Jeep Grand Cherokee Ltd

Tough looks and a mighty engine show Jeep's Grand Cherokee really does believe that bigger is better in the battle for luxury 4x4 sales. A more distinctive nose and neat headlamp design, along with an aggressive, angular finish, make the newcomer the most striking model in the US company's British line-up.

Where its predecessor looked bland, Jeep's new Grand Cherokee is a genuine head-turner. It has a practical, well designed interior, too. But few UK buyers will be able to live with the V8's thirst. Jeep also needs to address build issues, yet the new car has bags of appeal.

Tough looks and a mighty engine show Jeep's Grand Cherokee really does believe that bigger is better in the battle for luxury 4x4 sales. A more distinctive nose and neat headlamp design, along with an aggressive, angular finish, make the newcomer the most striking model in the US company's British line-up.

Inside, the redesign is less dramatic, but the driving position is comfortable and the cabin well equipped. While the quality of the fit and finish has improved, the grey plastics still leave a lot to be desired - especially next to Land Rover's new Discovery.

Unfortunately, interior quality wasn't the only letdown, with our test car also suffering from a terminal electrical fault. Performance from the 5.7-litre HEMI V8 - which is also found in the Chrysler 300C saloon - was excellent, until some vital electrics melted and brought our drive to an end.

These problems aside, the unit sounds fantastic and enables the Jeep to sprint from 0-62mph in 7.1 seconds. A management system automatically shuts down half the V8's cylinders when cruising, but does little to help fuel efficiency - combined economy is 18.3mpg.

The rest of our driving experience revealed few problems. While rivals still feel more composed, the latest Grand has a smoother ride and more controlled handling than the machine it replaces.

This top-of-the-range V8 will set you back £37,995. Land Rover charges a similar price for its entry-level petrol-powered Discovery, but the Jeep comes with more equipment as standard. For many buyers, the appeal of a UK version of the supersized Stateside 4x4 is now stronger than ever.

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