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What Car? says

2 out of 5 stars

For The Cherokee has excellent off-road ability and a good driving position; it's roomy, too

Against The diesel engines are noisy, the petrol engines are thirsty, and running costs are high

Verdict It's a great off-road workhorse, but it's also unrefined and uneconomical

Go for… 2.8 CRD Sport

Avoid… 3.7 V6

Jeep Cherokee 4x4
  • 1. Great off-road - and there's plenty of space for four inside its well-equipped cabin
  • 2. It's generally rugged, but the suspension and axles are the weakest parts, and fixing them can hit your wallet hard
  • 3. Automatic gearboxes on the diesels can jump out of gear, so watch out for that on a test drive
  • 4. Check that recall work on the suspension ball-joints and brakes has been done before you buy
  • 5. Two can sit in the back in comfort, and even three can fit without too much of a push
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Jeep Cherokee 4x4 full review with expert trade views

This Cherokee is far better than the one it replaced. However, it still carries on the tradition of go-anywhere Jeep motoring, both good and bad.

First, the good news. It is a superbly capable tow car and workhorse, and it will keep going long after most rivals get stuck off-road. There’s plenty of space for four inside its well-equipped cabin, and fitting five isn’t too much of a push.

It’s practical, as well. The driving position and large front seats are still comfortable after several hours behind the wheel, and there’s a clear view all round, so it’s easy to park. The boot’s a useful size, too, the rear bench folds easily and the split tailgate has an independently opening glass upper half.

The bad? The Cherokee feels coarse and crude on the road, with a jiggly and unsettled ride, It's also noisy at speed and less agile than many competitors. Of the four available engines, none is really a first choice.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Petrol models have a hard time on the forecourt, CRD Limited better

James Ruppert
Used car guru

While the 3.7 is better than the 4.0 six-cylinder engine of the previous Cherokee, it’s no ball of fire. You have to work it hard to make reasonable progress, so it often sounds strained. It’s also very thirsty. The four-cylinder 2.4 guzzles slightly less, but it isn’t the most refined or the strongest performer.

So, one of the diesels is the default option, and the 2.5 and 2.8 engines both churn out a hefty amount of pull, which is ideal for towing, off-roading and easy-going everyday response. They are far easier on fuel than the petrols, but they still get noisy when revved.

All Cherokees are well equipped even in Sport spec, the entry-level trim, with twin front airbags, anti-lock brakes, air-con and electric windows. Limited trim brings alloy wheels, sat-nav, cruise control and body-coloured bumpers.

Jeep dealers tend to keep hold of the best used ones, but 4x4 specialists turn up some choice examples, too.

Trade view

Duncan McLure-Fisher

Terrible reliability with high failure rates and big bills - watch suspension and air-con

Duncan McLure-Fisher
Managing Director,
Warranty Direct

Servicing at main dealers won’t be cheap - a Nissan X-Trail, Land Rover Freelander and Honda CR-V are all likely to cost less. However, data from Warranty Direct suggests you could cut the labour bill by more than half by going to a reputable independent instead.

If the Cherokee does go wrong, it isn’t cheap to fix, either, and it's likely to be off the road for a few days.

Fuel costs will eat into your wallet, too. The 3.7 V6 returns an official average of just below 22mpg and will give significantly less in town or if you work it hard. The 2.4 petrol should nudge that up to 27mpg, but the diesels are slightly better - 28-29mpg for the 2.8 CRD and 31-32mpg for the 2.5 CRD.

Insurance will also take its toll - it's group 15 for all but the V6, which is 16.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Petrol models have a hard time on the forecourt, CRD Limited better

James Ruppert
Used car guru

Owners have criticised mechanical reliability, but generally the Cherokee is a robust piece of kit.

The suspension and axles are the weakest area, and that can hit your wallet hard. If you come across an automatic gearbox on a diesel model that jumps out of gear, walk away unless you want to risk a big repair bill. There're plenty of others that work just fine.

The cabin trim on a small number of Cherokees can be a bit rattly when it's very young, but Jeep dealers are pretty hot at sorting this out under the three-year, 60,000-mile warranty.

There was also a suspension-related recall in June 2004 - on some vehicles, water could enter the front suspension ball joints, posibly causing them to corrode and separate. There have been a few precautionary brake-related recalls, too, so ensure any Cherokee that catches your eye is up to date on its recalls.

Trade view

Duncan McLure-Fisher

Terrible reliability with high failure rates and big bills - watch suspension and air-con

Duncan McLure-Fisher
Managing Director,
Warranty Direct
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