Jeep Grand Cherokee

3.0 CRD Overland

Jeep Grand Cherokee, front action
Jeep Grand Cherokee, front static
Jeep Grand Cherokee, front static 2
Jeep Grand Cherokee, side offroad
Jeep Grand Cherokee, side static
Jeep Grand Cherokee, boot
Jeep Grand Cherokee, rear seats
Jeep Grand Cherokee, dashboard
Jeep Grand Cherokee, sunroof

THE sheep didn't even look up from their non-stop chewing when the big Jeep burbled off road towards them.

Perhaps they'd seen it all before, as a farmer headed for the bottom field in a car that laughs at grassy knolls and makes mincemeat of a furrow or two.

Except that this particular Jeep - from a car maker simply piling on sales in the UK - is much too posh to make everyday transport for someone whose workaday footwear is closely associated with the contents of a sheep's digestive system.

No, the gentle off roading was simply to see how the Grand Cherokee would handle the sort of terrain it might encounter in reality, which means a polo field car park or the playing field when the Under 15s have a home game.

And it handled it with ease, of course. Like its closest rival, the Land Rover Discovery, this machine is built to take on the really rough stuff.

The sort of mud plugging, rocky mountain trail torture you like to watch on video before you buy but would never risk your own car's paintwork in copying.

Good to know the Grand Cherokee will do it though. With four-wheel drive, huge ground clearance and an automatic gearbox ready to drop into extra low ratios at the push of a button, it's ready for almost anything.

If life in the real world means this big, heavy car needs to be a decent drive on the road, it makes a convincing case for itself. Sitting up high with a wide angle view of the world down the long bonnet is a good start.

Then, there's a punchy diesel engine that hums away in the background (after a growly start from cold) and provides all the performance you'll ever need, with an instant downchange in the smooth automatic gearbox to help make overtaking an exercise in relaxed progress.

The huge fuel tank (93.5 litres, or more than 20 gallons) won't need filling as often as you might fear; the test car recorded 34mpg, which promises an easy 600 miles between fill ups if you don't drive the car up mountains or too fast to the weekend cottage.

Wherever you head in the Grand Cherokee you'll be sitting in a car so well equipped it lacks for almost nothing in the Overland level of the car on test. The range starts at £38,895 for a lower powered diesel and tops out at £63,995 for a tarmac melting petrol V8, bought by only few.

Standard kit on the Overland is comprehensive enough to make a Discovery blush and includes goodies like a huge sunroof, adaptive cruise control, powered and heated front seats (and heat in the rear too), satellite navigation (via a big screen), leather upholstery, rear view camera and a powered tailgate.

Also standard is air suspension, which lowers a little to let you climb in and out and provides a comfortable ride on most surfaces, only having to work obviously hard on pockmarked roads where you can sense the big alloy wheels being held under control.

The all-electronic instrument panel is as clear as it gets, with an optional digital speed readout you could read from the car behind. It also easily gives you details like transmission oil temperature and tyre pressures if you're a techie type.

FAST FACTS

Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0 CRD Overland

Price: £48,195

Mechanical:247bhp, 2,987cc, 6cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 126mph

0-62mph: 8.2 seconds

Combined MPG:37.7

Insurance Group: 41

C02 emissions: 198g/km

Bik rating: 34%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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