Auto stop-start technology has been offered in Europe for the better part of a decade, but its rollout in the U.S. market has been more gradual, as automakers believed American buyers would balk at its clunky and abrupt operation. But wider availability of hybrids, as well as more sophisticated controls and smoother operation, are making the feature more palatable to the mass market. The latest model to receive the technology is the 2015 Jeep Cherokee with the 3.2L Pentastar V-6. Although Chrysler has not yet made any declarations in terms of EPA-rated fuel economy, the company is claiming a real-world 3-percent fuel efficiency improvement.
This is the second large-scale implementation of auto stop-start within Chrysler's corporate fleet, with the Ram 1500 the first to offer the fuel-saving element. The feature will be offered on the four-cylinder Chrysler 200 midsize sedan shortly after its rollout in the Cherokee. Jeep Cherokee models equipped with auto stop-start are expected in showrooms in the third quarter of 2014. A higher-capacity battery is used to maintain feature functions when the engine is not running. Chrysler claims the re-start time is only 0.3 seconds. In addition to the auto stop-start system, the '15 Cherokee gets an adaptive throttle system that responds more intuitively based on driver input.