Jeep Cherokee 2.2

MultiJet Auto

Limited

Jeep Cherokee, full front
Jeep Cherokee, front static
Jeep Cherokee, front (2)
Jeep Cherokee, side static
Jeep Cherokee, rear static
Jeep Cherokee, dashboard

DRIVE enough new cars and you quickly discover any auto manufacturer can make a model stack up better than the opposition - and show you how on paper.

Or, in the case of Jeep, show you on the last page of the online price list, where the Cherokee makes an apparently unassailable case for itself.

So, against a named opposition of Audi Q5, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Volvo XC60 and BMW X3 the contender from the USA costs less and comes with more standard kit.

Actually, dig a bit deeper into the comparison and you discover the Jeep is not top dog on fuel consumption, exhaust emissions or company car tax - but is the only car to blow cooling air through the front seats and charge some mobile phones without plugging them in.

Do those dual advantages merely reinforce a stereotype - Americans go for comfort and convenience while the Europeans get on with building cars with a broader spread of virtues?

Or do they prove you can prove anything with a list compiled by someone out to make a point?

Well, after a week and several hundred miles in the latest Cherokee, I conclude firmly that the latter applies. This is a tough cookie, wrapped in handsome clothes and as well kitted out as can be.

And with a 2.2-litre diesel engine, new to the car since its introduction in 2014, the Cherokee has a powerful weapon in its armoury. It showed 44mpg at the end of the test, actually an improvement on the 43mpg recorded a couple of years before in a 2.0-litre version (still available and supporting the base of the range, from £26,345).

That car does with front-wheel drive only but still looks well equipped for an entry level model, with cruise control, electric adjustment for the driver's seat, DAB and Bluetooth, powered tailgate and dual zone climate control on the list of goodies.

Move to the Limited trim of the test car and the kit count multiplies to include a big touch screen with excellently clear satellite navigation, 18 inch alloys, leather trim, high intensity headlamps - and the wireless charging pad and ventilated front seats mentioned above already.

Also included is a four-wheel drive system that can be warned from a cockpit control you're on sand or mud but stays in front-drive, to the benefit of economy, unless it knows the rear wheels are needed to grip too. It all happens in the blink of an eye, of course.

For full on off-roaders there's the Trailhawk version with off-road suspension, all season tyres (and all season floor mats!) but the downside of a thirsty 3.2-litre petrol engine and £39,205 price. Bet you don't spot one of those today.

I didn't feel remotely short changed in my diesel version, which sounded gruff and grumpy from a cold start in the morning but soon settled down to a distant hum.

There's plenty of performance on tap, with a super smooth nine-speed automatic gearbox slurring the changes through in relaxed fashion. You could sense the suspension working hard on a poorer British road but the Cherokee always wants to settle down and let you enjoy the journey.

FAST FACTS

Jeep Cherokee 2.2 MultiJet Auto Limited

Price: £37,245

Mechanical: 197bhp, 2,184cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving 4 wheels via 9-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 127mph

0-62mph: 8.5 seconds

Combined MPG: 49.6

Insurance Group: 36

C02 emissions: 150g/km

Bik rating: 28%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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