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The Top Gear car review:Jeep Cherokee
For:Off-road ability, ride comfort, sat nav system
Against:Indecisive gearbox, costly, lack of any distinguishing features
What is it?
Everyone can breathe a sigh of relief – Jeep has facelifted the Cherokee and in the process ditched the squinty-eyed headlights. Phew. We’re all for making cars stand out, but there’s no need to make it a freak show in the process.
Like all facelifts, the surgery is part of an effort to try and keep the Cherokee current, but you get the feeling this is a window-dressing exercise, and that this car is in a holding pattern until the all-new one arrives in a few years’ time.
For proof, look at the engines it gets. Or doesn’t. Whereas rivals have got plug-in this and fully electric that, the Cherokee is soldiering on with a 2.2-litre diesel. It’s the same Multijet unit that appears across a lot of the FCA spectrum, and, in the UK at least, produces 192bhp. Europe also gets a 148bhp version, but us Brits won’t be getting that one. There is a new 2.0-litre turbo petrol coming, with a useful 266bhp, but there’s no UK on-sale date yet.
To be fair, Jeep’s global sales figures are going in the right direction at the moment – that’s upwards – but the smaller Renegade and Compass are providing most of the oomph in Europe. The Cherokee probably won’t give the same sort of push in this part of the world, so the focus is on the cars that are selling well and keep the others ticking over. It makes sense.
The re-styled nose is the big news on the facelift, but there have been other tweaks as well. The rear styling has been tightened up and the interior has had a going over, including an updated sat nav system and a few extra storage cubbies. Exciting stuff…
Jeep is also emphasising the safety kit on the new Cherokee and there’s the usual bucket-load of abbreviations to keep all you acronym-philes happy.
Finally, the front-wheel drive car is now available with the nine-speed auto, or at least it is in Europe. The UK market has chosen not to take it, which is a pity given the fuel economy savings it gives and that, in 99 per cent of driving, you’ll never notice any difference in traction.
What hasn’t been altered is the off-road capability, so not getting stuck is still one of the Cherokee’s trump cards. Assuming you get the all-wheel-drive Cherokee, obviously.
Pricing is a potential sticking point. The numbers aren’t released for the UK yet, but it’s likely to be £40,000 plus and in that sort of territory there are all sorts of rivals who make life uncomfortable for the Cherokee.