Stockport Express

Versatile Jeep rules roads and ravines

- Steve Howarth

THOSE who saw last week’s Motors will know I got to go to the Utah desert and try out Jeep’s latest offering, the new Cherokee Trailhawk… and very impressive it was too.

But it is all very well doing a mountain goat impression over huge boulders and ravines in the blistering heat of a rocky American wasteland… how would the stateside 4x4 cope with the mean streets of Greater Manchester?

Well, in an attempt to be as thorough as possible, I spent a week with the 2015 Cherokee on the somewhat cooler (and a bit wetter) roads of our fair city on my return from the US.

And the first thing I noticed was that, even though my UK car was black and the US one white, the Cherokee somehow looked a lot bigger over here.

Although one thing was definitely smaller as my UK test car was the 2.0-litre Limited diesel while in Utah I was riding the range at the wheel of the V6, 268-bhp 3.2-litre petrol Trailhawk version.

However, apart from Jeep’s terrific Active Drive Lock system for extreme off-road driving on the Trailhawk, the cars were otherwise identical 4x4s.

Part of the test this time was a long motorway round trip of almost 500 miles to take Her Indoors for a weekend stay at a super Surrey countrysid­e pub. It could not have been more different from the extreme off-roading over huge boulders and dried-up river beds of the week before, yet again the Cherokee proved more than up to the challenge.

Mind you, I wish in the desert I had found the switch for one of the car’s party tricks – heated AND cooled seats up front… although it was still refreshing on a warm motorway to have your lower regions chilled out.

Another aspect of the 2015 Cherokee I found particular­ly good was the big, central touch screen to operate everything from those seats through vehicle settings, audio controls and a very easy to use sat-nav system.

And I was glad we were in the 2.0 diesel model as it can top 50mpg on a long run compared to the V6 petrol which returns some 20mpg less.

Over the long weekend to the North Downs I averaged almost 48mpg with no attempt at economy driving – so for once a manufactur­er’s fuel consumptio­n claims do not seem wildly optimistic.

In fact, considerin­g it is a permanent 4x4 system, fuel consumptio­n on the latest Cherokee is very good (especially compared to my old Defender at half that figure) and even better if you can do without drive on every wheel as the 2WD entry level model claims to get 53mpg plus.

Also much appreciate­d by my VIP passenger was the full-length glass sunroof which has an opening front section.

This Cherokee is the latest in a long line of models going back to the late 1980s in the UK and the first models are now becoming popular with the hard-core off-road fraternity. A modded mid 90s model is currently high on my wish list for the big boy’s toy box.

This latest version has proved as competent on road as off over my two very different test adventures and it has to be said that it is also a winner on price. The range starts at just over £26,000 on-the-road for the FWD 2.0 diesel Longitude 140 six-speed manual up to £33,810 for the 2.0 diesel Limited 170 4x4 ninespeed auto.

The extreme off-road ready V6 Trailhawk is £34,865 while for the really brave (and with deeper wallets) Jeep offer an SRT Red Vapor version with a 6.4-litre HEMI V8 throwing out 461bhp at £65,615 o.t.r – which is almost Range Rover territory but it will do 0-62 in just FIVE seconds and is limited to a 160mph top speed.

Find out more at www.

 ??  ?? The striking 2015 Jeep Cherokee’s 2.0 litre diesel can do over 50mpg and, below, your Motors team puts the Trailhawk version through its paces in the Utah desert
The striking 2015 Jeep Cherokee’s 2.0 litre diesel can do over 50mpg and, below, your Motors team puts the Trailhawk version through its paces in the Utah desert
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