Jeep Cherokee £40,000 est
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.