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First Drive: 2014 Jeep Cherokee

A new face for the Trail-Rated brand.

by on Sep.17, 2013

The new 2014 Jeep Cherokee attempts to maintain the classic Jeep off-roadability while gaining better mileage and on-road manners.

What’s in a name, Shakespeare once asked. When it comes to cars, quite a bit, especially when it’s one of a handful of truly groundbreaking products. Like the Jeep Cherokee.  The folks at Chrysler had to ask themselves some serious questions before simply slapping that once-formidable badge back on the replacement for the largely unloved Liberty SUV.

The original Cherokee, known internally as the XJ, effectively invented the modern sport-utility vehicle, transforming it from a military and commercial vehicle with a modest following among rugged outdoorsmen into a truly mainstream alternative. Of course, success begets imitation and soon, SUVs were everywhere.  The market quickly moved on and by 2001, Chrysler pulled the plug on what was, by then, a dated and forgotten model.

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The Liberty never quite found its groove.  It was neither fish nor fowl, not quite the rugged off-roader nor the smooth on-roader that the market has largely migrated to. So, Jeep hit the “Reset” button and set out to do it again, wisely deciding to abandon the Liberty name and bring back Cherokee. But is it a fit? That’s what we set out to discover when he headed into the hills north of Los Angeles for a good day’s driving in the all-new 2014 Jeep Cherokee.


First Drive: 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8

Trading the trails for the track.

by on Aug.08, 2011

Jeep trades the trail rating for a serious performance machine with the 2012 Grand Cherokee SRT8.

Jeeps have always traded on their rugged capability. But for once the brand guys at Chrysler have decided to forego tradition and build a Jeep for speed.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee becomes the fourth new 2012 offering from Chrysler to wear the SRT badge, along with the likes of the new Dodge Charger and Challenger models, as well as the 300C SRT8, but while Jeep’s entry into the muscle car segment  is clearly designed with an emphasis on performance it does not abandon entirely its off-road capabilities.


You’ll notice something different the moment you spot the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8.  To start with, ground clearance has been reduced, which must pass for something like heresy in Jeep’s engineering shop, and the skid plate was removed.  Instead of that traditional off-road cue you’ll quickly spot a functional rear spoiler added to improve aerodynamics on a vehicle that normally boasts the dimensions of a brick.


First Drive: 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Bringing back the panache, swagger…and styling.

by on Jul.06, 2010

The boxy look is gone with the all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Jeep has always had a certain panache and swagger that reaches all the way back to the original off-roaders that American soldiers fell in love with during World War II.

For decades, that gave the Chrysler brand a leg up over its competition, so much so that it often had to remind folks that Jeep wasn’t synonymous with SUV.  But something happened in recent years, and the awkward and ungainly design of the last-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee, the brand’s flagship, didn’t help.

Now comes an all-new update, and during a couple days of driving through Northern California, we were pleased to discover that Chrysler has managed to endow the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee with the sort of refinement and style that is going to impress potential buyers and make competitors wary.

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In an era when more and more makers are moving away from classic sport-utility vehicles in favor of car-based crossovers – as Ford will do with the launch of the 2011 Explorer – Chrysler has held firm with the hybrid unibody/truck approach its used on all versions since the original Grand Cherokee.  That means the 2011 Jeep retains its impressive off-road capabilities. It can still charge over rugged country and up steep hills with the kind of agility that has always appealed to Jeep loyalists.