Just after the New Year, on January 4th, Jeep launched a new commercial, “River in the City”. In the :30 spot, Jeep turned an ordinary street block in Vancouver into a forest-like setting, complete with a mountain river, snowbanks, boulders, rocks, moss, trees and gravel. They even had two wolves hanging out on set.
Drivers were then directed, via their navigations systems, through downtown Vancouver to the man-made mountain driving course. They then took part in an unequaled Jeep Cherokee test drive. They were given the opportunity to navigate the Cherokee through the rough terrain set-up and fully test the SUV’s capabilities in a unique urban setting.
“We wanted to bring to life the real world capabilities of the Jeep Cherokee in a unique approach,”said Olivier Francois, Chief Marketing Officer, FCA-Global. “So how do you do that? By taking what is essentially an experiential event where unsuspecting drivers are being filmed navigating a busy metropolitan street that has been turned into a fully functional mountain river and let them experience the capabilities of the Jeep Cherokee for themselves. Our ‘River in the City’ takes an untraditional approach to create a powerful statement that the Jeep Cherokee can handle anything a city throws at it.”
I find this new campaign by Jeep not only innovative, but a great example of thinking outside of the box. We’ve all seen the obligatory shots of SUV’s off-roading, climbing mountains and tacking large boulders, but a huge percentage of SUV drivers never get to experience that type of driving. In fact, the only adventure typically experienced by the everyday soccer parents that drive these vehicles is the thrill of successfully navigating the traffic laden roads in order to get their kids to respective sports practices on time and in one piece. With this unique experience, Jeep gave everyday city dwellers the chance to experience what the vehicle can really do right in their own backyard, the downtown of a metropolitan city. For that I applaud them.
Backing up Jeep’s innovative new campaign is a pretty kick ass ride. I had the opportunity to test drive a Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk model and was quite impressed with what I found. The ride felt more like a smooth sedan than a mid-size SUV. It also had pretty good pick-up for a vehicle in its class. I wasn’t too thrilled with the 9-speed transmission, however. The Trailhawk ran through the gears way too quickly, which made the engine performance feel choppy. I felt I wasn’t getting everything I could out of the engine. I much prefer a 6 or 8 speed engine configuration to the 9. I found the fuel economy to be impressive at close to 31 mpg on the highway. The safety and security features, such as blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-path detection, and ParkSense rear park assist were also top-notch, as is the towing capacity of 4,500 lbs, quite a bit of weight for the mid-size SUV category. Consumers also get the choice between two engine types, the new 3.2-liter Pentastar V-6, or the 2.4-liter MutliAir2, which earns a Partial Zero Emissions Engine classification in 14 states.
The interior is also very appealing, especially in the Trailhawk, which is focused on a rugged and sporty feel, everything a Jeep should be. It features an 8.4-inch touch screen media display, seven-inch full color instrument display and plenty of storage and cargo flexibility not available in other vehicles in its class.
Overall the 2015 Jeep Cherokee is a great mid-size SUV option for those looking to buy in this segment. It offers great features, plenty of options and several different models to choose from, ranging form affordable to slightly less affordable. Even at its highest price-point, the Cherokee offers huge bang for the buck. I highly recommend readers test drive it, if only to have some fun behind the wheel. You won’t be disappointed.
To check out the new Jeep ad, visit http://www.jeep.com/cherokeedetour.