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More off-roadery than many in this sector. Which is cool, but not always useful...

Good stuff

Off-road ability, on-road quietness and comfort, practicality

Bad stuff

Noisy, rough engines and an indecisive automatic gearbox. Naff interior trim. And just look at it…

Overview

What is it?

The Cherokee isn’t the most iconic Jeep, but for we Yoo-ro-peens, it’s probably the most important. If Jeep is to nick market share off Land Rover, the Japanese, and the Germans, it needs this mid-sized family 4x4 to sell handsomely.

If you like your SUVs with credible off-road ability, festooned with interior equipment and yes, decidedly divisive bodywork, then the latest Cherokee ticks the boxes. Though you can spec a front-drive version, it’s the 4x4s that do the heavy lifting. Because go-anywhere ability means freedom. And Jeep thrives on the notion that its products embody that cornerstone of the American dream.

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So, the departure angles and off-road modes and wading depths are gnarly enough that the Cherokee could reconquer the Wild West before a pancake breakfast. But that’s not all we expect from the booming SUV sector these days, is it?

No, but the Cherokee also panders to the premium school run crowd with heated and cooled seats, comprehensive driver assistance and a roomy cabin. Its 2.0 litre diesel engines are of no interest to its homeland, but they’re heartland for European buyers in this segment – even as the diesel house of cards begins to crumble. And the Cherokee benefits from punchy pricing. You’ll pay less, model-for-model, than a BMW X3 or Land Rover Discovery Sport. However, both of those, not to mention the Mercedes GLC and Audi Q5, are more complete everyday cars.

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Our choice from the range

What's the verdict?

True to Jeep's off-road roots, but we'd like more attention on the interior and refinement, please

The Cherokee occupies an awkward middle ground between the likes of the Mazda CX-5 and Skoda Kodiaq, which feel more appropriately specified for everyday UK family use, and the Land Rover Discovery Sport and Audi Q5, which are far more premium options with superior powertrain refinement and driving dynamics. The Jeep’s equipment levels are high, but if that’s a priory, go Korean, we’d suggest.

A Kia Sorento offers more space and will go as far off-road as you’re likely to need, and tow, and swallow seven passengers. And offer a longer warranty. The Cherokee has areas of isolated talent, and is a better motorway cruiser than we’d expected, but in a talented, hotly fought class, its abilities are stretched too thin in too many areas.

The Rivals

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