No one knows exactly where the Cherokee tribe got its name. Some say it comes from the Choctaw word Cha-la-kee, which means “those who live in the mountains”. Others say it comes from Choctaw Chi-luk-ik-bi – meaning “those who live in the cave country”. Bearing this in mind, we took the very latest Cherokee to Mpumalanga, which is home to both mountains and caves …
Yours truly collected Tina Monteiro, Cyberstoep director, at the crack of dawn … and our adventure began. The purpose of our trip was two-fold: we were testing the Jeep Cherokee 3.2 LTD FWD and we also need to do a reccie for a business trip that was planned for later in the year. As such, we were to explore the Malalane and Komatipoort areas, and examine accommodation options in the area.
The woman is a speed freak of note (she’s the female equivalent of Lewis Hamilton) and I’m pretty sure she was hoping to exploit the 200 kW of power.
Pressing a boot-release button on the Cherokee, the tailgate lifted effortlessly and we loaded all our bits and pieces into the cavernous boot. It easily gobbled up two suitcases, two laptops bags, two handbags and some other bits and pieces … and there was lots of room to spare. The boot closed at the press of a button … easy peasy.
Then we were off! We hit the highway as soon as we possibly could, using the cruise control to keep the power of the engine at bay. Tina commented that the seats were absolutely perfect for a long distance journey; I remarked on the fabulous satnav system (you don’t need an engineering degree in order to operate it) and the new Jeep Cherokee’s premium on-road manners (it is ever so quiet and smooth).
Some 462 km later, we were in Komatipoort. Throughout the drive, Tina had asked me if I was tired … and enquired as to whether or not I would like her to drive. Personally, I think she was bursting for a shot in the driver’s seat. The woman is a speed freak of note (she’s the female equivalent of Lewis Hamilton) and I’m pretty sure she was hoping to exploit the 200 kW of power. Alas, she didn’t get lucky.
The Cherokee is honestly so comfortable and so effortless to drive that I felt as fresh as a daisy on arrival. Until I stepped out of the car that is … it was 40 degrees outside! The Jeep’s aircon had kept us wonderfully cool … but the exterior temperature was just hideous. We quickly did our business and headed for Malalane, where we would be cossetted in a four-star hotel.
Or so we thought. Our choice of accommodation was the Pestana Kruger Lodge which, if its website is to be believed “is one of the most exclusive hotels the Kruger National Park, located at only 150 meters from Malelane Gate” (sic). Maybe this wording should have forewarned us of impending disaster … but we honestly believed that we couldn’t go wrong with a four-star hotel.
We were wrong!
Arriving at reception, we found that the hotel was unaware of our booking (which had been made online and paid for in full). This meant that, at 19:00 at night, we were delayed for 20 minutes or so before eventually getting our room key.
By that stage, we were ravenous, so we dashed into the hotel restaurant for a mediocre (at best) meal. We were surrounded by foreigners … I hope that they didn’t think that the food was indicative of the South African kitchen.
Because of the high temperatures, we were looking forward to burrowing into our air-conditioned chalet. Alas, the air-conditioner in our chalet was woefully inadequate. (It eventually started cooling the room at 04:00 the following morning). We decided to run a bath and cool down … but this was a disaster when the bath turned into a mud pool.
The next morning we were once again aghast when we noticed the front door to our chalet. The glass was completely loose and was about to fall out! It’s sad to see that the lodge desperately needs maintenance … the gardens and river are so beautiful … it could be really terrific!
We reported the glass to reception before eating a reasonable breakfast and beating a hasty retreat. Oh how we welcomed the comforts of our beautiful Cherokee, which did almost everything perfectly.
I say “almost everything” because one thing bugged me on the trip. While it was nice to have the tyre pressures displayed on the dash, I’m not convinced that they’re 100% accurate. The one day the front right tyre was low. I had all the tyres pumped up. The next day the rear left pressure was low …
However this was a really minor niggle with what is a terrific mid-size SUV. The Cyberstoep tribe has spoken!
Jeep Cherokee 3.2 LTD FWD 7/10
Pestana Kruger Lodge 3/10
2014 Jeep Cherokee 3.2l Limited FWD
Registration Number: DB 35 PC GP
|Type and Description||3.2-LITRE DOHC 24-VALVE V6, 60-degree V-type, liquid-cooled|
|Displacement||3 239 cm3|
|Bore x Stroke||91.0 x 83.0|
|Valve System||Chain-driven, DOHC, 24 valves, with hydraulic roller finger followers|
|Fuel Injection||Sequential, multiport, electronic, returnless|
|Construction||Die cast aluminium block, aluminium alloy heads|
|Power||200 kW @ 6 500 r/min|
|Torque||315 Nm@ 4 300 r/min|
|Max. Engine Speed||6 500 r/min, electronically limited|
|Emission Class||Euro 6|
|Engine Assembly Plant||Trenton Engine, Trenton, Mich.|
|Exterior Colour:||Granite Crystal Metallic|
|Interior Colour:||Black Leather|
|Optional Extras:||ELECTRONICSCONVENIENCE GROUP (AFC)|
|230V/50HZ AUXILIARY POWER OUTLET (JKZ)|
|PASSIVE ENTRY / KEYLESS GO (GX4)|
|REMOTE PROXIMITY KEYLESS ENTRY (GXD)|
|WIRELESS CHARGING PAD (RFX)|
|FULL SUNROOF, PWR FRT, FIXED REAR (GWJ)|
|Option Price:||AFC: R8 300.00, RFX: N/C, GWJ: R17 500.00|
|Price as tested:||R531 790.00|
|Warranty:Maintenance:||3 year / 100 000 km6 year / 100 000 km|
My friends call me a glomad (a global nomad lest you don’t get it). That’s a particularly apt word, because I am always trawling all corners of the globe, looking for stories. As a result, I have slept in some seriously strange places … Read more