Jeep Cherokee (2013-present)

Strong off-road ability and reasonable prices help the Jeep Cherokee stand out. As do controversial looks that you'll either love or hate

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Capable off-road
Plenty of standard equipment
Large boot

Weaknesses 

Bouncy ride
Expensive top-of-the-range versions
Thirsty petrol engines
Jeep Cherokee prices from £11,500   Finance from £194 per month

It wasn't that long ago when Jeep and rival 4x4 manufacturer Land Rover were the only manufacturers offering a range of tough off-roaders, but times have changed and now these two old rivals face competition from sturdy four-wheel drive alternatives to style-centric 'crossover' pretenders that are no more capable off-road than a typical hatchback.

Despite this, Land Rover has kept pace with the times by offering the comfortable and civilised Discovery Sport, however, Jeep’s Cherokee model is beginning to look outgunned by smarter and more sophisticated alternatives.

It still has lots to recommend it, though. It has real heritage for one thing, and it looks ‘toughly stylish’ and, from the front, quite imposing. It’s also pretty handy off-road and it’s competitively priced, at least in entry-level to mid-range form.

There are also lots of trims available from basic Longitude all the way to the expensive 75th Anniversary (that’s how long Jeep has been in the 4x4 business).

Kit levels are good with even Longitude versions having air-conditioning, a digital radio, rear parking sensors and a five-inch touchscreen. Limited, with its larger touchscreen and wireless phone charging, is the best all-rounder. The interior looks stylish and feels well made if nowhere near as polished as those you’ll find in the Mercedes GLC, BMW X3 and Audi Q5.

And then there’s the Cherokee’s sliding rear seat which gives you the option of creating extra rear legroom or a larger boot, which varies in size from 591 to 714 litres. However, with the seats folded down, the resulting load space is smaller than an Audi Q3’s. This hints at other problems, namely the rather cramped passenger space. Rear legroom is especially tight. The Land Rover Discovery Sport, with its two additional seats, is a better all-round package.

Its slightly cramped interior is the first chink in the Cherokee’s armour, the second being its on-road performance. It’s comfortable, which is probably a good thing in most people’s eyes, but it isn’t especially engaging to drive. The steering lacks feel and there’s a fair amount of body lean in corners. The Nissan Qashqai and Ford Kuga strike a better compromise between ride comfort and handling.

The Cherokee’s diesel engines are outclassed by German motors but the recently introduced 2.2 – available in two power outputs – is smooth, punchy and economical, if not especially refined. They make good, relaxed cruisers, though. If you don’t need the extra traction of four-wheel drive, the two-wheel drive versions are cheaper to run, offering greater fuel economy. On that point, the petrol versions are thirsty and best avoided.

Last Updated 

Saturday, August 31, 2019 - 14:45