Automotive

The new Jeep Cherokee gets official

The new Jeep Cherokee gets off...
The 2014 Jeep Cherokee debuts at the New York auto show
The 2014 Jeep Cherokee debuts at the New York auto show
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The 2014 Jeep Cherokee debuts at the New York auto show
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The 2014 Jeep Cherokee debuts at the New York auto show
The creased, seven-slot grille
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The creased, seven-slot grille
The new headlamps get narrow
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The new headlamps get narrow
Jeep uses a new three-part light design
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Jeep uses a new three-part light design
The Trailhawk package is the most rugged, off-road-ready of the new Cherokees
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The Trailhawk package is the most rugged, off-road-ready of the new Cherokees
LED tail lamps provide a focal point of the rear fascia
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LED tail lamps provide a focal point of the rear fascia
The creased grille
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The creased grille
The Cherokee gets a pointy nose
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The Cherokee gets a pointy nose
The 2014 Jeep Cherokee debuts at the New York auto show
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The 2014 Jeep Cherokee debuts at the New York auto show
The Trailhawk is a "Trail Rated" package
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The Trailhawk is a "Trail Rated" package
Jeep says that it tested the Trailhawk on the famous Rubicon Trail
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Jeep says that it tested the Trailhawk on the famous Rubicon Trail
Trailhawk is a fairly new name in Jeep history, dating back to a 2008 concept model
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Trailhawk is a fairly new name in Jeep history, dating back to a 2008 concept model
The available "Sky Slider" roof is a full-length canvas soft top
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The available "Sky Slider" roof is a full-length canvas soft top
The available "Sky Slider" roof is a full-length canvas soft top
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The available "Sky Slider" roof is a full-length canvas soft top
Inside the new Cherokee
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Inside the new Cherokee
Jeep offers 5- and 8.4-inch touchscreen displays
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Jeep offers 5- and 8.4-inch touchscreen displays
Jeep offers 5- and 8.4-inch touchscreen displays
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Jeep offers 5- and 8.4-inch touchscreen displays
The available "Sky Slider" roof is a full-length canvas soft top
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The available "Sky Slider" roof is a full-length canvas soft top
The new Cherokee offers I-4 and V6 engine options
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The new Cherokee offers I-4 and V6 engine options
The trapezoidal wheel arches are a throwback to the Willys days
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The trapezoidal wheel arches are a throwback to the Willys days
The Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk
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The Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk
The 2014 Jeep Cherokee debuts at the New York auto show
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The 2014 Jeep Cherokee debuts at the New York auto show
The 2014 Jeep Cherokee debuts at the New York auto show
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The 2014 Jeep Cherokee debuts at the New York auto show
The 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited
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The 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited
The 2014 Jeep Cherokee debuts at the New York auto show
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The 2014 Jeep Cherokee debuts at the New York auto show
The 2014 Jeep Cherokee debuts at the New York auto show
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The 2014 Jeep Cherokee debuts at the New York auto show
The available "Sky Slider" roof is a full-length canvas soft top
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The available "Sky Slider" roof is a full-length canvas soft top
The 2014 Jeep Cherokee debuts at the New York auto show
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The 2014 Jeep Cherokee debuts at the New York auto show
The 2014 Jeep Cherokee debuts at the New York auto show
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The 2014 Jeep Cherokee debuts at the New York auto show
The 2014 Jeep Cherokee debuts at the New York auto show
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The 2014 Jeep Cherokee debuts at the New York auto show
A new look for a new generation
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A new look for a new generation
A new look for a new generation
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A new look for a new generation
A new look for a new generation
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A new look for a new generation
A new look for a new generation
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A new look for a new generation
Four Cherokee packages will be offered: Limited, Sport, Latitude and Trailhawk
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Four Cherokee packages will be offered: Limited, Sport, Latitude and Trailhawk
The new Cherokee offers three 4x4 options
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The new Cherokee offers three 4x4 options
Two touchscreen options will be available
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Two touchscreen options will be available
A new interpretation of the seven-slot grille
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A new interpretation of the seven-slot grille
The Cherokee was built for both on- and off-road performance
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The Cherokee was built for both on- and off-road performance
A new look for a new generation
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A new look for a new generation
The 2014 Cherokee
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The 2014 Cherokee
The 2014 Cherokee
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The 2014 Cherokee
The 2014 Cherokee
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The 2014 Cherokee
The 2014 Cherokee
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The 2014 Cherokee
The 2014 Cherokee
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The 2014 Cherokee
The 2014 Cherokee
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The 2014 Cherokee
The 2014 Cherokee
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The 2014 Cherokee
The 2014 Cherokee
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The 2014 Cherokee
The 2014 Cherokee
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The 2014 Cherokee
The 2014 Cherokee
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The 2014 Cherokee
The 2014 Cherokee
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The 2014 Cherokee
The 2014 Cherokee
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The 2014 Cherokee
The 2014 Cherokee
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The 2014 Cherokee
The 2014 Cherokee
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The 2014 Cherokee
The 2014 Cherokee
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The 2014 Cherokee
The 2014 Cherokee
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The 2014 Cherokee
The 2014 Cherokee
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The 2014 Cherokee
The 2014 Cherokee
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The 2014 Cherokee
The 2014 Cherokee
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The 2014 Cherokee
The 2014 Cherokee
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The 2014 Cherokee
The 2014 Cherokee
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The 2014 Cherokee
The 2014 Cherokee
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The 2014 Cherokee
The 2014 Cherokee
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The 2014 Cherokee
The 2014 Cherokee
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The 2014 Cherokee
The 2014 Cherokee
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The 2014 Cherokee
The 2014 Cherokee
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The 2014 Cherokee
The 2014 Cherokee
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The 2014 Cherokee
The 2014 Cherokee
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The 2014 Cherokee
View gallery - 68 images

