Christmas greetings fly from Jeep

The Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk is powered by a turbocharged, 4-cylinder engine. (Bud Wells photos)

I shout “Merry Christmas” to all my readers Dec. 25, 2019, from the open window of the 2020 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk.

With its red tow hooks out front in place of Rudolph’s nose, the Cherokee serves very adequately as a modern-day Santa’s sleigh.

The Cherokee’s 25.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats can handle the greetings and gifts being delivered. An extra-long list to be filled might require use of a Honda CR-V, which has 50 percent more cargo space than the Cherokee, or a bigger Jeep, such as the Grand Cherokee.

The 2020 Jeep Cherokee is in its seventh model year since its resurrection after the original Cherokee was discontinued in 2002.

It is a strong competitor in the compact SUV/crossover field, against the Honda, Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5, Subaru Forester, Ford Escape, Chevy Equinox and many others.

The Cherokee provided for my testing was equipped with a 270-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine, 9-speed automatic transmission and Active Drive II four-wheel-drive technology, which includes low range and terrain selection for auto, snow, sport and sand/mud.

Overall fuel mileage for the Jeep, including lots of in-town stop-and-go for Christmas shopping, was 22.2 miles per gallon. Its EPA estimate is 20/26.

With heated and cooled seats, heated steering wheel, full sunroof, and a safety package of full-speed forward collision warning, lane-departure correction, adaptive cruise and automatic high beams the sticker price climbed to $45,425.

Jan and I drove the Cherokee 100 miles northeast to Sterling to visit my sister, Norma Wagner, in her recuperation at Devonshire Acres from a fall and broken hip. Christmas cheer awaited us in the smiling faces of Norma and her husband, Dave Wagner Jr.

An original version of the Jeep Cherokee was this 1991 model.

Norma and I enjoy a memory from 75 years ago of our childhood at the pretty little town of Wray. I’ve told it before, let me tell it once more, very briefly.

It was a Sunday afternoon in the fall of the year when Dale Wells, our dad the Ford dealer at Wray, took a call at home from a fellow apparently having truck problems. Mom, Norma and I joined Dad on a drive to the garage, during which Dad mentioned, “I think he may be Santa Claus.” Sure enough, the man had long hair and a long white beard and in the back of his big Ford cattle truck were a number of reindeer. While Dad repaired the truck’s cooling system, the old gent walked over and talked with Norma and me and invited us over to the truck for a close look at the reindeer. With the truck running cooler, he left Wray on U.S. 385 heading north (as in North Pole).

Merry Christmas.