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First drive: Jeep Commander – on sale now



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According to Jeep, its new imposing Commander is a response to customers’ requests for a more rugged and unique looking off-roader.

The new Jeep is a striking looking vehicle, and deliberately harks back to the classic boxy look of the first Cherokee that sold well in the UK in the early Nineties.

There is a considerable following for the classic Jeep design in the UK and those devotees will certainly like the shape – but whether floating buyers will be persuaded is another matter.

Jeep says it wants to take on the likes of the Land Rover Discovery and Volvo XC90 but its more natural rivals are inclined to be offerings from Japan.

It is the first Jeep to offer standard three-row seating and is able to accommodate seven passengers. Access to the third row is not particularly easy, but the row can be fold flat.

Its off-road capabilities are superb and the Quadra-Drive II system makes tackling everything from tracks to rocky inclines a breeze. But the on-road handling echoes the classic design – in other words, it’s dated.

Two engines are available, but it’s the strong 3.0-litre CRD which is the obvious choice – it will account for 90% of sales.

For buyers wanting something that really stands out or who want a serious but premium mud-plugger, then the Jeep makes a compelling choice.

Price: £27,490-34,535
Engines: 3.0-litre diesel: 215bhp, 5.7-litre Hemi: 322bhp
Performance: 0-62mph: 7.4-9.0sec; top speed: 118-129mph
Transmission: Five speed auto
Efficiency: 18.2-26.2mpg; 284-368g/km CO2
Rivals: Shogun, Landcruiser
Strengths: Great off road ability
Weaknesses: Soft ride, poor on road handling
Opportunity: Rugged offering
Threat: Styling will not appeal to all
USP: Jeep goes back to its roots

Will the Cherokee put Jeep on the road to recovery?

Jeep expects the new, higher-quality Cherokee to almost triple its annual registrations

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