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City street turned into bush to test drive new Jeep Cherokee


How do you test drive the Jeep Cherokee, one of the most capable off road vehicles in the world, in the city where snow, ice, rivers, rocks, wild animals and mud are in short supply?

You take a city street and turn it into a forest with a wild mountain river, brought to life with snowbanks, boulders, rocks, sand/gravel, moss, live fir trees and even two live wolves, much to the surprise of unsuspecting Jeep Cherokee customers out for what they thought would be the typical run around the block test drive from the local Jeep dealership.

The unique approach was designed to introduce drivers to the versatility and real-world capability of the Jeep Cherokee.

Built in the Canadian city of Vancouver, the forest in the city was built for the ‘River in the City’ TV commercial. Unsuspecting real customers visiting a near-by Jeep dealership to test the Jeep Cherokee were sent out on what they thought would be a normal urban test drive by following directions from its satellite navigation system through downtown Vancouver.

Following the detour, the directions soon led them to the "river in the city" and the drivers were actually a part of the real-life demonstration of the vast, wide range of capabilities of the Jeep Cherokee. The commercial is further brought to life with captivating images of the customers in the Jeep Cherokee confronting boulders and gravel amidst a raging river, all set against downtown parking meters and people moving down escalators in city buildings as the work day unfolds.

To build the urban forest Jeep used:

450 tonnes of boulders, rocks, sand and 2,500 sand bags, used throughout the set to break up water flow and hide the normal flat street surface to produce a real flooded river crossing.

950,000 litres of water was pumped onto the street with water pumps hidden in the alley and placed in key spots. The water was recycled using a closed water system that pumped water from the end of the street back to the top. The water was eventually discharged down the street, into Vancouver Harbour.

180 tonnes of snow - the snowbanks were made of snow blanketing crushed and block ice.

Logs, sticks, moss, and 80 fir and hemlock trees lined and covered the street. The trees were boxed and returned to the nursery and boulders, gravel and other materials were also repurposed.

Two real, live wolves were on set. The domesticated, mixed-breed wolves were made available from the Animal Insight for Film and TV. A representative from the American Humane Association was on set to attest that the wolves were treated humanely and procedures were followed. Observers were able to take pictures with the animals.

"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."

In New Zealand, where forests, demanding roads, snow, ice, mud and rocks, if not wolves, are much more easily accessible, the award winning Jeep Cherokee range opens with the Cherokee Sport at an RRP of $44,990 excluding on road costs with the 2.4 litre Tigershark engine and with V6 power from an RRP of $54,990 for the Jeep Cherokee Longitude.

The Jeep Cherokee Limited V6 has a recommended retail price of $61,990 excluding on road costs and is now complimented by a Turbo Diesel Cherokee Limited with an RRP of $66,990.

Topping the range is Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk which is equipped with segment-leading off-road technology, including Jeep’s advanced 4WD system featuring a power transfer unit with locking differential and Selec-Terrain system.

Auto Trader New Zealand