Used car review: Jeep Cherokee 2008-2011Motor News Motor Reviews Used Car Reviews
2008 Jeep Cherokee.
- KK MY08
- Badge Description
- Engine Configuration Description
- Gear Num
- Build Country Origin Description
- UNITED STATES
- Car Size
- Overall Green Star Rating
- Fuel Type Description
- Petrol - Unleaded ULP
- Drive Description
- Four Wheel Drive
- Warranty KM
Some of the more recent vehicles to bear the Jeep badge have been a bit like a heavy metal band's touchy-feely love ballad: they happen from time to time, but they don't sit too well with the hard-core fan-base.
The Compass, Patriot and Commander are all soft-roaders (the dreaded love ballad) and hardly fit with the Jeep brand's status as a maker of seriously capable off-roaders.
Which means Jeep's "real" four-wheel-drives, the likes of the Wrangler and Cherokee, are all the more important to the marque, mainly in a credibility sense.
And while the Wrangler is aimed at the masochistic end of the market, the longer wheelbase Cherokee station-wagon sits somewhere between the hard-as-nails Wrangler and the SUV-oriented models.
Which could mean that it's neither fish nor fowl, but in reality, it makes the Cherokee a pretty decent thing; if you can live with its shortfalls.
For a start, the latter-day Cherokee is a much more accommodating vehicle than those to bear the badge before it.
The rear seat featured a reclining backrest and while it was no limousine, it was at least roomy enough in the back for actual passengers.
The rear seats folded flat, too, making it a useful weekender for two and their camping gear, although things weren't quite so rosy up front with a cramped footwell for the driver and no left-foot rest. The steering column didn't adjust for reach, either.
But the most confronting interior glitch was the perceived lack of quality both in the materials used and the way they were put together.
This has never been a Jeep long suit but even so, the hard, squeaky plastics and poor fit and finish will surprise anybody raised on a diet of Japanese-built vehicles.
Mechanically, there's less to worry about and with a choice of 151kW V6 petrol or a 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder powerplant, the Jeep had all bases covered.
In reality, the turbo-diesel is a vastly better proposition with lots of low-down torque for climbing through the rough stuff and much better fuel economy than the V6.
You also get a five-speed automatic in the diesel version while the V6 petrol makes do with an old-fashioned four-speed automatic that does nothing for either on-road abilities or fuel consumption.
Despite the extra ratio, it is, however, possible to catch the diesel off boost every now and then; but overall, it's the version that deserves the most serious consideration.
As with anything else with four wheels and a North-American build-plate, the big thing to watch out for is a lack of quality leading to systems failures.
Make sure everything inside that opens and shuts does so properly and check every electrical doodad for proper function.
The interior plastics could be looking pretty second-hand by now (they were fairly ropey even when brand-new) and don't be surprised if those hard plastic surfaces look like they've been used as a scratching-post for a fully grown tiger.
On the recall front, the Cherokee built for the 2010 model year could have been fitted with faulty brake lines that could potentially cause a loss of brake fluid and perhaps even a crash.
That single recall does, however, suggest that the later Cherokees (such as this model) were better built than their predecessors, which were much more likely to be recalled for all manner of problems.
Even so, it's still worth a close check – and consider an independent inspection by a specialist if you have any doubts about the car's condition.
Speaking of general condition, the big worry with vehicles like the Cherokee is that they've been used extensively off-road.
The vehicle is actually very, very capable off-road and that was one of the major attractions of it when it was brand-new.
So climb underneath and check for any signs that it's been a bush-basher most of its life.
You're looking for damage – dents and scrapes – anywhere on the underside as well as dented sills, mud-flaps torn off and bashed-up exhaust systems.
The other big giveaway is a Cherokee with huge mud tyres, a high-lift jack on the tailgate and a monster winch hanging off the aftermarket bullbar at the front.
That said, the Cherokee's stablemate, the Wrangler, was an even more serious off-roader and was the Jeep of choice for those looking to spend weekends kilometres into the scrub on a one-lane track. It's still worth a close check, though.
If you're planning to use a Cherokee for serious bush work, then maybe a vehicle with these inclusions represents good value, but if you're after a clean car that's had an easy life, we'd look elsewhere.
Be aware that the turbo-diesel model is the one most likely to have been used off-road and that while it's a good drive with decent fuel economy, it will be more expensive to maintain over the life of the vehicle.
In petrol versions, make sure the oil on the dipstick is nice and clean as this is a good indicator of the overall state of the engine.
Don't try the same thing with the diesel, however; diesel engines inevitably turn their oil black pretty quickly and that's quite normal.
We would, however, be concerned with any dull thunking noises or rattling from either engine, and make sure the transmission selects a gear from Park quickly and without a huge bang through the vehicle.
Vibrations from the driveline at any speed are also bad signs.
Nuts and bolts
Engine/s: 3.7 V6/2.8 turbo-diesel
Fuel economy (combined): 12.0 litres per 100km (V6)/8.9 litres (turbo-diesel)
Our rating: 3 stars
- Real off-road ability, should you ever need it.
- Grunty diesel engine also the most fuel efficient.
- V6's price has plummeted.
- A different look and feel to the mainstream contenders.
- Build quality trails Japanese counterparts.
- V6 is thirsty in most circumstances.
- Not as big inside as some.
- Some have been used hard off-road.
Another capable off-roader with proper gearing and ground clearance. Option of seven seats will appeal to some owners. More sophisticated to drive on-road. 3.5 stars
Previous-gen Sorento was an improver but still not quite on the money. Suspension was clumsy but turbo-diesel engine option was spot on. 3 stars
Does everything expected of it, and that's quite a bit from some Toyota fans. Brilliant off-road and should cope best with the rough and tumble. 4 stars.
What to pay
Model Year New Now
Limited V6 2008 $45,990 $17,100
Limited V6 2009 $46,490 $19,400
Limited V6 2010 $40,990 $22,000
Limited V6 2011 $39,000 $25,100
Sport diesel 2008 $43,990 $23,300
Sport diesel 2009 $44,490 $26,500
Sport diesel 2010 $44,490 $29,500
Sport diesel 2011 $44,490 $32,300