By on February 25, 2013

The newly shown Jeep Cherokee has created quite a ruckus. Some like the design, some describe it in language unsuitable to a family-oriented site like TTAC. The fact is Jeep needs this. The mother-ship, Fiat, is taking Jeep international and while Jeep’s design language gets good points at home, it really doesn’t strike a chord among buyers worldwide. What’s more, Jeep doesn’t have that much of a heritage outside US borders. So, the Italians are free to do with it what they like. For starters, Jeep now sponsors one of the most popular football teams in Europe. That is a sure sign that the Jeep you knew and loved is going through profound changes that will either make it relevant, or send it bruised and bleeding to lick it wounds back home.

The Twingo – polarizing, but popular

All you have to do is look at the story of the Renault Twingo to understand. Its designer, Patrick le Quément is known the world over and very influential. The Twingo was the car that made his career. The Renault establishment balked when le Quément presented his vision of the car. Undaunted, le Quément pushed it through. The car is now considered an icon of modern automobile design. If you have a pristine example, hold on to it. It might be worth a pretty penny 20 years from now.

When the 80s became the 90s, Renault was in a tough situation. Its conservative cars were quickly running out of gas in the market place. Newly hired chief designer le Quément proposed a radical new approach to design. He separated it from the engineers and product planners who, of course, were not pleased. So much so that they told le Quément the Twingo would have to be toned down from his radical vision. Le Quément appealed directly to Louis Schweitzer, Renault’s head honcho at the time: “The greatest risk is not to take any risks.”

Le Quément argued his case in a quintessentially French, counter-intuitive fashion, taking the results of the focus groups and turning them on their heads, “fifty percent of  the participants hated it and 25 percent were dubious. However, 25 percent said they loved it.”

The French designer radicalizes, “retro is retrograde. It’s driving looking in the rear-view mirror, admitting that you’ve run out of ideas.” In other words, don’t just keep repeating yourself. Retro cars usually create a short bounce of excitement that the good old days are back, then their sales sink into oblivion.

Italians loved the Twingo. They bought it in droves. This story is well known in European design circles. You can bet that it was part of the reasoning for the new Jeep Cherokee. The past is fine and dandy. Nevertheless, Jeep needs to move on. I sincerely hope the lesson is not lost on the great car makers of the even greater United States of America.

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138 Comments on “The Renault Twingo: An Explanation Of The Jeep Cherokee’s New Look...”


  • avatar

    At best…at kindest…it’s going to be an acquired taste here in the USA.

  • avatar
    Good ole dayz

    As I posted on another thread yesterday, it looks like Jeep is going “CHICk.”

    Women will adore the new look, metrosexuals will be fine with it.

    As for men, the current culture seeks to marginalize us so that we all eventually succumb to becoming metrosexuals.

    It appears that pickup trucks are becoming the last bastion of vehicular masculinity — watch for those to start to become more “unisex” over the coming years.

    • 0 avatar
      tatracitroensaab

      part of this is bull — trucks have gotten so masculine in the united states lately that they look like cartoons. On a more philosophical level, your gender norms are dated and unconfident. Real men aren’t afraid of pink (or anything else) because it’s a “girl color.” True masculinity is having the confidence to do what you want without worrying about what other people think — i would argue that it is the weak and *ahem* less well endowed men who are going for “manly vehicles” less for their utility and more for their “manliness.” You know what im talking about — the dude in the raptor whos never taken it off road, the guy in camo who never goes outdoors, etc.

      I think that this look is hideous, but it will probably grow on me, sort of like the Juke. At least its not bland, that would be a lot worse…

      • 0 avatar

        tatracitroensaab, I tend to agree though sometimes a car is just a car.

      • 0 avatar
        Onus

        Thumbs up!

        I do agree pickups are ugly. I wish a return to the old days of pickup trucks.

        I think the pinnacle of this is the 92-96/97 f series.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        The US pickup (1/2 ton) has become more a SUV than a truck. Even HDs are becoming psuedo SUVs. The US pickup has lost its way.

      • 0 avatar
        Les

        Some guys don’t want a car that isn’t Big and Burly and Grrr because they’re Afraid of cars that aren’t Big and Burly and Grrr or that their masculinity is threatened by cars that aren’t Big and Burly and Grrr.. sometimes you just want a car that’s Big and Burly and Grrr because you actually LIKE cars that are Big and Burly and Grrr.

        When all the shops you visit are only going to show you all their fine free-range low-carbon-footprint cruelty-free cashmere when what you really want is flannel it can get discouraging.

    • 0 avatar
      Good ole dayz

      tatracitroensaab,

      While I grant that current trucks have largely become caricatures (vehicles in general have become over-styled / busy / baroque), but …

      >>your gender norms are dated and unconfident … Real men aren’t afraid of pink (or anything else) because it’s a “girl color” … i would argue that it is the weak and *ahem* less well endowed men who are going for “manly vehicles” less for their utility and more for their “manliness.”

