From £27,545
Decent off-road ability here, but Japanese rivals do a better job of bridging the gap between 4x4 and everyday use.

Our Verdict

Jeep Cherokee

Can Italian tech put this once-rugged off-roader ahead of the pack, or is the Cherokee lost in an increasingly large crowd of superior family SUVs?

17 January 2006

What’s new?

Technical tweaks and price cuts for Jeep’s answer to the Land Rover Freelander, with previously unavailable ESP standardised across the range.

Sport versions like our test car also get alloy wheels and a spare wheel cover included in the price, which undercuts ’05 model year cars by £360 at £19,890 (£20,890 for the auto). The top-spec Limited also gets a price cut, dropping by £1035 to £22,490 for the manual and £23,490 for the auto, despite the addition of satellite navigation, part-leather trim and an electric sunroof to the standard equipment list.

What’s it like?

Noisy, particularly under hard acceleration when the punchy diesel does a fine impression of a decade-old tractor, and thirsty – around town even this diesel’s fuel consumption dropped into the teens. Knobbly off-road tyres don’t help, bringing a constant hum of road noise into the Jeep’s plasticky cabin.

The combination of those tyres and 295lb ft of torque at 1800rpm do provide a good test for the stability control, which has to work hard if you try to drive briskly on wet roads. To its credit it reacts relatively subtly, and even when switched off it will step in if it senses impending doom.

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Should I buy one?

We wouldn’t recommend it unless you need the Jeep’s off-road ability. For Tarmac use the refined Honda CR-V and entertaining Toyota RAV4 are much more appealing prospects.

Alastair Clements

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