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Jeep Cherokee: Test Drive

Date: 15 August 2008   |   Author: David Motton

Category: Small 4x4
P11D price: £25,140
Key rival: Land?Rover Freelander

It's telling that Jeep's best-selling model in the UK is now the Patriot. With its low P11D value and modest emissions it makes sense to business drivers in a way Jeep's bigger, thirstier models don't.

Take the new Cherokee. Yes, it is more economical and pumps out less CO2 than the old model (although that was hardly a challenging benchmark), but it still lags behind most rivals. In auto form it emits 242g/km, which puts the Jeep in the 35% tax band, while a BMW X3 2.0-litre diesel auto is in the 26% bracket and a Volvo XC60 diesel auto is in the 34% band.

Nonetheless, there are compensations to choosing the Jeep over these competitors, not least of which is the car's ability off-road. There's full-time four-wheel drive and a set of low ratios for really rough and steep ground, backed up by a range of electronic aids. The most impressive is the Hill Descent Control. While single-speed hill descent aids are quite commonplace, Jeep's system will hold the car at a range of speeds from just 1mph in first gear to 7.5mph in 'drive'. It gives really fine control on steep slopes.

Clever stuff, but most drivers will be more concerned with how...