These are the first official pictures of the new Jeep Cherokee - the first Jeep-branded product to be created from the ground up by the Fiat-Chrysler alliance. It is slated to be officially unveiled at the New York motor show in March, and will replace the company’s smaller SUV, the Liberty, internationally.
Not to be confused with the Grand Cherokee, which is a full-size luxury SUV, the Cherokee is an entry-level crossover that will rival the likes of theHonda CR-V and Nissan X-Trail In Europe. This could be one of two future smaller Jeep offerings for India and will be positioned below the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee.
The new Jeep Cherokee is based on a version of Fiat’s ‘Compact Wide’ platform, which underpins the US-market Dodge Dart saloon, the Alfa Romeo Giulietta and the Fiat Viaggio. The platform is capable of accommodating a four-wheel-drive system, V6 engines and diesels, all of which will be available in the new Jeep. The petrol V6, which is unlikely to make it to India, will be a 3.2-litre version of Chrysler’s 3.6-litre unit.
It will also be the first Fiat-Chrysler vehicle to get a new nine-speed automatic gearbox. This transmission is said to be “the future of the front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive world of Chrysler”, according to CEO Sergio Marchionne.
The new Jeep’s styling is a radical departure from the square, chunky look of the rest of the range, and the overall shape is altogether more curvy. But familiar styling cues like the seven-bar Jeep grille remain – although it appears ‘bent’ across the curve of the bonnet. The unusual headlight cluster uses a pair of slit-like lamps that also house the indicators, while a larger pair of lamps sit below these on either side of the grille. There are attractive touches like chrome detailing and LED light elements to liven up the front end as well.