THE Jeep Grand Cherokee seems to have been around for yonks and each time another version comes along it is much better than the previous one.

Is it because Jeep has become part of the Fiat family? Who knows? It’s just because manufacturers have to keep raising the bar on the standard front because Joe Public is a fickle beast and will move to another brand if they have to because there is so much out there.

A Grand Cherokee will cost you around £37,000, and while the older model was powered by Mercedes engines, these days there is an Italian Job and these engines are built by VM Motori and developed by parents Fiat.

Then last year Fiat put new engines into their Cherokee, not the Grand Cherokee. This is the 2.2-litre MultiJet II turbo diesel featuring Stop/Start (ESS) technology. It offers incredible flexibility and all-round performance.

When paired with the nine-speed automatic transmission it produces 195 hp, 450 Nm of torque and is available in the 4x4 configuration (with 4WD LOW two-speed PTU available as an option) and - for the first time on Cherokee - also in the 4x2 configuration.

The architecture of the 2.2-litre MultiJet II four-cylinder engine includes a specific 16 valve twin camshaft aluminium head designed to withstand the increased working pressure of the common rail with Injection Rate Shaping, which operates at 2000 bar. The design of the pistons, connecting rods and crankshaft is optimised to reduce weight.

The shape of the combustion chamber and the reduced compression ratio guarantee low NOx emissions and high performance, while the solenoid injectors atomise the fuel very finely for greater fuel efficiency and a quieter drive.

The engine features a novel variable geometry turbocharger integrated in the exhaust manifold. This reduces engine weight and improves the functionality of the exhaust gas treatment system ‘SCR on filter’.

This is a solution that integrates the Selective Catalyst Reduction functionality over a DPF substrate, in order to promote NOx reduction through ADblue injection (the underfloor passive SCR manages ammonia slip, continuing the reduction process), and Particulate Matter reduction through regeneration management. The 2.2-litre engine is Euro 6D-Temp standard compliant.

The upgraded nine-speed transmission uses new control software to further refine drivability, ensure aggressive launches, smooth power delivery at highway speeds and improve fuel efficiency. And for the first time ever on Cherokee, the model can feature a manual mode with paddle shifters behind the steering wheel for additional sportiness and driving comfort (this feature is standard on all automatic all-wheel drive versions).

Front independent suspension with McPherson struts and a rear independent multi-link suspension absorb on-road and off-road obstacles while providing superb comfort for vehicle occupants. The front suspension provides 17 cm (6.7 inches) of travel, while the rear suspension has 19 cm (7.8 inches) of travel for better articulation. Isolated rear cradle, high-strength, low-alloy front crossmembers and superior torsional rigidity all contribute to a smoother and quieter ride and to the superior handling of the new Cherokee.

Available with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, the new Cherokee offers a choice of three innovative 4x4 systems which have been enhanced for unmatched 4x4 capability in all weather conditions.

But the Grand Cherokee has caught up with the Germans when it comes to drivability. Not only does it move smoothly and quietly but there is good kit on board which is actually cheaper than, say, the BMW or the VW extras.

The Grand Cherokee has the typical Jeep grille, interesting headlights with pronounced fog lights and a front fascia.

There are large tail lamps with LED lighting, a large aerodynamic rear spoiler and a re-sculpted tailgate that has excellent visibility.

There are a number of trim levels, and models have bi-xenon headlights, power folding door mirrors, a reversing camera, electrically adjustable front seats, leather upholstery, heated seats and Fiat's Uconnect 8.4in touchscreen infotainment system complete with DAB radio, Bluetooth and sat nav.

On top of the range you get Nappa leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, a panoramic sunroof and air suspension plus adaptive headlights, an Alcantara headlining, acoustic glass, active noise cancellation, Jeep's myriad of safety technology and a 19-speaker Harman and Kardon stereo system.

There is bags of room front and back and an excellent boot.

The driving position and visibility are great and there is an 8.4-inch infotainment system which is a good addition. It is with items like this that Fiat has brought the Jeep into the 21st century.

The standard wheels are 18in and the latest model is a little bit lighter than the older one at 2272kg, so as a result the acceleration is pretty good. You can get up to 60mph in just over eight seconds, which is excellent.

Top speed is just short of 120mph and you will easily get 30 miles to the gallon when you are filling up.