After more than a decade, the Jeep Liberty has announced its retirement and appointed its predecessor its successor. The new 2014 Jeep Cherokee trades the hard-lined edge of the XJ for a more consumer-friendly small-crossover design. Jeep promises that it offers plenty of capability for those that want it but in a more refined, practical package than ever before.

To Cherokee, or not to Cherokee

When we first flashed a glimpse at the new Cherokee, the feedback was overwhelmingly negative. Nicer commenters opined that it wasn't really a proper Cherokee, while less-kind souls went so far as to call it "Pontiac Aztec-like" in terms of failed designs. It's fair to say that there was some objection to this being a new Jeep, let alone a new Cherokee.

Jeep Chief Designer Mark Allen recognizes the early negativity and does about all he can with it: spins it into a positive.

"I get the sensitivity; I have one of those [Jeep Cherokee XJs] and I love it, I understand it," Allen told us. "But it's no longer a modern vehicle. The Cherokee is a name that we own, we're very proud of that. I'm glad we called this Cherokee; there was a lot of internal debate, should we or not, and I'm glad we did. Really what that [negative reaction] is is passion for our vehicles."

"Give this thing a chance," Allen implored Jeep fans and car buyers, explaining that even the iconic XJ had a fair share of detractors when it lost some of the box look during its 1996 facelift. While the new design may look softer than XJ lovers would like, the curvier build adds aerodynamics and efficiency.

Heritage redefined

Unlike during last month's teaser, Jeep has provided the information that folks will need to give the Cherokee revival a chance – or further detest it and write it off completely, as the case may be. The manufacturer is certainly mindful of the fact that the new design could create an uproar with Jeep traditionalists, and it has done its best to steep the new model in heritage while creating a modern look.

"It's not a box. We weren't going to build a box," Allen said. "It's a much faster, windswept vehicle, much more aerodynamically efficient."

The design takes on a much newer and more modern interpretation of Jeep. The grille and hood are a single piece, "ensuring a precise build" in Jeep vernacular. The lights are broken up into three pieces, helping Jeep eliminate the corner of the vehicle and create a smoother, more windswept front-end. Similarly, the raked windshield keeps air flowing easy.

The creased grille
The creased grille

Though the overall look is all new, a number of elements have been injected with a dose of Jeep DNA. Even the new Cherokee's most renegade feature – the creased grille – carries tradition. All Jeep fanatics will recognize the seven slots, but the crease (or "horizontal snap," as Jeep refers to it) is also a throwback to older Cherokees, which featured a crease in their grilles, albeit a much subtler line. Allen said that the trapezoidal wheel arches turn the playbook back even further – all the way back to the original 1941 Willys Jeeps.

