The 2009 KK Cherokee was introduced in late 2008.
It remained true to its legendary 4x4 heritage while offering customers more on-road refinement and amenities. It is still the current Cherokee model in 2011, although a substantially revamped version is due this year.
The KK brought many improvements to the Cherokee. It was bigger, bolder and more refined, retaining a rugged exterior, but providing more interior comfort and convenience items. Importantly, this model introduced standard fitment of the all new Selec-Trac II full-time four-wheel-drive system, along with the availability of a new high torque turbo-diesel mated with a five speed transmission.
As with its predecessor, the KK Cherokee came in two trim variants, the Sport and the Limited. Prices started at $39,990 for the V6 petrol version and rose to $45,990 for the V6 Limited.
The KK Cherokee arrived with the choice of 3.7-litre V6 petrol or 2.8-litre CRD turbo-diesel engines.
The 3.7-litre SOHC V6 petrol engine produces 151kW at 5200rpm and 314Nm of torque at 4000rpm. Thanks to refinements in the valve train and combustion chamber, low-speed torque was enhanced, while providing a smooth idle and minimal engine noise. A sophisticated Electronic Throttle Control system assisted driveability and acceleration feel.
Also available is a 2.8-litre DOHC 16-valve common-rail turbo diesel engine. With its Variable Geometry Turbocharger (VGT) and rapid throttle response, this engine enabled the Cherokee to claim best in class torque of 460Nm at 2100 rpm with the five-speed automatic transmission, and towing capacity of up to 2270 kilograms (braked) and a driving range of over 700 kilometres. Maximum power is 130kW at 3800rpm.
A forged steel crankshaft featured eight counterweights compared to the prior crankshaft, which had four. A structural oil pan assists in reducing noise, vibration and harshness on the new engine. The VGT gained an electronically controlled actuator as opposed to the pneumatic actuator on the previous engine. This provides improved cold launch performance, and it also allows the turbocharger to spool up faster from idle, minimising turbo lag and providing good low-end and high-end torque.
Two transmissions are available on the KK Cherokee - five-speed automatic and four-speed automatic - depending on the engine choice. The Jeep Cherokee equipped with the 2.8-litre CRD engine is available with the five-speed automatic. The Mercedes-Benz sourced transmission is shared with the Jeep Grand Cherokee and improvements include quieter operation.
The four-speed automatic transmission is standard with the 3.7-litre V6 petrol engine. The transmission incorporates a variable hydraulic line pressure feature to improve fuel economy.
New full-time four-wheel-drive system
The new Selec-Trac II full-time four-wheel-drive system is standard on both Jeep Cherokee Sport and Limited models. The Selec-Trac II four-wheel drive system is a full-time, active on-demand system that anticipates and prevents wheel slip before it occurs. It is ideal for a wide range of road settings, including dry pavement conditions not typically suited for conventional part-time four-wheel drive systems.
This system offers a 4WD Auto mode that is just right for full-time driving. When driving in 4WD Auto mode, the system uses vehicle sensors to adjust and redirect torque between the front and rear axles based upon real-time driving conditions, providing the vehicle with responsive performance.
For added capability when negotiating steep grades, rough terrain or extremely poor traction surfaces, the transfer case includes a 4WD Low mode. This second speed gear multiplies engine torque 2.72 times and locks the clutch pack for maximum traction.
Electric shifting between 2WD, 4WD Auto and 4WD Low is accomplished with a console-mounted switch. A pushpin button is used to shift to Neutral mode. Selec-Trac II is standard on both Jeep Cherokee models.
Other useful four-wheel drive systems are Hill Descent Control, which is available in 4WD Low range. It provides controlled downhill speed assistance. Hill Start Assist was new to the KK, providing the driver time to transition from brake to throttle to achieve a smooth launch on a grade. The system will hold brake pressure for two seconds upon the driver's release of the brake pedal.
Suspension and steering systems
The KK introduced a new independent front suspension, and an all new five-link rear suspension along with power rack-and-pinion steering. The independent short and long-arm coil spring front suspension provides an optimum combination of ride, handling and a steering feel that is unattainable with typical strut-type suspensions.
Both the Sport and Limited come standard with ABS brakes, electronic stability control that includes brake assist, traction control, electronic roll mitigation, brake lock differentials and tyre pressure monitoring. Larger disc brakes front and rear delivered stopping power.
The full sized spare wheel and tyre is now placed underneath the vehicle, allowing for increased interior space and rear visibility.
Standard equipment on both models includes cruise control, air-conditioning, power and heated exterior mirrors, rear park assist, remote keyless entry, and AM-FM 6-disc CD-MP3 compatible sound system, a fold flat front passenger's seat, bigger windows and anti-theft engine immobiliser. The Cherokee received a new four spoke steering wheel, with Limited models gaining wheel mounted information centre and audio controls.
Access to the rear of the vehicle is by a rear lift tailgate rather than a swing-gate arrangement. The cargo area also features a clever reversible carpeted surface, with dual latches providing access to a 10cm deep waterproof storage bin beneath the cargo lid.
The Cherokee also comes fitted with multi-stage driver and front passenger and side curtain airbags with rolling sensing technology for the rear seat passengers.
The Cherokee also introduced a new sunroof, which Jeep called a Sky Slider, which is a full length canvas roof. It can be moved to several positions at the touch of a button, depending how much of an open-air experience you desire.
The Limited Cherokee adds leather trim and brushed stainless steel doorsills.
Available options include premier paint ($300), MyGIG satellite navigation ($3000), power sunroof ($2000) and the Sky Slider roof ($3000) - the latter two only available on Limited spec Cherokees.
The 2009 KK Cherokee was introduced in late 2008.