The Chinese giant has added another arrow to its quiver. And this one actually flies
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A new Jeep Cherokee?
Well, a new engine for the new Jeep Cherokee. You see, when the new Jeep Cherokee first returned to the UK following its exile, it only came with a 2.0-litre diesel that wasn’t exactly a firecracker.
Now, there is a 2.2-litre four-cylinder ‘MultiJet’ diesel that replaces the 168bhp version of the old 2.0-litre. It is available with either 182bhp or 197bhp. Guess which one we drove.
What’s that 197bhp version like, then?
Correct. And it’s… nice.
It’s certainly faster than before. Actually, quite a bit faster. Against the engine it replaces, the 197bhp version is 1.5 seconds quicker to 62mph (8.5 seconds), and just one tenth off the range-topping 268bhp V6 petrol-engined Cherokee. Which now puts the Cherokee properly in touch with rivals from Land Rover and BMW.
It’s also faster – 127mph on the top end – cleaner (150g/km of CO2), and more efficient, too (49.6mpg combined).
And to drive?
324lb ft of torque is on offer from 2,500rpm, which kicks in a little later than say, the new 180bhp Ingenium-engined Land Rover Discovery Sport. But when it does arrive, there’s plenty there to keep you amused. It feels strong and plump. Yes, plump.
It’s mostly refined and civilised at family speeds and on the motorway, but, predictably, the engine’s still harsh at the top. It’s not exactly the type of motor vehicle from which you’ll be ekeing out every last rpm - nor is it a racket - but both the Disco Sport and BMW X3 feel yet more calm.
Still, it’s a great improvement on before, and packs a fine overtaking punch.
Anything else of note?
Nope, the Cherokee’s all as it was before. So a nice, comfort-orientated ride (perfect for families), nine-speed auto ‘box that’s best left to it’s own devices, decent steering, plush interior, lots of kit and proper 4x4 ability.
Should I buy one?
You should, if you have £36,975 and like the looks and idea of a Jeep. But the Disco Sport – especially with that new Jag XE-derived Ingenium engine – is just a better all-rounder. Though that Disco boasts less power than this Cherokee, it’s fractionally faster to 62mph, gives more mpg and is still cleaner. Ditto the BMW X3.
So this new Cherokee still needs a bit of tweaking to bring it to the top of the pile, but it’s getting there…