By on February 22, 2013

Remember the Jeep Cherokee rendering we posted last month courtesy of Car and Driver? Well, we had it on good authority that the rendering was very accurate. Turns out our sources were right. Jalopnik has photos of the new Jeep Cherokee undisguised and it is dead on. The styling is polarizing, to say the least. Some day it looks like a Jeep Juke, but I see more Cayenne.

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60 Comments on “Car And Driver Nails The Jeep Cherokee...”


  • avatar
    ott

    Not really a fan of the body, looks too much like an ’03 CR-V with the unpainted front bumper.

  • avatar
    crtfour

    Wow nice intel work whoever got those spy shots.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Reminds me of a BMW X3 right down to the tacky black plastic.

    Frankly I’d rather have an old box model off craiglist.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “Some day it looks like a Jeep Juke, but I see more Cayenne”

    I just see Cherokee fail.

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    I went over to the J-nik site to see the photos. So, this is what FIAT excecs envision for a small FWD-based Jeep.

    The side profile looks awkward and already dated. If this a final production look-a-like, then the miniscule headlight treatment will hurt sales in a similar fashion to Pontiac’s Aztec.

  • avatar
    EquipmentJunkie

    While this photo looks better than the one that I saw earlier on a low-class auto blog site, I still think that it’s a bad look.

    Is Jeep trying to appeal to those jilted Pontiac Aztek buyers?

  • avatar
    SlowMyke

    The whole front end is bad, but those lights are the worst. Nissan already won the race to put the headlights as far back on the hood as possible.

    Also, if they are going to CUV-ize it, they should leave the Cherokee name alone keep it a Liberty.

  • avatar
    jco

    they’ve done this to their primary model? the leader of their lineup? aside from the wrangler, I guess.

    not that I would own a non-BOF suv, but I really like the current JGC. this is really horrid.

    ooh, i just clicked over to see the profile angle shot. the mix of the sharp angles in front with the curve of the beltline below the windows is just wrong. reminds me of a Hyundai Santa Fe

    comment edit: ok so this not the JGC but a model below that. hmm..

    • 0 avatar

      A couple of points. This is the Cherokee and replaces the Liberty. It’s not a replacement for the Grand Cherokee. Also, the original tough as nails Cherokee was not BOF but rather was Jeeps first unibody vehicle. Some say that Jeep overengineered it.

      The question that I have is how will people who have owned and loved the original Cherokee (which was in production for a long, long time) react to a Cherokee that’s even perceived as less rugged because of its FWD origins?

      • 0 avatar
        Nate

        Kill it with fire. Thank Zeus we have the Wrangler Unlimited at least.

      • 0 avatar
        jco

        yeah I realized this was their lower-range model and not the JGC. although the JGC wasn’t BOF, it generally was a competent off-roader. I guess I’m just looking at the attractive current gen JGC and hoping they don’t mess it up like this with some sort of new styling direction. but taking some liberties (ha!) on a cuv-ish smaller model is not such a big deal.

        so really, we’re talking about a model that’s been gone for awhile. if anything, the old Liberty was a sort of successor to the original Cherokee. this seems more like the follow up to the compass/patriot if anything. and apparently there were versions of the Patriot that were fairly capable on the trails.

        i think as long as they keep making the Wrangler for the actual and pretend hardcore off-roaders, it works out. my own opinion is that the styling is a bit severe.

      • 0 avatar
        azmtbkr81

        I can’t imagine they’ll react well. The XJ has been out of production for 12 or so years and those that remain have mostly fallen into the hands of owners who appreciate features like solid axles, ground clearance, and the torque of a straight six. They won’t be fooled by a feeble Fiat tall car with a Cherokee name. No, this new Cherokee will be the ride of choice for college girls and empty-nesters and will never see off road use with the possible exception of the occasional dirt parking lot.

      • 0 avatar
        sitting@home

        “perceived as less rugged”

        Yes, the Jalopnik article mentions …

        “the 1.4 liter Fiat turbo as a gas-mileage king”

        To old Cherokee owners that will be perceived about as rugged as a pink Corolla covered in Hello Kitty decals. They’re not going to make many nostalgia sales with that engine.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Hmmm…the small headlights…Chrysler got seriously dinged for their headlights and the resulting dimness 20 years ago. I know headlight bulbs have improved greatly, so this may not be a problem, just a perception.

    As for styling, I’ll wait until I see one in person before I judge.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      Looking at the real photos not this rendering, the lights on top are NOT headlights. Those are turn and running lamps.

