After far too long, Jeep has finally redesigned its Jeep Cherokee, and now it actually looks decent. Here are Jeep’s first official images of the 2019 Jeep Cherokee.
The first time I saw the new-generation Jeep Cherokee “KL” was back in 2012, when I was an intern in the packaging department (called Advanced Concepts Engineering) at Chrysler. I recall one day plugging the reference number into CAD, and watching as one of the most hideous designs I had ever seen began popping up on my monitor. Evidently, I was not alone. The Cherokee sold well, but no one would call it attractive.
With its main lights down below and daytime running lights in a place where one might expect headlights, the thing looked like an alien—very Nissan Juke-ish, except worse.
Eventually, after running thermal tests of the KL Trailhawk off-road in Moab, I began to actually dig the new Cherokee, even if I never really got used to the styling—especially on non-Trailhawk trims. But now there’s a new look, and as you can see, it’s definitely better.
The Trailhawk still looks the most handsome thanks to an aggressive black bumper that helps hide the awkward gap between the bottom of the grille (which is part of the hood) and the bumper.
That gap, the creased grille, the skinny look of the lights, and the swoopy beltline mean the Jeep still looks a bit odd, but putting the headlights and the DRLs together in a single unit definitely made a difference. If you don’t believe that, just look at the outgoing 2018 model:
My eyes burn.
I also wasn’t a fan of the 2014 to 2018 KL’s rear end, with its tailgate that was concave below the lights. The one above definitely looks more Grand Cherokee-esque compared to this, the old one:
So on the outside, Jeep has definitely cleaned the midsize crossover up a bit. It’s no longer as strange, and while I normally like styling that’s quirky and “different,” the KL was just too much for me.
The press release for the 2019 Cherokee includes that picture above of the interior. Comparing it to the interior of the outgoing model (see below), I’m not seeing a whole lot of difference other than the lower dash trim. And that’s OK, because I don’t mind the current Cherokee’s inside bits.
I’m honestly surprised the Cherokee lasted five model years with that face and that rear end. But now that’s all over, and the Jeep—at least based on these initial images—looks OK now. We’ll see more of it at the Detroit Auto Show on Jan. 16.