Jeep uses a new three-part light design
Jeep uses a new three-part light design

Get down and dirty

Unlike modern-era crossovers, the original Jeep Cherokee had a reputation for off-road competence and performance. And just because the new Cherokee looks like a modern-era crossover, doesn't mean it cedes over all that performance. Jeep wants the Cherokee to appeal to the Little League-chauffeuring, mall-cruising mom crowd that's driving the crossover market but remain relevant to the dust-chucking Moab weekend set that embraced the original.

The 2014 Cherokee may share the Fiat Group's Compact U.S. Wide architecture with the likes of the Dodge Dart, but it received upgrades based around off-road capability. It employs an aggressive stance, rugged lower body protection, and aggressive approach and departure angles that set it up for off-road success.

Jeep says that it tested the Trailhawk on the famous Rubicon Trail
Jeep says that it tested the Trailhawk on the famous Rubicon Trail

The 2014 Cherokee comes out of the gate with a trail-rated Trailhawk package option. The Trailhawk turns up the off-road performance with a one-inch (2.5-cm) factory lift (to 8.7 inches/22 cm), skid plates, signature red tow hooks, and Jeep Active Drive Lock 4x4 with locking rear differential. The differential lock works automatically in some modes, such as "Rock," and is available to the driver in any low-range terrain mode.

Stay clean

Jeep made sure not to abandon off-roaders, but it recognizes that many Cherokee owners will never leave the pavement. In today's crossover market, the Cherokee has to work well on the street. In addition to the Trailhawk package, Jeep offers three road-oriented packages: Latitude, Limited and Sport.

The 2014 Cherokee has plenty of benefits for road-only drivers, in addition to off-roadies. Those benefits start with the one that's foremost on most drivers' minds: fuel economy. With the 184-hp 2.4-liter Tigershark Multi-Air 2 I-4 engine and standard-across-all-models nine-speed automatic transmission, the 2014 Cherokee offers a 45 percent fuel economy increase over the outgoing Liberty – up to an estimated 31 mpg (7.6 l/100km) highway and 500 miles (805 km) of range per tank. The I-4 puts out 171 lb-ft (232 Nm) of torque.

Those looking for more power and torque can opt for the new 3.2-liter Pentastar V6, which puts out 271-hp and 239 lb-ft (324 Nm) of torque and tows up to 4,500 pounds (2,040 kg).

Those engines can send power to two or four wheels through a 4x2 option or one of three 4x4 options. The Active Drive I 4x4 system has an automatic power transfer unit that requires no driver input and seamlessly transfers in and out of 4WD. The Active Drive II doesn't include a locking differential, like the Active Drive Lock, but it does share other attributes, including a two-speed PTU with torque management and low range and a 2.92:1 gear reduction. The Cherokee's rear-axle disconnect decreases energy loss and improves fuel economy when 4x4 is not needed. Select-Terrain traction control tweaks vehicle settings to five different modes: Auto, Snow, Sport Sand/Mud and Rock.

The new electronic power steering system contributes to the Cherokee's fuel economy, and a chassis with MacPherson front independent suspension and a new rear independent multi-link provides for a smooth, quiet ride and sure handling.

The Cherokee's more than 70 available safety and security features include ParkSense Parallel/Perpendicular Park Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control-Plus, Forward Collision Warning-Plus, and Lane Departure Warning-Plus, all new to the Chrysler family; 9-1-1 assist call; electronic stability control; blind-spot monitoring; rear cross path detection; and ParkView rear backup camera. The radar- and video-based Adaptive Cruise Control-Plus system can bring the car to a stop on its own if necessary, and the camera-based Lane Departure Warning-Plus system delivers a jolt of torque to the steering system to warn of unintended lane drifts.

The available "Sky Slider" roof is a full-length canvas soft top
The available "Sky Slider" roof is a full-length canvas soft top

Moving on to the little luxuries, Jeep offers two open-air options in addition to the standard hard top. An interesting option available to Cherokee buyers is the all-new Sky Slider full-length soft canvas roof. A more traditional glass sunroof is the other option.

