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Jeep wins ‘4x4 of the Year’ hat-trick

28th August 2008 Print
Jeep wins ‘4x4 of the Year’ hat-trick

Jeep has won the top prize in three categories of the UK’s biggest on and off-road test of 4x4 vehicles.

4x4 Magazine reviewed 67 vehicles for their annual ‘4x4 of the Year’ test and awarded marks in 10 key buying areas: on-road, off-road, comfort, safety, economy, loading, interior, styling, towing and value-for-money.

John Carroll, Editor of 4x4 Magazine, said: “This test aims to put the latest vehicles through a rigorous test and measure them in real world on- and off-road situations. In a market swamped with new 4x4s, Jeep has retained its mastery in three key segments – Budget, Mid-size and Extreme – with the Patriot, Cherokee and Wrangler.

“The Jeep brand seems to offer something for everyone – a Defender-beating Wrangler for the hardcore off-roader who wants a vehicle with better road manners and interior comfort than the competition. For family buyers, the new Cherokee was a revelation to our judges. It is a vast improvement over the previous model – although better road manners are not at the expense of its mastery off the Tarmac. The fuel efficient Patriot is a deserving winner for Budget 4x4 – on-road dynamics are excellent, with good handling and pleasant ride quality allied to a practical and surprisingly roomy interior. Priced from under £16,000, Jeep has clearly got its sums right.”

Jeep Patriot: winner of Budget 4x4 of the Year

The judges said: “The Patriot is a huge step for Jeep – after all, the US brand built its reputation for ‘proper 4x4s’, with low range gearing and classic styling. However, in today’s green and cost-conscious climate, the Patriot opens up the Jeep legend to a wider audience. This is primarily thanks to a VW-sourced 2.0-litre turbodiesel that stretches fuel economy to over 42mpg, considerably higher than anything a production Jeep could muster in the past; likewise, CO2 is well below average.”

Jeep Cherokee: winner of the Mid-size 4x4 category

“The all-new Cherokee takes Jeep to a new level. Few will quarrel with the new-look interior, which feels both roomier and is decked-out with smarter materials and comfier seats. Gone is the clumsy stable-door tailgate, replaced with a top-opening one-piece item. The rear screen still pops open separately while the boot space is more practical for loading too.

“An improved 2.8-litre turbo diesel provides torque aplenty with smooth six-manual and auto shifters, plus a revised suspension set-up that offers a better on-road drive. Best of all, though, is the Selec Trac II adaptive 4WD system with low range and hill descent control, cementing Jeep’s off-road advantage in this sector.”

Jeep Wrangler: winner of Extreme 4x4 group

“The descendant of the original 4x4 comes out on top as an extreme plaything and lifestyle vehicle. It rivals the Defender for showroom-spec off-road ability and the low-down torque of its 2.8-litre diesel means it comes pretty close to the Land Rover on rough terrain; the Americans will be wondering why they didn’t have a diesel rock-crawling Wrangler sooner. The interior is comfortable and roomy for the driver and front passenger, compared with the Defender’s, and the Wrangler is faster and smoother on-road than the Land Rover. It’s more nimble off-road than the Patrol and doesn’t have that laboured on-Tarmac feel that seems to plague the big Nissan.

“The Jeep is well appointed, with airbags (which the Defender doesn’t offer) and optional sat-nav, automatic gearbox and a soft-top. Price is a plus. It’s a deserving winner.”

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Jeep wins ‘4x4 of the Year’ hat-trick