"We're determined to make 4x4s affordable at all costs," says Chrysler SA's Guy Franken. "What's more these are not merely launch prices. They will not be affected by our January price rise, and they'll even be under R200 000 and R250 000 respectively by July".
The Jeep Wrangler Sport is a "stripped-down" version of the current 4-litre 130 kW six-cylinder Wrangler, with steel wheels, no air conditioning, and no radio. It comes with soft-top only.
However, it does get 5-speed manual transmission, dual airbags, power steering, removeable doors and a fold-down windscreen.
"The idea is that customers can personalise their Wrangler to suit their own needs," says Franken.
The new Jeep Wrangler Sport
The Jeep Wrangler also comes with Quadra-Coil suspension, which has high articulation to keep all four wheels on the ground in rocky terrain, and Command-Trac, Wrangler?s responsive shift-on-the-fly four-wheel-drive system capable of seamlessly adapting to any terrain.
New Cherokee 2.4
Even more interesting is the new Cherokee. The Cherokee has been in high demand since it was introduced just over a year ago, but there has been strong call for a small-engined petrol version in addition to the 3.7-litre automatic and the 2.5-litre turbo-diesel.
This is addressed by the Cherokee 2.4 Sport, which gives all the features found in other Cherokee Sport models, but is fitted with a 108 kW 4-cyclinder 2.4-litre motor similar to that found in Chrysler Voyager 2.4.
Torque is a very useable 215 Nm, and the engine is attached to a smooth-shifting five speed manual transmission. In addition, the 2.4 is fitted with Jeep's Command-Trac shift on the fly four-wheel-drive system.
New exterior colours for the 2003 Cherokee range include Atlantic Blue Pearl and Cactus Green.
Also new for 2003, standard four-wheel disc brakes give Jeep Cherokee better brake feel on-road, with decreased stopping distances, reduced brake fade and improved trailer tow ratings - up from 2 250 kg to 3 500 kg.
The four-wheel disc brakes are self-cleaning, which is especially helpful when driving off-road. ABS brakes are now standard across the entire Cherokee range.
Standard multi-stage driver and passenger front air bags are designed to deploy at different levels depending on the severity of the impact.
Jeep Cherokee also features a seat belt pre-tensioner in the driver?s position, and constant force retractors for both driver and front passenger.
Other features include power windows and mirrors, power steering, and a radio/tape with front-loader CD player.
Jeep Cherokee 2.4 Sport R244 900
Jeep Wrangler Sport R194 900.
Click here for Jeep Cherokee photo gallery
Click here for Jeep Wrangler photo gallery