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…

Are V8s like the BMW M6 about to follow the dinosaurs into extinction?


Some people think the age of big-engined, normally aspirated V8s is coming to an end. Even Porsche is going small turbo instead – are car’s like our BMW M6 the last of the dinosaurs?

Well, I for one hope not. I’m reminded of that wonderful piece-to-camera Clarkson did with the Aston Martin Vantage V12 a few years back. The car made him sad because he knew it was the end of an era.

There’s nothing like the rumble of a 5.0-litre monster on start up – the massive grunt when you floor it and the shove in your back. Somehow a turbo just doesn’t do it the same.

Car Couture is off to Australia today to try another potential dinosaur – the Jeep SRT. A 6.4-litre SUV that’s available in the UK but hugely overlooked. Join us in a few days for a 1,500-mile return trip up the Coral Coast…

Why motoring photographers love the Jeep Wrangler for tracking shots


July 5 Ask any motoring photographer and they will tell you that their least favourite job is a tracking shot – shooting from car to car, often hanging out of a sunroof or side window.

I’ve seen countless near disasters over the years – photographers falling out, scratching the back of their heads on branches and losing pieces of equipment on the roadside.

Car’s aren’t designed to be photographic platforms – apart from the Jeep Wrangler. It’s quite brilliant because the split opening tailgate means the photographer can sit safely in the boot with the glass screen open.

Of course, the Range Rover is equally as good but the Jeep has a larger window aperture, which snappers love. I obviously can’t advocate sitting in the boot of a moving vehicle, but you get the picture, don’t you?

The Jeep Wrangler is sadly a bit too retro in the manner it drives too…


July 4 Stephen, the Welsh doorman at The Milestone in Kensington, has driven almost as many cars as me. Parking is tight outside the hotel, which means he’s shifted everything from Bentleys to Bugattis to avoid the traffic wardens.

Being a fisherman, he likes a 4×4 and was almost as excited about moving the Wrangler as a Rolls. His verdict? He loves the way the Jeep stands out from the crowd of SUVs, the retro look and the huge, comfortable seats.

I get all that but have to point out to Stephen that the Jeep is also ‘retro’ in the way it drives on-road. It might be cool to look at but even something from Vauxhall is more exciting to steer.

So I’m not sure Stephen will be saving his tips towards buying one of these. Besides, he has access to an old Defender that will take him home to Cardiff on Wednesday night for the biggest game in Welsh football history…

The Jeep Wrangler is a better all-round proposition than the iconic Land Rover Defender


July 3 It would easy to forget that the Jeep Wrangler always was an off-road vehicle. That’s what it was designed for and, just like the Land Rover Defender, it works best in the mud.

The only vehicle I own is a Landie but even I have to admit that the Wrangler is far better on road than the Defender ever was. Yep, it’s actually comfortable and you can hold a conversation inside the cabin without the use of sign language.

The Defender is no more but after 350 miles in the Jeep, it genuinely feels like a better proposition, if you want a vehicle that can crash across a muddy field and then sit comfortably on the motorway at speed.

Don’t go thinking the Wrangler is refined though! It’s very much an acquired taste and really has to be worked hard to return any sort of performance. But it is now the only viable alternative to a Defender and deserves your attention…

Sluggish but perfectly formed to win the cool stakes – Jeep Wrangler


June 30 I refuse to open the handbook on any car – unless the engine has dropped out. For me, every dashboard should be intuitive, straightforward and simple.

BMW found this out the hard way with their system in the 2005 5 Series. Chris Bangle did a sparkling job designing the car – then the techies made a complete hash of the infotainment system.

Which is why I have been struggling to connect my phone to the Bluetooth system in the Wrangler. I know it’s there somewhere but me and the car are now locked in a battle of wills and I’m not going to lose!

Today we travelled down to Dorset. The Jeep performed admirably on the motorways but does tend to wallow on A-road corners. There’s also limited acceleration from the 2.8 diesel when you need to overtake or sprint away from a junction.

I can forgive the Wrangler though because it looks so damn good – even next to a Defender it wins the cool contest hands down. Now, where’s that manual…

The last of the rugged off-roaders….Jeep Wrangler


The last time Car Couture tested a Wrangler we loved it. In fact, it was a blast to drive and rather memorable. Unashamedly rugged, it chucks mud in the eye of the current rash of SUVs that pretend to be serious off-roaders.

Yes, the styling is a throwing back to the original Willy’s Jeep of 75 years ago but it has the same sort of retro appeal you only get with a handful of new cars these days – like the forthcoming Fiat 124 sports car and VW Beetle.

With cars like these, styling plays a massive part in the buying decision – you either love it, or hate it. I’m definitely all for those crazy front wings and the box-shaped cabin.

The Overland sits between the entry-level Sahara and special order Rubicon models. Regardless of trim levels, it’s just one of those machines that lures you in. The visual appeal is almost overwhelming and seven days in the Wrangler should cure me of recent memories of the soul-less Renegade…