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Jeep Wins '4x4 of the Year' Hat-Trick

The Jeep Wrangler, Liberty and Wrangler were named the 4x4 of the year by 4x4 MagazineJeep 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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