Most people who have seen the new Jeep Cherokee will agree that it is a good looking vehicle. Lined up in Vospers Exeter Jeep showroom they are a gleaming sight to behold. But, is it a case of all talk and no action? There is one person we know who could really put the Cherokee through its paces to see if it can perform off-road as well as on road. Our friend and off road expert, Nick Agg-Manning of Outdoor Adventure Consultants was on hand to put the Jeep Cherokee through its paces. Here’s what he had to say…

Driving the new Jeep Cherokee out of the Vosper’s Honiton Road, Exeter showroom, the morning after a huge thunder storm augured well. The off road area I was going to would really test this new car and its ability to negotiate the terrain.

However, there is just so much fantastic technology to learn first: I spent some time studying all that was laid before me in the extremely roomy cockpit with its raised driving profile giving me a fantastic all round visibility.

The main screen carries all you could wish for by way of information and guidance: a fantastic radio/media section; truly prompt and accurate SatNav; technical settings; climate control; Bluetooth telephone connection and more. In addition, square in front of you in the driving position, is a further display confirming any ‘Terrain Settings’ you might have chosen along with a digital speedo.

I was in the Manual Limited Edition, 2.0 litre Diesel engine capable of offering me 350NM of torque at just 1500RPM – and this was so evident as I glided away from my layby and filtered onto the main carriageway. Quickly through the 6 speed manual gearbox, with the most tactile gear lever I have ever held, we were purring up the dual carriageway effortlessly overtaking the more sluggish vehicles. The central display gave me some ‘shift’ prompts, but the purr of the engine was a better guide as to when to change gear, although the pull away in 6th hardly created the consideration for the need to ‘drop a cog’!

We duly arrived safely at The Deer Park Hotel, where I have recently designed a quite technical 4×4 area, mainly for full on, permanent Off Road Vehicles, but, today, with some slip in the ground, I thought we would see what this new Cherokee would do in such conditions.

Using the new Selec-Terrain System, I chose an off road setting in Sand/Mud which automatically optimises the efficiency of the rear axle disconnect system, seamlessly switching between 2 and 4 wheel drive as determined by the torque management system. We descended without any slippage what so ever, and then started our climb out, steep and wet with the storm, we rode up the ascent with ease, needing some powerful traction control at the top to negotiate the logs!

Trying to remember that this car is not a permanent 4×4 came as a surprise as we negotiated the rough tracks down to and through the river ……not a murmur of complaint from my Jeep!

The difference this car is to my 2003 version is un-describable – on road it is a thoroughbred stallion of a car, charging forth at the touch of the throttle from almost any gear and, then, once in the countryside, on wet tracks, grass and mud, it kept me going with consummate ease and all at 35.3 miles per gallon!

There are so many options available to add onto the package – but, quite frankly, the True Blue Limited Edition I drove with gorgeous, 18” rims, solid body feel and receptive controls, gave me all I would wish for – all in all a superb piece of engineering.

Thanks Nick, you’re one of the few people we know who get excited about miserable weather! It certainly sounds like you put the Jeep Cherokee through its paces. Find out more about off-road experiences with Nick at www.oacltd.co.uk