Bob Cooke – contributor
It’s always good to take part in one of the All Wheel Drive Club’s drive-arounds. Though the club is more usually engaged in serious competitive events such as trialling and comp safari races, they do occasionally make a stonkingly good off-road area available for less competitive people to have a good off-road blast, with anything from competition specials to ordinary road cars, so the Cherokee was at Broxhead Common, near Bordon in Hampshire, good and early to take advantage of the excellent variety of cross-country conditions available.
It’s actually quite a good area for beginners, because it isn’t all thick mud and deeply-rutted tracks, though there are quite enough of those to please the harder-core participants. One large open central area with a sandy but quite firm surface has a good selection of humps, bumps, holes and gullies that can allow drivers to assess the capability of their cars without the inconvenience of getting them bogged down.
Interestingly, one such collection of humps confirmed that the Cherokee doesn’t have the limited slip rear differential that we thought it ought to have as part of the high Limited specification level; or, if it does have an lsd we know it doesn’t work because the Cherokee made quite a fuss of clearing that particular obstacle, forcing me to try several different approaches and delicate changes of direction to feel its way through without running out of axle articulation. It was a bit disappointing, because Pete Robain’s old Land Rover One Ten had just lumbered over the same obstacle without even threatening to lift a wheel, so good is that old truck’s axle articulation. Good thing about the Cherokee, then, is that it allows the driver to exhibit greater skill in surmounting the same obstacle (eventually) with a less competent vehicle…
Make: Jeep Cherokee
Model: 4.0 Limited
Recent costs: £15 for a new number plate
Arrived: July 2011
You can read more about this Jeep in the March 2012 issue of 4×4 Magazine – available here