‘Tis the season for automakers to hand out gifts to loyal fans in the form of sneak previews of products coming to the North American International Auto Show next month. And among the more notorious teasers to cross our desk was one offering pics of the 2019 Jeep Cherokee.
The Cherokee nameplate has been around for more than four decades, though it was briefly renamed Liberty here in the U.S. When the nameplate was revived for the 2014 model-year it set heads spinning and tongues clacking due to the unusual design – especially the unusual, two-tier lighting.
The 2019 edition may be a mid-cycle update but it gets more than just the usual minor tweaks, at least based on what these images reveal. Among other things, that includes more traditional headlamps framing the classic, keystone-style Jeep seven-slat grille.
From the back, the overall look is less slab-sided, with what appear to be new LED taillamps that flow further into the rear quarter panels, as well as an integrated spoiler lip just above the tailgate.
Inside, the teaser image reveals a more refined instrument panel with a larger touchscreen expected to feature the latest version of the automaker’s Uconnect infotainment system.
(What’s gone wrong with Jeep? Click Here for the story.)
For now, parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles isn’t saying much about the 2019 refresh, beyond this terse statement:
“The most capable midsize sport-utility vehicle (SUV) boasts a new, authentic and more premium design, along with even more fuel-efficient powertrain options. Additional images and complete vehicle information will be available January 16, 2018, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.”
What’s in store on the powertrain front? We’ve been hearing plenty of speculation, ranging from a “mild,” 48-volt hybrid to a full Chrysler Pacifica-style hybrid package. But the Cherokee might also share the new turbo-four introduced on the all-new Jeep Wrangler.
(Click Here for more about FCA’s third quarter financial results.)
The current version of the Cherokee is offered in the U.S. with a stock 2.4-liter inline-four and an optional 3.2-liter Pentastar V-6 – both paired with a nine-speed automatic. A 2.2-liter diesel is also available in some overseas markets. Buyers also can opt for either front- or all-wheel-drive.
What else can we pick up from these teaser images? There will remain a variety of different trim levels, for one thing. And that will include the familiar Trailhawk off-road package, distinguished by its black-out grille and bumper and red tow hooks.
But the change in the headlight layout is destined to become the most talked-about change for what is otherwise just a mid-cycle update. Jeep clearly polarized the market with the two-tier design. And while that alienated some potential buyers it clearly got the Cherokee plenty of notice in an otherwise crowded field of compact utility vehicles. But the new, more conventional layout could draw in a broader audience – at least that’s what Jeep designers apparently are hoping. Jeep is so optimistic it has taken over space previously used for the old Dodge Dart to allow it to boost production capacity.
(To see more about the 2018 Jeep Wrangler, Click Here.)
Barring the release of a second teaser we’ll expect to learn more at the NAIAS in Detroit on Jan. 16.