      Headlights are integrated into the front fascia. (IE: Nissan Juke)

    • 0 avatar
      rudiger

      Those tiny, slit headlights are a step backward to the universally despised, inadequate headlights of the first generation Dodge Intrepid (along with the rest of the Chrysler/Dodge lineup of the time).

      Maybe technology has advanced enough to compensate, but they sure say nineties’ Chrysler products, to me.

  • avatar
    corntrollio

    From the angle shown above, it sort of looks like a Lexus RX that ran into a wall, but only bent the sheet metal, not broke it.

    That’s probably the intention, now that I think about it.

  • avatar
    MR2turbo4evr

    What’s happening with SUVs and CUVs lately? The new CRV looks horrendous, the new RAV4 is super ugly, and this thing is almost as disgusting as the Aztek.

    • 0 avatar
      OldandSlow

      When the CUV crossovers first came out – even though their platforms were based on FWD cars – styling wise automakers did try to make them look a little like their truck line up. For example, the Escape looked like a smaller version of the old body on frame Explorer.

      Now it seems CUV crossovers are getting their styling ques from the car line up. Practicality has been subordinated by styling.

  • avatar
    jimboy

    Uh, it’s always amusing to hear from the armchair quarterback crowd. Does anyone of you actually own a jeep, or SERIOUSLY contemplating a purchase?
    I think not, so I doubt whether Chrysler, Jeep or Fiat really gives a hoot about your opinions, especially considering that virtually no-one has even seen it in the flesh yet. You’re all good for a chuckle, tho.

    • 0 avatar
      SlowMyke

      I own a current gen Liberty, so yes, I am qualified to bitch about its replacement. And while some cars are of the “you have to see it in person” type, this is more Pontiac Aztek (as pointed out above) in that you can tell it won’t be pretty no matter how you present it. If it drives will and is priced right, I guess the styling won’t matter too much to the masses, but it does to me.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I had a ’91 Cherokee and my mother drives an ’03 Liberty, we’re not a “Jeep” family but have had some positive experience with it. I’m not personally contemplating an automotive purchase anytime soon, but I suspect sooner rather than later I’ll be on the lot for the g/f. While JGC is intriguing, its out of our price range and I suspect this POS will be, so we won’t be shopping Jeep… not just because this isn’t a real Jeep, but more because this thing is hideous.

    • 0 avatar
      mitchw

      If the owners kept them in the garage like it were some kind of Ferrari and no one had to look at this minger, you’d have a point jimboy. But cars are supposed to be seen by others, and be seen in. We’re all going to have to look at this. Oyoyoy.

    • 0 avatar
      EquipmentJunkie

      I know what you are saying, jimboy. But, even if we don’t actually purchase the vehicles in question, I suspect that a lot of us are asked our opinions by friends and acquaintances who are. I get asked a lot by friends about my opinion on what they should or shouldn’t buy.
      By the way, I currently have a Wrangler and it will soon be sold. The present Grand Cherokee is the first GC that I would seriously consider buying. Friends of my parents have a ’12 GC and it is very nice. (The previous generation did nothing to interest me, unlike the Explorer.) Just the other day I mentioned to my brother that I’d buy one over its closest competitor, the Explorer.

  • avatar
    otter

    Proportions like this on something sold as a Cherokee are going to take some getting used to – particularly the large overhangs and the really short dash-to-axle relationship.

    I won’t go so far as to say that a crossover Cherokee won’t be successful – all the OMGthenewJettaissuchatravesty types were spectacularly wrong, after all – but it certainly is different. I think the market probably supports going to a car-based crossover-type vehicle, but I’m guessing the move was probably driven as much by what platforms were available for development as anything else. At least there is always the GC for people who want something a bit more traditional.

    • 0 avatar
      Lampredi

      “all the OMGthenewJettaissuchatravesty types were spectacularly wrong, after all”

      Haven’t you noticed – VW is invincible these days. It can do absolutely no wrong in the marketplace, it just needs to launch a model, and as long as it has the VW badge in front, it’ll sell like hotcakes, regardless of whether it’s any good.

      One cannot expect the same amount of goodwill in the marketplace for a Fiat-Chrysler product, though – the product has to *be* good and *look* good. By all indications, people seem to think the Cherokee fails at the latter…

      • 0 avatar
        otter

        Lampredi,

        If not invincible, VW has certainly been very successful here since the results of refocused product development goals have been on sale. I’m not sure if you’re suggesting that their current products aren’t any good and are riding on the laurels of the nameplate (if so: really? what laurels?) but clearly they’re good enough to have succeeded. About the only way in which one can honestly fault the new Jetta and Passat vs. the prior versions is in the quality of interior trim, and if you want to pay more for the good stuff, you’ve got the GLI, etc. But Jetta and Passat customers are clearly quite happy to live with cheaper materials for the sake of losing the price premium.

