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Cheap Jeep

Apr 11, 2008
When it comes to building stuff, the Americans don't do things by halves. Whether it's adding to a cityscape with a moon-prodding skyscraper, jetting off to said moon, building the SR-71 'Blackbird' - the fastest plane ever (2,193.167 MPH!), or constructing a colossal super-sized meal, the US rules supreme. But before we get carried away with Uncle Sam, in motoring terms they've been...well...unremarkable, shall we say. So whilst sports cars don't handle and stick you into a hedge backwards and saloons possess suspension that breaks your back at the mere sight of a pebble, Americans go elsewhere. The biggest selling style of vehicle is anything big and with four-wheel drive, and this is where Jeep come in. The words 'cheap jeep' may not seemingly fit together - one look at the shear size of a Cherokee or Grand Cherokee (that'll be the model range, not native Americans) has your wallet popping a cyanide capsule, but you'll be pleasantly surprised.

For a tad under 15 grand (UK Money) you can jump on the Jeep bandwagon and have a sparkly new Cherokee all to yourself (that'll be the model name not an Indian - is this going to get tiresome?) Right lets start at the beginning - other than being cheap, Jeep has a lot going for it. A brief history lesson would inform you that Jeep are the oldest Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV to you and me) manufacturer, beating even long-established companies like Land Rover. Heritage counts for a lot, plus once you've been making SUVs for 67 years, you must be doing something right.

One look at American roads will have you gazing into the distance without seeing a single bend, the horizon gobbling up the tarmac until it's out of sight. Faced with this mundane terrain and the alternative - vast mountainous deserts and cactus lined off-road passes, Jeep came to a simple conclusion that was probably along the lines of: "if we make sure it can handle a desert, then geez man, a straight road in Chicago ain't gonna be a problem". Owning a Jeep affords you the luxury of cruising comfortably on the motorway, safe in the knowledge that the American (or in my case British) countryside holds no fear should you turn off at the next junction and head for the hills.

Now obviously an SUV isn't built to climb Mount Everest but that's because it'd be foolish to assume everyone is going to drive off-road all the time. We all know the school run will far outweigh the amount of times the Jeep will contend with anything taller than a blade of grass. It is however the combination of having the ability to tackle tough terrain and driving something that is built to withstand it that is key. The Jeep Wrangler for example is the US Army's company car. Essentially, four big wheels, a seat and steering wheel, the only time this vehicle encounters a school is defending one in a war. It is arguably, the most robust, go-anywhere vehicle available to buy today, but is far too small and workmanlike for a mother of three.

The aforementioned Cherokee and Grand Cherokee ranges however, give you Wrangler bullet-proof suspension and reliability whilst lapping air conditioning over you and your leather seats. Ok so which Jeep is it to be? The Cherokee as mentioned earlier, is the entry level model, offering the usual refinements for a price that pits it against the likes of the Ford Focus and the Vauxhall Astra. In the jam packed world of the hatchback, the Cherokee offers a bit of individuality on the road, or outside the school gates.

If you want to really impress however, the Grand Cherokee may be your choice. Ok, so at nearly 30,000 it's not initially the cheap Jeep I've been harping on about, but compare it to the rivals and you'll need a lie down. For your money you get everything you'd expect on the specification sheet (that's not me being vague, you really do even get the kitchen sink) and of course the big one - 4 wheel drive. Right sit down please, here's how the rivals stack up. A BMW X5 is 10,000 more, a similar specification Land Rover is 6,000 more and don't get me started on Mercedes or Audi.

Admittedly owning the flagship American brand may lead to badge snobbery in the staff car park from BMW man and yes you may be filled with dread every time you reach a corner - but don't be as you'll come out the other side without a problem. The Cherokee derivatives really are a serious alternative to the sombre, repetitive metal that lines our streets and despite the US of A's car making CV; they've made a pretty good car, sorry SUV.
About the Author
Ieuan Knox is as an automotive author who is currently works to promote http://www.cheapchryslerjeep.co.uk/ and their range of cheap Jeep cars.
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