Jeep takes badging to the extreme
The Oxford English dictionary description of extreme: adj. 1 – reaching a high or the highest degree; exceeding great or intense; exceptional. 2 – severe, stringent; lacking restraint or moderation. 3 – going to great lengths. 4 – outermost, furthest from the centre. 5 – sports; a) Very dangerous or difficult. b) Participating or tending to participate in a very dangerous or difficult sport.
It’s hard to see what it is about the Jeep Cherokee Exteme Sport that makes it worthy of it name. The 3.7-litre V6 with a claimed 201bhp and 230lb-ft of torque certainly sounds impressive and is enough to get a little chirp from the rear wheels when booting it in first gear… but it’s not an extreme experience.
It is pretty sprightly for a big American 4x4 but feels like it would benefit from a manual box. Even the fuel consumption at 21.7mpg is neither extremely good, nor extremely bad for a 3.7-litre that weighs a tad over two tonnes. It’s not even especially extremely styled although the graphite coloured wheel arches and fat 16x7in wheels do give the Jeep Cherokee a distinctive look.
But this is not a vehicle that’s ready to climb Everest – and that’s surely the most pertinent measure of a dedicated off-roader.
It’s not helped by the uncomfortable seats, which are too short and flat in the base and offer little support as the vehicle lumbers around the gentlest of corners.
What the ‘Extreme’ tag might be referring to is the price: at £20,870 it is a staggering £12,927 less expensive than an entry-level Land Rover Discovery 4.0 (and significantly better equipped).
That puts the Cherokee into a whole new light – there’s enough money left to buy a small runaround to act as a support vehicle for extreme ironing.
Strengths: Sharply priced, good off-road
Weakness: Economy, performance, road handling
Opportunity: Fashion accessory
Threat: Ludicrous name tag
The USP: American beefcake
Engine: 3.7-litre 208bhp V6
Transmission: 4sp auto, 4x4
Performance: 0-62mph 10.8sec; top speed 112mph
Efficiency: 20.2mpg comb; 333g/km CO2
Servicing: 7,500 miles
CAP RV (3yr/30k): £10,000 (48%)
Rivals: Land Rover Discovery, Suzuki Grand Vitara, Hyundai Santa Fe