        By the same token, I think it’s easy to make a case that the product shift can be a good thing for the Cherokee. BOF SUVs have been increasingly unpopular for well over a decade now, one reason (overall mediocrity as an everyday vehicle is a bigger one, I think) that the current Liberty/Cherokee doesn’t sell very well. As for its appearance, there is no indication that people think the new Cherokee fails at looking good, because virtually nobody among the general car-buying public has seen it. The opinions of car-blog-reading and -posting types are hardly representative.

        • 0 avatar

          I’m no VW lover otter, and you had me until the laurel thing. VW sure has a lot of laurels. Beetle, Golf, Passat, Santana not to mention a few of the Audis. VW may not be so big in the US but from where I’m sitting it sure seems like VW world domination scheme is a few Toyota missteps away.

          Just sayin’

          • 0 avatar
            otter

            Marcelo,

            This would be a good time to clarify that I was referring to VW’s reputation in the US market specifically :) I’m sure you’re aware it’s rather different than what it is in Brazil and Europe. It was very good until around the Mk2 Golf and then their quality problems slowly killed it…

        • 0 avatar
          Lampredi

          “I’m not sure if you’re suggesting that their current products aren’t any good and are riding on the laurels of the nameplate (if so: really? what laurels?) but clearly they’re good enough to have succeeded.”

          I’m not at all suggesting that they are bad, it’s just that at the end of the day they’re nothing special. But with the VW badge in front they still sell by the truckload, whereas other manufacturers than VAG are forced to deliver a superior product to sell cars (and sometimes even that is not sufficient).

          • 0 avatar
            otter

            Lampredi,

            OK, I understand you, but I still think you’ve got it not entirely right; there is still some prestige associated with the brand, but that prestige was one mostly of image that has been let down for a long time by long-term reliability, but the assembly quality and material quality (?) over many years gave them a lot to rest on. Now they’re more cheaply built and, perhaps, they’re able to cash in some of that reputation that they banked, so to speak; but they’ve had that VW badge on the front the whole time, and they only started selling a lot of them once they took cost out of the car and priced them competitively with more ordinary cars in the segments.

  • avatar
    niky

    This looks like a Santa Fe swallowed a pelican… and choked on it. That’s some horrid front overhang, really nasty stuff. And this is coming from someone who actually likes vehicles like the Juke.

    Interestingly enough, the interior looks like it was cribbed from the Santa Fe, too.

    -

    I think the Cayenne comparison is spot-on. That thing is actually slightly more horrid than the first-generation Hannibal Lecter face-mask Cayenne.

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    From the front, and interior, it looks ok. From the side? God no.

    Jeep use to build big trucks in small bodies. This is a small car built into a bloated body. What a god awful POS and so undeserving of the Jeep badge. I think my 06′ Liberty CRD was one of the last great Jeeps ever made, cementing that old philosophy of a heavy duty drivetrain in a vehicle that was roomy, but on the smaller side. Needless to say, I won’t be rushing out and trading it in for this.

    The GC went to IRS, the Compass/Patriots are a joke and out-done by about everything else on the market this side of a Nissan. All that reamins is the Wrangler; and the pentastar engine does not do that vehicle will at all.

  • avatar
    akitadog

    Seeing the new Cherokee pics, I immediately think, “Chinese knock-off.” It doesn’t look like anything else. It certainly doesn’t look like a Jeep.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      “It certainly doesn’t look like a Jeep.”

      Seven…count ‘em – 7 slats in the grille. That’s all you have to know! By that standard, it’s a Jeep! The rest? Umm…er…we’ll see.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    *Say (not day)

    As in: Some say…

    Its face looks like it just sucked on a lemon. And its teeth are now crooked, and obviously British.

    All we know is, it’s called a Jeep. We think.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I really like it, but I’ve only seen the one pic – need to reserve final opinion to see other views and interior.

