Jeep 4x4 at the

pinnacle of luxury

Jeep Grand Cherokee, front
Jeep Grand Cherokee, front
Jeep Grand Cherokee, front
Jeep Grand Cherokee, rear
Jeep Grand Cherokee, interior
Jeep Grand Cherokee, rear

FROM where you sit it won't be at all obvious but those of us involved in car hackery for any length of time are acutely aware of how many PR stalwarts have wandered off in recent months to thegreat golf club called retirement.

Friends who provided us with the facility to drive cars like the Austin Maestro across the mountains of Europe while keeping goat numbers in check.

What this does is to bring into sharp focus the mortality of all our careers.

The signs of ageing.

Like ensuring a comfort visit is taken before setting out to road test and getting an early night complete with the hotel's complimentary hot chocolate.

Little things like wondering how the hell you will get in and out of an MX-5.

An all-nighter no longer means staying in the bar because you have an early flight. It is making it through without needing to get up for a pee.

Another giveaway is reminiscing about cars from the past. How useful the curry hook was and the days when a 4x4 was for chaps with strong forearms and none of this electronic crossover traction nonsense.

Bringing us via the auspices of Messers Darby and Joan to the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

When it first landed on these shores, looking for all the world like a motorised potting shed, the Cherokee was radical, all cowpokes and Marlboro country.

Seven years ago theone we recognise today was launched and Jeep has kept it in the frame through constant tweaking although it is now an ageing workhorse.

However it has many fans, satisfaction surveys do it proud and the Summit version we are looking at here competes with some of the top luxury large off-roaders for what is a very attractive £55,980.

It's only downfall is that others have moved on when it comes to ride handling and efficiency- although I'm not unhappy with 33mpg recorded on board from a car as big and muscular as this diesel V6.

The 271bhp it develops propels the Summit to 62mph in 8.2 seconds but it also emits184g/km of sinfulness.

The eight-speed automatic gearbox is quick enough to respond.

On the road the ride is compromised by the passage of years compared to more modern chassis technology. Yes it leans into corners if pushed but it's an off roader for mud's sake not a hot-hatch.

For several reasons, however, long range work is a joy with the Summit exceptionally well equipped.

Out in the rough you will go further than most across the worst terrain and the car looks like it should for frightening the horses.

There is no seven-seat option but masses of boot space, 782-litres and leg room.

Okay, step into my office.

The interior of the Summit is a joy to sit in with high-quality everywhere and top-notch leather upholstery.

If something can be electrified it has been from seats to tailgate. An 8.4-inch touchscreen dominates the operations area and housesthe navigator, rear-view camera and other essentials.

There is a panoramic sunroof, deep tint glass for the shy, trailer sway assist and a host of safety features like blind spot monitoring, collision warning and an active noise suppressing system which really makes for a quiet ride.

Driving modes are selectable and the front seats are ventilated. If that isn't enough the Summit parks itself as well.

As expected every function of note is automated.

It may not be the pinnacle of modern technology in some ways but as they say in potato, if not urban cowboy, country Summit to write home about.

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