Motoring: The cars that came in 4 by 4

Jeeps, the original, legendary American off-roaders, make excellent second-hand buys.

IF YOU fancied a 4x4 a few years back there was not a great deal to choose from. You either bought a basic Land Rover, or a smart Range Rover. That was it. A farmer's hack or a landowner's hide-trimmed country seat.

These days there are more 4x4s on the new and used market than you can shake a muddy stick at. However, there is one make of 4x4 which has become a phenomenal success. It is the brand that started it all, indeed the one that inspired Land Rover in the first place: the legendary all-American Jeep.

Today, used Cherokees, Grand Cherokees and Wranglers can represent excellent value for money with early examples costing only pounds 5,000 to pounds 6,000.

It is not hard to understand why we have taken Jeeps to our hearts. Previous off-roaders were proving to be overpriced and under-equipped. The marque initially made an impact back in the Seventies and Eighties, when the first wave of Jeeps were imported to fill a gap left by the Range Rover, for which there was a two-year waiting list. John Bunce, who now runs north London's Just Jeeps, one of the country's leading specialists, was there when holders of the Chrysler Jeep franchise brought in left- hand drive examples.

"We would take the standard Jeep and trim them out with electric windows and leather, basically whatever the customer wanted. None of that was done in the States where it was still regarded as something to be used down on the farm."

Official imports of the Cherokee began in January 1993; the car soon became the first vehicle to be built in right-hand drive for export by an American car manufacturer.

The Cherokee quickly established a solid reputation for quality, reliability, rugged style and of course value for money. Within 15 months Glass's Guide to Car Values reported that second-hand examples were appreciating in value. Today, good early examples average pounds 7,000-pounds 8,000.

The Cherokee was updated in 1997, with a fresh interior and less boxy exterior, but it wasn't the only Jeep available. The Grand Cherokee answered the critics who said that the Cherokee was too small. Here was a true Range Rover rival, with the space, long equipment-list and low price to beat the old Brit. Expect to pay pounds 16,000 for one now. Also part of the Jeep line-up was the traditional-looking Wrangler. Distantly related to the famous Second World War Jeep, it has a raw appeal and loyal following. They are basic, but fun and good value at around pounds 6,000.

When it comes to looking at a used Jeep, either buy from a specialist, or get it inspected by one. The engines are very durable, the six-cylinder units are referred to as the "whispering sixes" and they also sail to six-figure mileages. Gearboxes are equally tough - but be wary if gear engagement is difficult. As with any 4x4, put it on a ramp and look for off-road damage. Rust isn't a problem on cars imported since 1993.

At Doves in south London, I spotted a 1995 Cherokee 4.0 Sport in black with leather, which had covered 25,000 miles and cost pounds 12,995. A 1996 Grand Cherokee 4.0 Limited cost pounds 16,995, but had covered 73,000 miles. Both were in excellent condition. I also looked through the classified ads in a copy of Jeep World, and could find CJ-7 models, the Wrangler's 1980s predecessor, advertised from as little as pounds 2,500. In other words, your next high-class 4x4 doesn't have to have a Land Rover badge on the front.

Doves, 0181-681 3508; Just Jeeps Sales Spares Servicing Repairs, 0181- 340 0988/1048; Yankee Jeep Club, 01924 249261

Sport
Thiago Silva pulls Arjen Robben back to concede a penalty
world cup 2014Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: More misery for hosts as Dutch take third place
Sport
Robin van Persie hands his third-place medal to a supporter
Van Persie gives bronze medal to eccentric fan moments after being handed it by Blatter
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
scienceScientists have developed a material so dark you can't see it...
News
Monkey business: Serkis is the king of the non-human character performance
peopleFirst Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
News
Soft power: Matthew Barzun
peopleThe US Ambassador to London, Matthew Barzun, holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence. He says it's all part of the job
Sport
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
News
Gavin Maxwell in Sandaig with one of his pet otters
peopleWas the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?
News
Rowsell says: 'Wearing wigs is a way of looking normal. I pick a style and colour and stick to it because I don't want to keep wearing different styles'
peopleThe World Champion cyclist Joanna Rowsell on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows, Network Security)

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows...

Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Directory, ITIL, Reuter)

£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Dire...

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?