Hot on the heels of a vehicle reveal most of us thought would occur in Detroit next month, another hot seller has officially broken cover before the January show.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has given the Jeep Cherokee a snazzy new set of duds just in time for the new year. Previously styled with an alarming mix of narrowed lights and Hannibal Lecter grille, the restyled 2019 Cherokee adopts the corporate look that first appeared on the Grandest of Cherokees before migrating to the Compass last year.
Up front, the 2019 Jeep Cherokee now sports a fascia more in line with the Jeep family. A set of headlights that ape the Grand Cherokee and Compass bookend a traditional seven-slat grille. The red Cherokee, likely a Trailhawk trim, is shown with natty red tow hooks and beefy tires. Fog lights appear on the outer edges of the front bumper and the mandatory JEEP billboard is present front and centre of the hood’s leading edge. It is a much more cohesive look than the current model.
Around back, a dramatic character line cuts a diagonal path from the hatchback glass down to the rear wheelwell. Its tail lights are more in line with the rest of the Jeep family, and twin chrome exhaust finishers poke out of the rear bumper on the silver model shown here. The license plate has migrated from the bumper to the hatch surface, filling a space that always looked a bit blank to this author’s jaundiced eye.
Jeep promises “even more fuel-efficient powertrain options” in the 2019 Cherokee, which could mean anything from improved economy numbers for the existing engines or something new under the hood altogether. We know the 2019 model stand to gain the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder found in 2018 Wrangler, mated to a 48-volt mild hybrid system.
Presently, the Cherokee is available with a 2.4-liter MultiAir inline-four or a 3.2-liter V6. Nine-speed automatics appear across the board. Improved fuel economy numbers could also be achieved through different programming of the ZF ‘box as well.
The 2018 Cherokee starts at $24,395 for a two-wheel drive Latitude model before climbing through the ranks to a $37,340 4×4 Overland model — which this author believes should be painted green and called the Orvis (*looks longingly at old ZJ brochures*). Expect a slight price bump in the new year but nothing like the $3,000 hike in MSRP Jeep slapped on the JL Wrangler.
Cherokee sales have been on the wane since hitting a peak of 220,260 units in 2015. Year-to-date, the flinty-eyed edition currently on sale has found 150,524 new driveways in which to inhabit. It’s worth noting that Compass sales went up 50 percent after its restyle, which brought a handsome look not unlike this new Cherokee. Yes, part of that is due to customers migrating from the departed Patriot, but the new styling undoubtedly helped a bit as well. It’ll help the Cherokee too, methinks.
Jeep says more information will be released on January 16th, 2018, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. TTAC will have several of our writers on the show floor to bring you all the details.
[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]