DETROIT Feb 11 Chrysler Group LLC's newly
redesigned Jeep Cherokee falls short of the hype, Consumer
Reports magazine said on Tuesday, citing the sport utility
vehicle for a choppy ride and clumsy handling.
"It is a contemporary design that had potential, but despite
a few high points, overall we found it half-baked," said the
magazine, which has more than 8 million print and online
"The Cherokee is an uneven package, and it scores too low to
be recommended," Consumer Reports added.
Separately, the magazine recommended the redesigned Mazda3
, saying it scored among the higher-ranking compact
The success of the Cherokee, which replaces the Liberty in
Jeep's lineup, is seen as critical to Chrysler's success. The
company invested $550 million in its Toledo, Ohio plant to
produce the new vehicle.
Consumer Reports said the new Cherokee is a "radical
departure" for the Jeep brand. The SUV is based on a platform
developed by Italian car maker Fiat that serves as the
foundation for cars like the upcoming Chrysler 200 sedan.
Chrysler and Fiat, which are merging to form the Fiat
Chrysler Automobiles group, are sharing more resources to cut
costs and boost vehicle quality. The Cherokee shares at least
half its parts with the 200 sedan.
Chrysler said in an email that the early response to the new
Cherokee from buyers has been very encouraging since it went on
sale at the end of October.
Consumer Reports tested a Cherokee equipped with a
four-cylinder engine as well as one with a six-cylinder engine.
The magazine favored the larger engine, saying the four-cylinder
was "underpowered and not very fuel-efficient."
The path to platform sharing has not always been smooth. The
Cherokee's launch was pushed back by two months because of
issues related to the company's new nine-speed transmission.
The nine-speed transmission is "unrefined" and sometimes
unresponsive, Consumer Reports said.