THE days of the gas-guzzling four-by-four are just about over.
Latest family SUVs boast meagre thirst thanks to new technology beneath the bonnet and weight saving materials around the body.
Just a year after it made its debut the Jeep Cherokee received a new diesel engine that slashes fuel costs yet boosts power.
The new 2.2 MultiJet, replacing a 2.0-litre unit, has added muscle thanks to a hike of up to 57bhp raising output to an impressive 197bhp.
Despite the extra urge which slices two seconds off the 0-62mph time - now a nifty 8.7 seconds - economy has benefited and almost 50mpg is officially possible, with the low 40s being an everyday likelihood in real world driving.
Not only has the latest Fiat engine reduced running costs and perked up the performance but it's smoother and quieter than its predecessor.
Coupled with a new nine-speed automatic gearbox the five door all-paw is a far more complete package, making it better equipped to challenge acknowledged market leaders such as BMW X3, Audi Q5 and Discovery Sport.
The Cherokee, while looking thoroughly contemporary with its distinctive high-set headlights, is immediately recognisable as a Jeep by its hallmark seven vertical bar grille design.
I drove the £36,795 Limited version, which comes packed with tasty goodies including dual climate control, leather seating, DAB radio with sat-nav and touch screen, heated front seats and front and rear parking sensors.
A sliding glass sunroof is a £1,095 extra and the technology pack which includes blind spot monitoring and lane departure system costs £2,000.
There's ample space for four adults, and maybe five if necessary within the stylish cabin with generous legroom front and back, partly thanks to the high seating position. Bottle holders, cubbies and oddment storage boxes abound making it easy family transport.
The boot, though generously sized allowing 592 litres of cargo, has a high platform on to which luggage must be lifted. With rear seats folded capacity increases to 1,267 litres.
The Limited gets a power tailgate which I found more a hindrance than a help because of its slow-witted reaction.
The facia is well laid out with easy to operate controls and a large 8.4in touch screen dominating the central dash. You need a steady hand to operate the screen's various functions, which isn't always easy over rough terrain. A traditional pull-on handbrake is set between the front seats.
Four wheel drive allows the Cherokee to explore off road and live up to its tough, outdoor reputation.
Ride standard on the road is comfortable and controlled with an acceptable amount of body-roll during spirited cornering. Rippled surfaces can cause it to become a little fidgety but overall it copes with everything in its path.
With bags of torque - 440Nm at 2,500rpm to be precise - the Cherokee is well up to the task of towing and has a 2.5-tonne capacity, making it a good choice for caravaners.