  • avatar
    mjc1982

    I suppose that it’s a Jeep thing, I wouldn’t understand

  • avatar

    To me it looks good enough. Jeep is now an Italian owned company whose parent is trying to take the Jeep brand international. In markets outside the US such things as Hyundai CUVs, the new swoopy Volvos etc look good and are wanted. Also, in most international markets most peoples memories of Jeeps is that WWII relic that gave rise to, for example, an new word in Portuguese, “jipe”. A Suzuki Samurai is called jipe here for example. So, in most international markets people don’t know Pontiac Azteks, original square Cherokee, Liberties etc. Most people will see a modern, attractive design, for a kind of car that is on an upswing the world over, the urban SUV. I’ll bet it’ll sell. In America and elsewhere.

    And, FWIW, I welcome the new small headlights. I’m tired of huge lights. Let’s get some tasty lights back. I hope this is a sign of things to come (in terms of lights).

    • 0 avatar
      azmtbkr81

      Urban SUV…what an oxymoron. You crack me up Marcelo. I wonder if that little 4 banger is strong enough to tow my chickenwire canoe?

      • 0 avatar

        Hey azmtbkr81!

        I guess some people in the press started calling this kind of car an urban SUV with more than a hint of sarcasm. The buying public didn’t pick up on the criticism though and thusly a new category was born: the Urban SUV (or USUV*tm*)!

        Even if you don’t speak Portuguese, you might enjoy seeing the Brazilian Renault Duster commercial on youtube. It’ll make you laugh (or cry). The tagline is “Welcome to the real SUV World!” And they say it with a straight face…

  • avatar
    Bucknasty

    I think it’s a good idea to basically make Jeep’s answer to an Evoque (somewhat, though I wish they’d call it anything else but Cherokee, and I think they’d see way less backlash). What really makes it look funny to my eye isn’t the lights, it’s shoehorning the corporate grille onto it. If they were going to eschew traditional Jeep styling, they should have gone all the way and put whatever grille this thing was designed for (I refuse to believe it was penned this way from the start). I can’t see the people buying this being people who know/care Jeeps normally have 7 bars

    For those who wish they could still buy an XJ, 4 door Wrangler hard tops are a decent consolation prize.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    It looks like a mainstream CUV, but it doesn’t look much like a Jeep. I think the Patriot did a better job of maintaining a family resemblance to other Jeeps. Heck, even the Compass did.

  • avatar
    Moparman426W

    Chrysler just announced on their twitter feed that the photos posted by jalopnik are “very early iterations which were modified following reactions within Chrysler and long lead journalists. The cars which will be seen in the April auto show will not look exactly like the ones leaked today.”

  • avatar
    ixim

    It looks like an excellent RAV4/CRV fighter to me. Slitty headlights – who cares? It’s built here.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I have to agree, Jeep is one of Fiat’s international brands, this means it will cater to a wider audience. It’s not unattractive, but I would like to see it “live”.

    My BT50 was butt ugly when I bought it, but the looks have grown on me. Trends and styles as they become more prevalent desensitises opinion.

    I also do believe the trend in US vehicle design will become more “international”.

    As the US market shrinks and the auto manufacturers become more multi national with fewer companies worldwide will impact future vehicle design in the US. I think globally we will eventually see less choice as the smaller players are gobbled up. Look at the aircraft industry.

    The US’s shrinking market is gradual decline as other markets and economies increase. Also the Big 3 are catching up to other global manufacturers in both design and technology. Protected markets tend to have this affect.

    You can see the same response regarding the Ford Transits and Ducato’s going into the US market.

    In twenty years I would like to see what a Chinese inspired Jeep will look like:)

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    “The US’s shrinking market is gradual decline as other markets and economies increase.”

    What I have written I have phrased incorrectly. I’m alluding to the relative declined of the US market in comparison the the wider global market as a percentage.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    It looks like a Rav4 or CR-V, both of which sell really, really well.

    I hope it’s a decent vehicle, at least. The Cherokee had a reputation for ruggedness but it somehow was never found to be reliable. And, judging by the few remaining examples in the parking lot, they would start to rust if you used salty language in their presence.

    I suppose I might lament the old Cherokee’s passing, just a bit but, really, most SUVs are bought by people whose idea of getting out into the wild is to drive to a Starbucks in a different zip code.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    It may be a great Jeep, but it just does not look like a Jeep. And that makes it a fail, sad to say….sometimes I get the impression that some insist on change just for the sake of change…

  • avatar
    fatalexception04

    Why was my post removed? Second time this week and it didn’t violate terms of use. I tried emailing TTAC but form didn’t go through. Anyone have ideas?

  • avatar
    saabaru

    My reaction from just this one picture: “What is this S–t?!” The grille and headlights hurt me, and the rest looks like a Ford Edge, or other nondescript CUV.


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