The all-new Jeep Cherokee will boast a standard nine-speed automatic transmission and offer a front-wheel drive base model for the first time when it goes on sale later this year.
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Turning heads during its New York auto show unveiling earlier today, the dramatically styled fourth-generation Jeep Cherokee will also be up to 45 per cent more fuel efficient than the outgoing model, as well as more capable off-road, more refined on-road, and loaded with more safety and technology features than ever before.

Two petrol engines will be offered from launch – the 137kW/232Nm 2.4-litre four-cylinder ‘Tigershark’ and the 199kW/316Nm 3.2-litre ‘Pentastar’ V6 – while a 2.0-litre diesel is also destined to join the line-up in markets like Australia and Europe.

Along with front-wheel drive, the new Jeep Cherokee will also be available with three distinct four-wheel-drive systems: Active Drive I with a one-speed power transfer unit (PTU), Active Drive II with a two-speed PTU and low range, and Active Drive Lock with a two-speed PTU, low range and a locking rear differential.

The latter will be standard on the new Cherokee Trailhawk variant – a “trail-rated” model that Jeep says will be the most capable mid-sized SUV in its class. The Trailhawk sits an inch higher (220mm overall) than the rest of the Cherokee line-up, and boasts greater approach and departure angles, skid plates, unique grey plastic front and rear fascias and signature red tow hooks. The Sport, Latitude and Limited variants feature more urban-friendly styling.

All Cherokee 4x4 models feature the brand’s Selec-Terrain traction control system with five driver-selected settings: Auto, Snow, Sport, Sand/Mud, and Rock. Jeep also claims best-in-class towing capacity of 2041kg for the V6 model.

The new Cherokee becomes the first Jeep product to utilise the Chrysler Group’s ‘Compact US Wide’ platform, which also underpins the Alfa Romeo Giulietta and the Dodge Dart small cars. Jeep says the new car’s independent rear suspension and significantly improved torsional rigidity contribute to superior ride and handling characteristics and reduced noise levels.

A host of new safety features – including adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, rear cross-path detection and emergency call assist, promise to make the Cherokee safer than ever – while new convenience features – including an 8.4-inch touchscreen with Uconnect App program, wireless phone charging pad and automatic reverse parking – advance the nameplate to new levels of luxury.

Two industry-exclusive roof designs will be offered: the CommandView panoramic sunroof and the Sky Slider full-length open canvas roof.

The Jeep Cherokee will hit US showrooms during the third quarter of 2013 before reaching Australia around the end of the year.

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