The 2014 Jeep Cherokee (yes, you read that right) is back in Jeep's U.S. lineup, serving as a replacement for the aging Liberty midsize SUV that featured far more off-roading capability than on-road fuel economy. The new Cherokee will make its world debut at the 2013 New York auto show at the end of March.
Before any midsize SUV customers hear about the 2014 Jeep Cherokee's 45-percent improvement in fuel economy, the comments are bound to fly about its new exterior look. Like the Nissan Juke, the 2014 Cherokee has three sets of front lights, including one with LED daytime running lights. The seven-bar Jeep grille is prominently displayed, with a pulled-back look that's far more modern than the Cherokee of yore -- or Liberty for that matter -- ever was.
The Jeep Liberty finished 2012 with sales of 75,483, ahead of the Patriot and Compass, but behind the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee. With far more competitive fuel economy and exterior styling that will get its driver noticed, the 2014 Jeep Cherokee might just have what it takes to become a more significant part of Jeep's lineup. And those who complain the 2014 Cherokee isn't as off-road ready as its predecessor can always buy a Wrangler or Grand Cherokee. Rumor has it that the new Cherokee will use a 3.2-liter version of the Pentastar V-6 and could possibly be one of the first Chrysler products to employ a ZF-sourced nine-speed automatic transmission.
The 2014 Jeep Cherokee will arrive at dealers in the third quarter of this year and be built at Jeep's facility in Toledo, Ohio.