We've seen development mules of the next small Jeep crossover/SUV parading around for months. In our minds it was the 2014 Liberty, just wearing an Alfa Romeo Giulietta body but was also a good bit taller. Through these exclusive photos we've learned two things. First, it won't look anything like an Alfa. Second, it won't be a Liberty. This is the 2014 Jeep Cherokee. That's right, the Cherokee is back.
First things first, those headlights. It looks a lot like Jeep is taking a page from the Nissan Juke handbook here. The narrow lights on top are combined with some larger bulbs next to the grille. I don't hate the Juke, so I don't really hate this either. Some may see it as a Jeep that's sucking lemons, but there's nothing wrong with a little boldness. In fact, Car and Driver had already predicted a fairly insane design like this in an earlier rendering. They were super close.
In profile, I'm actually getting an Isuzu Axiom vibe. Again, this isn't a bad thing. The Axiom had some interesting design traits, like the very narrow headlamps. What I really don't care for the is the body cladding. Oodles and oodles of cladding. Higher trim levels will probably get rid of the cladding. Overall though, I actually like it. It's a bit futurisitic and way more daring than anything we've ever seen from Jeep. You gotta respect that.
It's loosely based on the Dodge Dart/Alfa Giulietta, so that makes the Cherokee yet another car-based crossover. I'm willing to bet it's modified enough to be considered "Trail Rated," because I'm sure Jeep doesn't want to fully bastardize the Cherokee name.
Inside we have what appears to be what common folk call an "interior." There is a center stack as well as a chunky steering wheel. It also looks like off-road modes are located on a knob next to the gear lever. Also, there is an electronic handbrake. Great.
According to the ever knowledgable folks at Allpar, the Jeep should offer a selection of V6 and four-cylinder engines:
The car is almost certain to have a 3.2 V6 instead of the 3.6, for better wheel travel and gas mileage. Export cars will get the current 2-liter four-cylinder diesel. Four cylinders are likely to be a Tiger Shark 2.4, and the 1.4 liter Fiat turbo as a gas-mileage king; there might be a single four-cylinder to simplify production and reduce engineering costs, but it now appears that the Cherokee will be a V6 only, at least in the United States. If gas prices rise, the VM 3.0 V6 diesel could be installed at a later date.
A diesel Cherokee outside of China? Sign us up.
We're expecting the Cherokee to make its first appearance at the upcoming New York Auto show next month.
UPDATE: Chrysler has tweeted that this is NOT the car that will be appearing at the NY Auto Show: