The Jeep Cherokee is due for a redesign soon. It’s now been eight years since the current generation was released in 2014, but a steady decline in Cherokee sales would indicate that buyers in the U.S. have moved on. And just what buyers moved onto is the pressing question for Jeep, which insists that a new generation of the Cherokee will be released sometime in the near future.
That redesign could probably even debut a plug-in hybrid Cherokee, similar to the 4Xe models of the Grand Cherokee and Wrangler. We can’t rule out a Cherokee 4Xe just yet. Especially when Jeep is adamant the Cherokee is due for a return.
During an interview with MotorTrend, Jeep executives said the next-generation Cherokee will be “bigger and better than ever.” It’s unclear if the Jeep execs were speaking figuratively, or if the Cherokee will actually come back as a bigger model. Presumably, part of the reason why Jeep has let the Cherokee hang on is that the model’s in one of the most popular segments of the U.S. auto market: compact SUVs. Meaning its rivals include the Toyota Rav4, Honda HR-V and Ford Escape — all of which are popular models.
The Jeep Cherokee, however, hasn’t enjoyed the popularity of those latter SUVs. Sales of the Cherokee are currently at around 3,500 units per month, and the numbers keep declining. Jeep Cherokee sales were down by over a third in 2021, to just 90,000 model sold according to MotorTrend. The figures for 2022 look bleak, at around one-fourth what they were by this quarter last year.
So, again, why doesn’t Jeep retire the nameplate? My money is on two things, which are exemplified by the Toyota Rav4 Prime — an SUV so enticing it now warrants outrageous dealer markups. Small SUVs are popular, but the Jeep Cherokee has shown being just a compact SUV isn’t enough. And certainly not enough now that crossovers are elbowing in on the segment.
The key, then, has to be electrification. Jeep has already gauged consumer interest for EV SUVs with its Grand Cherokee and Wrangler 4Xe models. Drivers reacted positively to partial-electrification. While full electrification isn’t in the cards for the sixth-generation Jeep Cherokee, a plug-in hybrid could be a waypoint for a fully-electric Cherokee. It’s might not be here any time soon. But, rest assured, a new and — either partially or fully — electric Jeep Cherokee is likely coming down the line.