      Please spare me the reverse psychology …

      You may approve of what has been occurring in the culture at large — the denigration and demonization of traditional masculinity and masculine role models such as fathers in nuclear family units (cultural “fundamental transformation” driven by the radical feminist, gay rights and secular / anti-religious agendas) — please don’t try to insult my intelligence that this hasn’t been occurring, nor try to intimidate me with “turnspeak” like efforts to question my masculinity and thereby intimidate me into silence and/or to discredit my post to other readers.

    • 0 avatar
      MrGreenMan

      It would be nice to see pickup trucks available with a little more utility. I think the chickification of the pickup truck has been behind making the bed almost useless for work and the proliferation of quad cabs. Being what was “average height” of around 5’10”, my father’s 1980s-era Silverado was perfect, and his 2000s-era Silverado is very hard to use for real work. I borrowed it to haul a pallet, which it swallowed A-OK, but we were stretching the limits of the loader to get it high enough in the air to deposit onto the truck.

      It just seems like a work truck trim should actually accomodate a man doing work like trucks did back in the 80s, including loading a tool kit in and out of the bed without lowering the tailgate.

      I saw a 1990 K1500 SS with the short bed, standard cab, definitely designed for putting out some power, but still not with its hind end so high in the air to prevent loading actual content into the truck bed, especially over the side; now that was a man’s truck!

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        I hate modern trucks for the same reason. just too damn tall. They need to start offering the work trucks with loading ramps because of the height.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        Agreed.

        I’m slightly shorter than average, but not by enough that it gets in the way of my daily life. But my F-150’s load floor is around sternum level. This makes loading cargo and even closing the window on the topper a challenge for me.

        The F-150 is 4×4, but it has to be because truck buyers thing that FWD is for pansies, even if it would provide 70% of the traction of a 4×4, without locking the differential and chewing up the tires.

        My F-150 is for sale. 124k miles. 2004. Classic body style. 4×4. 4.3L V8. Driven by a little old grandma to remote places all over North America, and maintained by her two sons and dealer maintenance. Replaced with an Escape, because the Escape is the right tool for the job that need to be done over the next couple of years. And I drive a minivan, because I’m man enough and dad enough to to use the right tool for the job. Any of you truck guys want to take this too-tall-to-be-useful behemoth off my hands?

        My next utility vehicle will probably be a panel van. They’re super cheap on the used market, can haul/tow, will protect my cargo from the weather and thieves, and doesn’t require me to have the physique of a basketball player to load it. Somehow, all of this practicality strikes me as being a lot more masculine than the jacked up 4×4 in my driveway.

        • 0 avatar
          MrGreenMan

          I needed something with a little more ground clearance for bad roads in winter and a little hauling. That was a Mercury Mariner with everything. You can decide if it’s because an unloved badge is super cheap, even compared to a stripped Escape, or I thought I got at least a time share of Jill. It outruns Jeeps, even the Hemi-not-a-Hemi V8s.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          You’ve been telling us how much you hate your F-150 since ’10. Sell it already and move on. But I’m sure you love complaining too much…

          Real-size trucks aren’t for everyone, it’s true, but it’s all relative. Your truck is what I’d call mid-size and is actually perfect for my nee… OK, ‘wants’. I own the same truck and you mean 4.6 V8.

          At the same time, you would want to hurt somebody if you had to live in my 800 sqft home without central air or heating and no insulation (1906). Or double pain windows. Perfect for me. I’m the outdoors type even when I’m not.

          I prefer the bold masculine look of newer trucks, and wasn’t into the softer jellybeans.

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            You wanna buy it?

            Its spent two years serving the purpose we bought it for (my mother’s retirement project). It was the right tool for that job, but now she’s driving something more cost effective. Now it’s sitting in my driveway, and I’m ready to get it sold and be done with it.

            It’s good pickup truck, it’s just too tall for me, and traditional four wheel drive (RWD++) is poorly suited to my paved and wintery suburban environs. I like my Sienna a lot better.

            Please, someone buy this truck!

      • 0 avatar
        joe_thousandaire

        The height of new trucks is an issue, both for the ingress/egress of shorter and older people and the height of the bed. Allot of people (including me) do appreciate the higher ground clearance though.
        The solution? Air suspension, the 2013 Ram has it, go buy one.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        The design of this old 1971 Chevrolet C10 makes no attempt to be masculine other than it’s utility for work.
        http://www.stovebolt.com/gallery/coon_jeremy_1971.html
        Even with smooth “glamor pickup” lines and turquoise paint it looks more manly than the 2013 choices. Too bad classic pickup proportions are not available today.

        The Jeep Cherokee (XJ) had fairly basic styling that looked dated when new in the 90s, but it managed to retain it’s truck roots in a smaller, lighter weight, package. Unibody, but it could be accepted as natural evolution of the Jeep wagon. The new Jeep Cherokee lacks any connection to either Jeep or Cherokee.