Step inside

Jeep worked to design a driver-focused interior with influence from around the world. It provides a comfortable feel with premium-touch materials on places where the occupants contact the vehicle – armrests, door uppers, etc. The seats are trimmed in cloth or Nappa leather and available with heating, ventilation and power adjustment.

Four Cherokee packages will be offered: Limited, Sport, Latitude and Trailhawk
Four Cherokee packages will be offered: Limited, Sport, Latitude and Trailhawk

The Cherokee comes standard with a 5-inch touchscreen infotainment system, and an 8.4-inch touchscreen system is available as an option. The 8.4-inch system offers Chrysler Uconnect Access infotainment, which can be controlled through the touchscreen, physical controls on the center stack, or voice command. Uconnect Access includes apps like Pandora and iHeartRadio, Bluetooth connectivity, SiriusXM Radio, and voice-to-text messaging.

The digital instrument cluster is driver configurable and includes an off-road configuration. Other information available on the cluster includes turn-by-turn navigation, speed, real-time fuel economy, safety and audio information.

In terms of cargo, the Cherokee is equipped with what Jeep terms a Cargo Management System, which includes a universal module rack in the rear cargo area. The 60/40 split-folding second row seats adjust forward and backward for comfort and cargo space. The front passenger seat folds flat and includes an in-seat storage compartment. Cherokee accessories to be available from Mopar include a Trailhawk off-road kit with tow rope and other accessories, a cargo bin, a folding cooler and a first aid/emergency kit.

Rolling forward

LED tail lamps provide a focal point of the rear fascia
LED tail lamps provide a focal point of the rear fascia

Jeep introduced the 2014 Cherokee at the New York International Auto Show and also brought a Trailhawk to the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, along with a half-dozen new concepts. Cherokee production will start later this year at Chrysler's Toledo, Ohio Assembly Plant. Deliveries will begin in the third quarter and pricing has yet to be announced.

For those worried that the "small crossover treatment" might migrate from the Cherokee to the Wrangler, Jeep reassured NY goers several times that the Wrangler will continue to be the Wrangler.

If Jeep's words and photos don't convince you that the new Cherokee is as rugged and off-road-ready as ever, perhaps the POV video below will do it.

Source: Chrysler

View gallery - 68 images
24 comments
Verkligheten Sverige
Just as I thought a Jeep could not possibly look any worse than the Commander, the Patriot or the Compass, Jeep serves up a new Subaru Tribeca moment.
AngryPenguin
@Verkligheten Sverige - It's a Jeep. If you worry about looks, you're doing it wrong.
Bandarilla
no matter how new and innovative if it's got ugly face like that, your execution failed as a chief designer.... Look at the size of headlamp compared to massive front volume. and when you see the front and side, they do not match each other as two diffenent animals, ugly and filthy wild boar and dull and quiet soccer-mom.
Mark McLain
Well, just ugly is all. Congrats to Jeep for getting it wrong.
Rt1583
Maybe they should just replace the standard swing rear doors with sliders and call it a mini-van.
Bill Bennett
well three people above got it right, sorry AngryPenguin, BUT now days Jeep is supposed to be a sophisticated marque, not something with a canvas top and an add on roll bar, the head lights sure clash with the Aux lights, the rear is horrible, Fugly vehicle
Electrothump
Hmmm, , I've yet think of Jeeps as being a thing of beauty. As a matter of fact "Jeep" in Latin means ugly, durable vehicle. Even most Latin scholars are not aware of that fact! Keepagrinnen
Niklas Wejedal
I think it is very brave off Jeep to come up with something so entirely new - love it! I wish people were more open to change, It is appalling as a car designer to see just how fundamentally conservative the general public is. Open your mind for crying out load...
rock4rd
well, well, well ... let me tell you ... this very ford-ish look is somehow a sad step in the wrong direction. I understand that us-car builders slept theit way on the couch of dreaming the american superiority dream ... and suddenly realized ... that its only true in terms of military power ... may be not much longer ... stick with your roots, and remember what made u strong. it has more to do with CORPORATE PHILOSOPHY then it does have with DESIGN. The Europeans have allways been better at that anyway ...
Beisswenger Design
Ah looks like they went with the Judge Dread flying cab look.... http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/01425/city-cab-judge-dre_1425471i.jpg