My Jeep Cherokee just wants to sing to me, all the time…


Lordy, I think I’ve clocked up considerably more miles in the Cherokee than intended. The crazy beep alarm is still driving me nuts (I think it’s a speed camera warning) but now that sound has been joined by something even less melodic.

The tyre pressure monitoring system suddenly let me know today that there was absolutely no air on the rear near-side wheel at all. All rather unnverving when you are tootling along at 70mph.

Anyway, as expected, the pressure was fine but there is now a fault warning that occasionally sounds and makes me wonder if I really have run over an armour-plated hedgehog.

We’ve done a good 800 miles now in thick fog, down icy tracks and at high speed on the M1. The Jeep is a perfectly adequate SUV but I’m not sure it would stop me buying the visually more appealing Range Rover Evoque.

I guess it’s horses for course…


The Jeep Cherokee is easy on the eye… but not the ears


My slit-eyed SUV is appealing to the local great and good taking part in today’s shoot. Not sure it’s the macho appearance of the Cherokee, more the cool, green colour.

That said, I really don’t ‘feel’ like I’m driving a £40k vehicle. Last week’s Volvo S90 was cheaper but it had a more luxurious touch. Or maybe I’m just getting old…

The hunt crew like a rufty-tufty 4×4 and, of course, I do know the Cherokee will cut it in the rough stuff. You can change the drive settings on the move so that it performs better on mud or snow.

There’s also a ‘Sport’ setting which I recommend you switch on every time the car is started. It gives the Jeep a dose of power sadly missing from the standard mode.

Oh and the beeping noise continues to annoy. Any idea why? Answers on an email please…

The beeping truth about driving home for Christmas in a Jeep Cherokee


I’ve done the driving home for Christmas bit – Jeep, dog and myself heading off with the rest of Britain for a few days.

Cherokee is pulling plenty of admiring looks but inside it’s a different story. I’m frustrated – not by the performance or comfort. No, it’s one of those warning alarms that I can’t turn off.

In fact, I can’t find the source for hundreds of miles. Which means every Christmas track I play is interupted with a double beep, for mile after mile after mile.

I’ve turned off the lane departure warning system, the Drive Assist, speed camera warning – I’ve even checked the all the doors are properly closed.

And now I’m back home and the bloody thing is still bleeping. Infuriating…

Jeep Cherokee – the strange case of the angled steering wheel…


Can’t deny the interior of the Cherokee isn’t a step up from previous versions. This Anniversary Edition has stitches of leather too – and a whopping sunroof.

Try as I might, however, I can’t quite get the driving position right. Me – 5ft 10ins / Car – multi-electric seats and bolsters. What’s the problem?

Turns out to be the angle of the steering wheel. Despite telescopic adjustment, it won’t quite sit at 90 degrees to my torso. So it feels like I’m driving a bus rather than a plush SUV.

I’m also bamboozled by the infotainment system. With controls for the heated seats among a rash of options, it’s a tad overcomplicated. I guess you’d get used to it but there are enough buttons and dials beneath the screen to suggest a more user-friendly set-up might have been found.

Otherwise the Cherokee has lots of cubby holes and huge arm-rest bin – plus one of the top of the dash itself. It’s a decent place to sit but that driving position is going to bug me…

It’s all about the colour, sweetie… Jeep’s cool Cherokee paint job


Forget the squinty headlights and tiny wheels, what makes the Cherokee 75th edition stand out on arrival is the colour!

There are six paint pots to choose from but ours came wrapped for Christmas in Recon Green – and it totally looks the part.

Manufacturers seem to have lost the plot when it comes to paint these days. But I’d rather pay a little extra to have something to make a car stand out from the crowd.

The 75th Edition Cherokee scores massively on style, especially as most mid-size SUVs look like they were designed by a child working with a pen-knife and cardboard box.

Good start then but I’m already wondering why the internet is littered with three star reviews for the Cherokee. I wonder what’s inside…

The perils of borrowing somebody’s car – and the Volvo with windows that open on their own


Seems our week-long test of the S90 is about to come to a premature end. I haven’t stuffed it into a reindeer but the test car has developed a rather novel problem.

Now over the years there has been a few bizarre loan vehicles moments. There was a Proton where the horn refused to turn off, an Alfa Romeo that ran out of fuel when parked on a hill – oh and the recent Caterham with windscreen wipers that packed up in a downpour.

We hit a kangaroo in the Jeep Grand Cherokee in Australia and I can’t think how many thousands of pounds worth of damage was caused when a colleague forgot there were bicycles strapped to the roof of a Range Rover. The filling station canopy was very low…

The Volvo? Well, sometimes when I press the ‘lock’ button on the keyfob, all four electric windows open fully, leaving the car less than secure.

It’s unusual, almost funny but probably not that safe to park on the driveway…

The S90 – at last, a big Volvo saloon you might actually want to drive?


Unless you’re shacked up in Sweden, it’s unlikely that you have ever sat in an executive Volvo saloon. Like large French cars, nobody in Britain has bought a Scandinavian cruiser in years.

We’ve had big Volvos in the past of course, but the lumbering S80 was so outdated you wondered who the hell was buying them.

Well, now they have a new saloon and the S90 is a massive step into the future. It’s very much aimed at German car buyers, as Volvo basks in the success of the XC90 SUV, which has attracted a whole new army of premium market buyers to the brand.

Massive inside, beautifully appointment and loaded with an extraordinary amount of technology, the S90 ticks a lot of boxes. We’re driving it for a week to see if it’s as good in the real world as it is on paper…

A bluffer’s guide to driving the McLaren 570S…


Here is a bluffers guide to driving a McLaren 570 GT (or any other Mclaren for that matter!).

  1. The wing doors need less space to open than a conventional door – although one needs to open them fully to gain access (there’s no half way point).
  2. Be careful in a low-roof multi-storey as there have been cases of the doors hitting the roof.
  3. Set aside some time to understand the infotainment system. It’s not as intuitive as it could be but otherwise functions well.
  4. The heating controls and heated seats are accessed via the system too.
  5. The car has a USB port well-hidden in the centre arm-rest.
  6. Finally, the electric seat adjustment buttons are among the silliest I’ve ever used.
  7. Enjoy!

The McLaren 570 GT is always spoiling for a fight…


It’s said to be the most road-biased McLaren to date but don’t go thinking the 570 GT is anything less than a supercar.

Like a thoroughbred Lamborghini, Porsche or Aston Martin, the ‘softer’ cabin materials and lush trim can’t hide the fact this GT is capable of 204mph and 0-60mph in under four seconds.

It also has that supercar ability to male you feel like you are travelling at 50mph when the speedo is registering 75mph.

That twin turbo V8 is barely audible in the cabin at low speed – then rips into life when you find an open road long enough to enjoy the power it can serve up.

The 570 GT is impressive to look at and drive. It’s also spoiling for fight whenever the opportunity arrises..

The McLaren 570 GT – an everyday supercar that makes you feel like a hero


It’s difficult to criticise the 570 GT. It’s not perfect but I can’t think of a more usable ‘everyday’ supercar.

What’s especially wonderful about the McLaren is that it is easy to drive. Just as the Golf GTI makes every driver feel like a hero, the McLaren instils confidence.

I still have issues with the infotainment system, which isn’t as intuitive as it could be – and windscreen wipers that take an age to activate.

Otherwise it’s a car you want to be in all the time. If you’re ever lucky enough to drive one, savour every minute….