clear those hills)
- Sharpened off-road drive systems
- Park Assist, which parks the car with the driver’s assistance
- We would also drive the 2.0-liter turbo with 270 horsepower
Features in the newly redesigned 2019 Jeep Cherokee include:
- Panoramic sunroof
- 7″ (an 8.4″ upgrade is available) touchscreen with Uconnect infotainment system
- Drag-and-drop apps on the touch screen to organize things the way you like them
- Apple Car Play or Android Auto
- An enlarged cargo space with a wider opening, making loading your gear easier
- Advanced safety technology including adaptive cruise that comes to a full stop when traffic does, lane departure warning and forward collision warning
- Even more luxury appointments including chrome and glossy piano black surfaces, more storage spaces and Nappa leather seats
- Engineered for comfortable driving on roads and highways
Base Price: $33,620
Tested Price: $38,495
Further reading: Meet the 2018 Jeep Wrangler!
Meet my off-roading driving partner!
I was fortunate to be paired off with a REALLY interesting, talkative gentleman named Doron Levin. He has a very popular automotive show on SiriusXM radio. He flew in from Detroit, Michigan and because of his outgoing and fun-loving nature, we got along like two peas in a pod.
We made a great team because he was able to drive while I shot video and took pictures during the off-road portion of the event. You’ll see in the clips below why it would have been very challenging for me to drive and document this!
First off, we got prepped on what we would be doing on the Off-Road course with Jeep Jamboree Representative, Pierce:
After the quick pep talk from Pierce, we headed toward the course. We were lucky to have the lead engineer for Cherokee, Paul Smith, hitch a ride with us. He not only directed us in what gears/mode we should be using to drive the different terrains, but he told us even more tidbits about the vehicle!
One of the COOLEST features of the off-road Jeep Grand Cherokee is the automated driving technology. When you put the car into the Hill Descent mode, the brains of the Cherokee takeover. It knows the optimum speed and gear to use. Doron did not have to use the brakes or gas pedal AT ALL during this portion of the drive!
As you can see in the video, we were dealing with some very steep and mountainous terrain! But the best part was going into deep ditches that you would NEVER think would be possible (and safe) to go in with a normal car. I would NEVER do this with any of my cars, but it’s very assuring to know that if you had a Jeep Cherokee, you could take on almost any road conditions that life may present.
After we finished the off-road course, we were able to try out the 2.0 Liter 4 cylinder Turbo model. We took it for a spin through the mountains to get back to our hotel.
Here’s a summary video on our take on the difference between the 2 models we drove today– the 3.2 Liter V6 and the 2.0 Liter 4 cylinder turbo– in less than thirty seconds (yes, it was that obvious): the 2.0 Liter was much more responsive and a lot more zoom. Surprising, yes, but all the better for taking this luxury SUV off road!
Disclosure: I was Jeep’s guest for this test drive and accommodations were provided. All opinions are my own.