Dave Conole drives and reviews the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk.
In August of 2014, A Wheel Thing had the pleasure of the company of the Cherokee Trailhawk and a sibling; here’s the review on how they’re meant to work.
Alas, gremlins overshadowed the Cherokee Trailhawk provided for the Christmas and New Year’s break, both human and not.
To me, it’s a more than welcome courtesy that review vehicles come with a full tank of propellant, be it petrol or diesel. On pickup, although clean, the review car still had items left from previous reviewers in the centre console and it had less than 1/4 of a tank of fuel. Although, at the time, an annoyance, it got worse.
From the dealership to A Wheel Thing’s base in the Blue Mountains, the car ran fine. From there to a suburb called Dundas, to the north east of Parramatta and back, it ran fine. A few days later, with minimal travel time in between, we embarked on a journey to Bega, on the NSW South coast via Canberra.
On the way to Canberra, along the sleep inducing Hume Highway, you go close to the historic town of Goulburn. Twenty minutes outside (east) of Goulburn, after a few frighteningly familiar rise and falls of the tacho (see my review on the Fiat Freemont), a warning message about the front parking sensors flashed up on the driver’s info screen, followed by a few more in rapid succession, ending with a message to pull over, select P and restart the engine.
The car had suffered a total power loss. It did restart, however a call to Roadside Assist had the car driven, gingerly, to the Jeep dealership in Canberra.
Not more than thirty minutes south of Canberra, the power supply issues arose again.
We did, eventually, arrive at Bega for Christmas Eve. The next morning, all seemed fine for the next leg of the journey, to a hamlet called Rocky Hall, about an hour inland from Bega.
Again, it was about a half hour journey before the same issues occurred as outside Goulburn, only seemingly worse as the car needed a couple of attempts to restart and refused to allow manual gear selection, with the car picking one gear and flashing the D symbol on the dash.
As there was no option but to continue to our landing site for the night, we did, at a very reduced pace.
The next morning, the car started but displayed the engine icon on the dash. This was the big question mark, would it return to Sydney without further issue. It did but the engine light stayed on. All the way. And for the rest of the week before it was collected.
The bottom line is this; it’s the first car from ANY company that has displayed such errant behaviour (the Freemont’s power surges were traced to a loose wire, apparently) and I’d say it was out of character. Again, for the review of a Cherokee that worked as well as it should, see the link above.
At the time of writing, I’m awaiting feedback from Jeep about THIS particular vehicle.