Jeep is an American legend, the original 4x4 which gave rise to the generic name and, after an absence of many years, it has now returned to our shores with a range of supertough station wagons - the Cherokees -and jeeps - the Wranglers -all of which offer quite remarkable value for money, enormous capabilities at a bargain price.

The Cherokee is a big, bluff, American, offroad, station wagon much in the mould of that other big, bluff, American, John Wayne, solid, dependable, tough as an outdoorsman's boots, not too fancy, a bit unsophisticated but truly does the business in the great outdoors, a real American legend.

Fully loaded is a fair description of the Limited, well trimmed and carpeted, leather seats - all electrically adjustable - and tilt adjustable steering wheel, power steering, electric windows and mirrors, remote central locking, cruise control, standard roof rack, air conditioning, ABS and a 4 speaker RDS stereo, a veritable feast of goodies for the price, the only thing missing being a Davy Crockett hat.

The big square body may be a little unfashionably angular but it contains a truly remarkable amount of space, it's a bit like one of those western movie desert vistas, all wide open spaces, a massive 72 cubic feet of luggage area with the seats folded down, that's about one and a half Buffalo by my rough reckoning.

Some 184 bhp - a whole wagon train of horses - is effortlessly developed by the massive, 4 litre, straight six, engine that is both fuel injected and catalysed and there is enough torque to pull an entire wagon train out of a quicksand. Yet, surprisingly for such a big, lazy, engine, it is so responsive that a light right foot is needed to tame the beast, the Cherokee may be big but it's got a 0-60 time better than many supposed hot hatches.

That Niagara of power gets to the road via a drive train that would handle an articulated truck. A 4 speed, dual range - sport or economy - automatic gearbox is surmounted by an enormous T bar shifter like a Texan's front gate. This chunky box is blessed with near silent shifts and backed up by a transfer box which offers 2 wheel drive and part time or permanent 4 wheel action, all at the flick of a lever.

The interior is also perhaps a little angular to European tastes, a big square dash containing clear instruments and switch gear all laid out well to hand, all reinforcing the tough, solid, no nonsense, image of the car.

Riding on massive knobbly boots, the ride might be expected to be firm but it is surprisingly soft, with well controlled damping and very solid braking from a vented disc/rear drum setup.

The power steering is very light making the big car easy to park and drive in town or off road, very manouevrable and the high riding position giving excellent visibility, as do the large mirrors.

Jeep want the Cherokee and Wrangler to take a fairly big slice of the U.K. 4x4 market and on this showing -and at these prices - it can hardly fail to do so.

  • PRICE £19,245
  • 0-60 9.5 SECONDS
  • 27 MPG [ CONSTANT 56 MPH ]


First Published 1993 - Article © Graham Benge 2007

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