Making its formal debut at the New York Auto Show, the Jeep Cherokee replaces the maker’s old Liberty model – and brings back a nameplate that decades ago helped touch off America’s love affair with sport-utility vehicles.
The name may be retro, though the design is anything but. The new Jeep Cherokee may maintain the maker’s familiar, 7-slot grille but it has virtually nothing in common with the old, chunky Cherokee, never mind the Liberty.
The most distinctive design detail is the new ute’s face, with its unusual, creased grilled and split headlamps. The main lamps sit just above the bumper and in contrast to traditional automotive styling, smaller slit daytime running lights frame the hood.
“It could be a bit controversial,” admits Ralph Gilles, the head of design at Chrysler LLC, who is nonetheless convinced buyers will fall in love with the distinctive shape of the new crossover.