A special Cherokee to be saluted
I was not allowed to forget the long and proud history of the famous original all terrain Jeep and its amazing contribution to the successful outcome of the Second World War for the United States Army and their Allies when I started testing the latest Jeep Cherokee.
The original 4x4 Willys Jeep went into production in 1941 and I was immediately reminded of this for on the steering wheel of my 75th anniversary limited edition test car was the inscription "Since 1941" and the car also had khaki paintwork (official name Recon Green) like those wartime Jeeps which was another reminder of the Jeep's considerable contribution to World War 2.
In fact the Cherokee's livery reminded me of my army days travelling in khaki coloured vehicles and I even visualised myself driving this particular Jeep as an army staff car with my former Commanding Officer sat in the back taking the salute!
As well as the steering wheel inscription and unique livery this particular Cherokee included a high level of standard equipment with special styling details plus 1941 anniversary badges on each side of the car which included an outline image of the Willys Jeep.
Damien Dally head of brand at Jeep UK said: "It is a Jeep tradition to celebrate key anniversaries and 2016 is no exception. Born in 1941 the Jeep brand has a rich heritage which this new special model brilliantly acknowledges."
Cherokee is built at Toledo in the States but the company is now part of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles empire and the latest cherokee is related to some Fiat group products but it is still unmistakably a Jeep thanks to the prominent and distinctive Jeep seven slot grille which provides it with immediate vehicle identification.
It was powered by the new MultiJet II 2.2-litre 200hp turbo diesel engine with nine speed automatic transmission and standard kit included Nappa leather seats, 8.4 inch touchscreen that displays audio and sat nav information plus bi-xenon headlights, heated steering wheel, 18-inch low gloss bronze coloured alloy wheels and is priced at Â£38,945 on the road.
Cherokee is a four wheel drive SUV and the driver can select various modes depending on the conditions to maintain traction all of which are extremely effective as I discovered when driving a Cherokee in very demanding conditions both on and off road.
What particularly impressed on the test car was the very smooth and quiet diesel engine with its lively performance along with the well balanced steering and handling which together made this Cherokee a formidable rival to other premium 4x4 competitors from the UK and Germany and arguably providing a more enjoyable driving experience than most of them.
At the rear is a very large load area and underneath is space for a spare wheel although the test car only had a puncture kit which would not be my choice and I would pay for a spare wheel.
I liked this particular Cherokee and its army style livery very much but the standard Cherokee is a very good 4x4 SUV and prices start at over Â£12,000 less than the special edition cars which might be better for potential owners on lower budgets.
Model: Jeep Cherokee 75th anniversary limited edition 4x4.
Engine: 2.2-litre diesel. Output: 200bhp.
Transmission: nine speed automatic. Top speed: 127mph.
Acceleration: 0 to 62mph 8.5 seconds.
Fuel consumption: 49.6mpg combined.
CO2 emissions: 150g/km.