Fiat Chrysler showcased the latest iteration of its Jeep Cherokee at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The new Jeep Cherokee offers a 4-cylinder option with more power and solid fuel economy.
What has changed in the new Jeep Cherokee?
The new Jeep Cherokee will be one of the few vehicles to come with 2-liter inline four-cylinder turbocharged engine. Fiat Chrysler manufactures its Global Medium Engine in Termoli, Italy, but the new Jeep Cherokee will be fitted with a 270-horsepower motor built in Michigan, notes USA Today. It is believed that the same 2.0-liter turbo engine is powering the new Jeep Wrangler, according to CNET. Performance-wise, the engine scores well, but in the Wrangler, it is integrated with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Similar to last year, this year’s new Jeep Cherokee will also come with a nine-speed automatic transmission. However, the company claims that it’s adding new software to scale up the driveability.
Moving on to the looks of the new Jeep Cherokee, the new bi-LED headlamps look better than those of its predecessor, and they give a more traditional look. Further, Jeep has added chrome tow hooks to the top-of-the-line Overland trim. The new Cherokee also gets a taller front end, new front clip and a compact liftgate which is 17 pounds lighter, notes The Detroit News.
“We took the geekiness out of it,” says designer Mark Allen, a 30-year veteran of Jeep. “Now Cherokee is more closely aligned with the rest of the brand.”
In addition, Jeep boss Mikey Manley admitted that the first Cherokee was very “progressive,” but added, “We needed to do it to break through in the segment.”
The award-winning Uconnect infotainment system has also been overhauled. The center touchscreen has grown from five to seven inches in size and gets smartphone app connectivity. An 8.4-inch screen option is also available.
Further, the new model offers more space in the rear cargo area, which is now 3 inches bigger. In addition, there are 80 available safety and security offerings, including a parallel and perpendicular parking assistance feature.
With the new Jeep Cherokee, consumers get 12 exterior color options: Blue Shade, Sting-Gray, Velvet Red, Firecracker Red, Granite Crystal, Billet Silver, Diamond Black Crystal, Pearl White and Bright White, Olive Green, Hydro Blue, and Light Brownstone.
Will it help boost the Jeep brand?
Previously, the Cherokee has been the star of Jeep’s lineup, but in 2017, it tumbled to number three after Grand Cherokee and Wrangler. Cherokee sales dropped by almost 15% last year, while the overall Jeep brand witnessed a 10% drop. Hopefully, the Cherokee’s facelift will help the brand get its reputation back.
“The SUV segment is highly competitive, and the Cherokee is extremely important to helping Jeep regain market share,” said Jessica Caldwell, executive director of industry analysis for Edmunds, as quoted by Freep.com. “The good news is that car shoppers will recognize the Cherokee name and that should help FCA capitalize on this lucrative segment and boost its bottom line.”
The Cherokee competes with the Ford Escape, Honda CRV and even Jeep’s own Grand Cherokee. As of now, pricing and fuel mileage numbers for the new Jeep Cherokee have not been revealed.