Leading the range is the new 2.8-litre common-rail diesel (CRD) engine.
This four-cylinder engine features a variable geometry turbocharger (VGT) and it has loads of oomph. Torque is a high 400 Nm at 1 800 r/min while it kicks out 120 kW at 3 800 r/min.
It is mated to a new six-speed manual transmission (a five-speed auto is optional). The claimed urban cycle for the manual is 12 litres for every 100 km and Jeep says out of town it will use 7.7 litres/100 km.
The 3.7-litre V6 engine (150 kW/307 Nm) is the same as before, but Jeep improved fuel economy by introducing variable line pressure adjustment on the four-speed auto box.
Both the 2.8 CRD VGT and V6 engines are available on the Sport, Limited and Renegade models, while a 2.4-litre (108 kW/215 Nm) petrol engine is also available on the Sport.
The newest Jeep Cherokee is given a freshened exterior design with new front fascia, grille, fog lamps, fender flares, bodyside mouldings and new standard roof-rack rails and wheels.
Styled to highlight its on- and off-road suitability, the Jeep Cherokee Sport comes with a painted bodycolour front grille and a front bumper with "twin-tube" appearance for a customised accessory look.
The Cherokee Limited has a more "upmarket" treatment with chrome grille, body-colour painted fascias and wheel arches and five-spoke alloy wheels. Both the bodyside moulding and the roof-rack rails are chrome finished.
The restyled and repackaged Jeep Cherokee Renegade becomes the image leader for Cherokee and features a more rugged, classic Jeep appearance.
The new Cherokee Renegade will now offer a distinct exterior when compared to the Sport and Limited models and will appeal to a slightly different buyer with its more rugged design.
Jeep Cherokee Renegade will feature a new flatter bonnet and taller grille, plus off-road fog lamps, taillamp guards, "bolted-on" wheel arches and large six-spoke alloy wheels. Renegade also features standard tow hooks, three skid plates (under the transfer case, fuel tank and front suspension) and an optional overhead light bar.
Visual enhancements that further distinguish the Renegade include roof-rack rails, functional side rock rails and skid plate appliqué below the front bumper, all painted a bright silver.
Two new pearl-coat exterior colours, Dark Khaki and Deep Beryl Green, are available on all models.
All Jeep Cherokee models feature interior changes to enhance their comfort, practicality and appearance.
They have a choice of lighter interior colours, new front seats for improved comfort, new rear seats which fold flatter and easier-to-use controls with improved ergonomics.
The Jeep Cherokee and Cherokee Renegade have lighter coloured trim to highlight interior space, while the centre stack bezel and gear selector bezel are finished in Silver Mini Carbon (Renegade) and Satin Silver (Limited and Sport).
Two new interior colours, Medium Slate and Khaki, are available on all models, while Renegade and Limited can also be ordered in Khaki/Light Graystone leather or Slate Gray/Light Slate Gray leather.
On-road refinement is assisted by new seats that are improved through the use of dual-density foam.
For the first time, Jeep Cherokee offers a navigation radio available as factory-installed or through Mopar as an aftermarket accessory. This RB3 navigation radio system contains a navigation computer with 12.4 cm diagonal full-colour display, tuner and CD player all in one unit.
Features include turn-by-turn route guidance navigation with voice instruction, seven different user languages, automatic re-route calculation and memory to store 50 custom user destinations.
The well-proven suspension, drivetrain and steering of the Jeep Cherokee is carried over for the new vehicle.
Based on systems used in the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the suspension has a 20 cm travel to ensure hallmark Jeep off-road performance.
The four-link front suspension has double wishbones (A-arms) with coil springs, gas-filled shock absorbers and an anti-roll bar. The three-link rear suspension of the live axle is by an upper A-arm and dual lower trailing arms, also with coils springs, gas-filled shock absorbers and an anti-roll bar.
The Jeep Cherokee offers two four-wheel-drive systems, proven over millions of kilometres by Jeep engineers and by thousands of customers all around the world.
Command-Trac is a part-time 4x4 system that allows drivers to engage four-wheel drive whenever necessary to obtain extra traction on wet or snow-covered roads and backcountry roads with sand, gravel or mud surfaces.
Normal driving is conducted in two-wheel drive in high range, with power going to the rear wheels.
Selec-Trac is a full-time 4x4 system that drivers can either "select-and-forget" and benefit from fourwheel drive on any road surface, in all weather conditions all year 'round? or remain in two-wheel drive, with power going to the rear wheels.
Both systems have a transfer case that offers a choice of high range or low range gears.
Selecting low range sends the engine's power through another set of gears that multiplies torque ? for optimum performance crawling over rocks or towing a boat out of the water ? while also giving the driver maximum control in severe conditions.
Both the Command-Trac and Selec-Trac systems also have a "shift-on-the-fly" feature that allows drivers to shift from two-wheel drive (high) to four-wheel drive (high) while the vehicle is moving.
The Trac-Lok limited-slip rear differential senses when a rear wheel starts to spin and automatically distributes available torque to the other rear wheel, providing the best possible traction.
Powered rack-and-pinion steering, geared for 3.6 turns of the steering wheel lock to lock, provides the ideal balance between on-road precision and off-road freedom from kick-back over rough surfaces.
A higher level of safety features was introduced for the Jeep Cherokee in 2004, and this comprehensive passive safety package is carried over to the new models.
Multi-stage driver and front passenger air bags are standard, with side curtain air bags optional or standard ? depending on model.
The Jeep Cherokee has a four-star rating in Euro NCAP crash tests.
Jeep Cherokee 2.4L Sport (6-speed Manual) - R255 900
Jeep Cherokee 3.7L Sport (5-speed Auto) - R284 900
Jeep Cherokee 2.8L CRD Sport (6-speed Manual) - R304 900
Jeep Cherokee 2.8L CRD Sport (5-speed Auto) - R315 900
Jeep Cherokee 3.7L Limited (5-speed Auto) - R324 900
Jeep Cherokee 2.8L CRD Limited (6-speed Manual) - R339 900
Jeep Cherokee 2.8L CRD Limited (5-speed Auto) - R352 900
Jeep Cherokee 3.7L Renegade (5-speed Auto) - R334 900
Jeep Cherokee 2.8L CRD Renegade (5-speed Auto) - R362 900
CLICK HERE to read deputy editor Wilmer Muller's article about the Cherokee's world launch.