Jeep Cherokee

Jeep Cherokee £40,000 est

Top Gear (UK) - - CONTENTS - PIERS WARD

FACELIFTED CHEROKEE LOOKS BET­TER, BUT WE’D STRUG­GLE TO REC­OM­MEND IT

Just like Trump’s White House, the Jeep Cherokee has a prob­lem with com­mu­ni­ca­tion: it’s dif­fi­cult to ex­plain why you’d buy one over a Com­pass, let alone the more reg­u­lar ri­vals. The main is­sue is that the car lacks iden­tity, it just doesn’t have the inim­itable Jeep at­ti­tude that, say, the Wran­gler has by the shed load.

How­ever, what this facelift does have are new head­lights. Also, the rear styling has been tweaked, the sat­nav has been up­dated as part of an in­te­rior re­fresh (the Cherokee now has Ap­ple CarPlay and An­droid Auto), there are mi­nor sus­pen­sion al­ter­ations and, in Europe at least, the front-wheel-drive op­tion is now avail­able with the nine-speed auto ’box. An­noy­ingly, here in the UK, Jeep has elected not to take that ver­sion.

The Cherokee isn’t due to launch here un­til early 2019, and even then engine choices are lim­ited. To one. Our only choice is the 2.2-litre 192bhp Mul­tiJet. A 2.0-litre petrol is due at some point, but there’s no word yet on whether the UK will get it. And any­one hop­ing for a plug-in will have an even longer wait – it ain’t com­ing.

So, to the 2.2 diesel. It’s an un­re­mark­able engine – just about quiet enough, just about quick enough, but the real dis­ap­point­ment is the CO2 fig­ure: 175g/km is a long way off the class best. And that’s based on the old NEDC fig­ures – the new, more rig­or­ous, WLTP test will make it even less com­pet­i­tive.

Ride and han­dling are, like the engine, a bit mid­dling. It’s com­fort­able and easy to drive, but the steer­ing’s numb and it doesn’t cor­ner as well as ri­vals, de­spite hav­ing in­de­pen­dent front and multi-link rear sus­pen­sion. Again, noth­ing to dis­tin­guish it.

Which is a pity. With all the her­itage, a Jeep should be able to sell it­self – take a peek at the back cat­a­logue and you’ll be scan­ning the clas­si­fieds for SJ Chero­kees in no time. We can’t see the same thing hap­pen­ing with this one in 30 years’ time.

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