    • 0 avatar
      marjanmm

      Ah for VannilaDude to tell us how there will be 20% less babies born because of this design.
      Also for PCH to somehow prove to us convincingly both you and Marcelo are wrong.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      “Women will adore the new look, metrosexuals will be fine with it. As for men, the current culture seeks to marginalize us so that we all eventually succumb to becoming metrosexuals. It appears that pickup trucks are becoming the last bastion of vehicular masculinity — watch for those to start to become more ‘unisex’ over the coming years.”

      I’ve seen internet comments by guys that like Wranglers and old school Cherokees for offroading, but I don’t think they represent a large segment of Jeep buyers. In fact I think they represent a very small segment of Jeep buyers. Everyone I know in person that likes Jeeps is a woman. The guys I know that care about cars care about sports cars, SUVs are something for the wife. So, if “women will adore the new look”, then Jeep has hit a home run with its core market.

      If the ND Miata sucks then that will be an example of society marginalizing men. That will piss off a lot of the guys I know. If a guy can’t drive a sports car or at least a two door coupe then he is an example of a pussy whipped cuckhold. Did James Dean drive an SUV? Did Steve McQueen drive an SUV? Does Jon Hamm’s character in Mad Men get a Range Rover? No, he gets an XKE.

      The new Cayman is awesome, the new Corvette is awesome, the Mustang is awesome, the Camaro is awesome, the Challenger is awesome, the FR-S is awesome, the BRZ is awesome, the Genesis Coupe is awesome and the ND Miata just might be awesome, despite the pessimism. The car choices right now for real men are great. Hopefully their wives will like this new Cherokee, then everyone can be happy.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        Thank You…I love it when my man. steering, 5 speed, hand crank window, manual top Miata is called a chick car by someone with headed leather power seats in his King Ranch. I am optimistic about the ND as Mazda has stated goals for the car that are positive and there current design philisophy of going lighter with all the Skyactive stuff bodes well for this car. Additionally the death of the RX8, love it or hate it, is good for the Miata as it will not have to share components with the larger, heavier cousin.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      Gents, FWIW the only Jeeps I’ve been in are CJs and Jeep Grand Cherokees (JGC). The CJs were usually lifestyle machines to show one was hip and outdoorsy. The JGCs were also lifestyle machines; to show one has a hint of money and hangs with the Horsey set. Wait! The JGC had amazing 4wd prowess. All that with heated seats and not having to get into inane conversations about lift kits and tire sizes while going to the parts store to get wiper blades. I am old enough to remember when only John Birch society guys with bad hair cuts drove Cherokees and trucks had exposed screws in the interior. Nowadays trucks can cost more or as much as the most expensive car the company sells. Think your vehicle is an expression is an expression of testosterone reeking manliness? Uh no, it’s what the marketing department foisted on you. 54K for a gussied up American truck? Not a chance in hell.

  • avatar
    2012JKU

    The problem was using the Cherokee name on this vehicle. Americans remember the XJ and this thing doesn’t compare in terms of capability. It is also FWD based now, unlike the old Liberty. The front end is just ugly and most controversial. The Cherokee was the wrong vehicle to experiment with because the XJ was an icon just like the Wrangler. Chrysler better hope this sells in Europe (where the market is dwindling) because it definitely will not sell well in America. Jeep is already feeling the backlash and it isn’t even out yet. This is the next Pontiac Aztek.

    • 0 avatar

      Hi 2012JKU! Pls refer to one of the tenets of my piece: Internationalization of Jeep. The use of the name Cherokee has probably much to do with that. Patriot, COmmando? Too militaristic. Other Jeep model names are not well established out of NA. Cherokke does have some recognition. The Jeep name itself is problamatic. It has entered the Portuguese lexicon as “jipe” and describes just a type of car (like sedan, hatch or station wagon). So in Brazil at least, any car company can make a jeep. Cherokke solves that problem as it evokes something, usually positive, in people’s minds. If you talk abot the new “jipe” in BRazil, people will ask: By whom? Hyundai? Toyota? Suzuki?

      • 0 avatar
        2012JKU

        I think you missed the point. If Jeep wants to go international they should have found a new name for this “Jeep”. It simply doesn’t live up to the name. Going international with this model is at the expense of its image in America where the brand depends on the bulk of its sales to be relevant and survive. Capability off road sets Jeep apart from the rest. If they lose that why bother with a Jeep? You could get a Mazda CX-5 or any other number of crossovers that would likely out perform this in day to day life. Jeep simply doesn’t have a reason to continue its existence without off road capability. If this is their plan long term they should just start winding down the brand now like GM did with Hummer.

        • 0 avatar

          SIr, I get and respect your opinion, but some people just think differently. To come up with a new name costs money. It’d probably have been a good idea, but Fiat is in a hurry to make money. Second, makers’ data shows that few people ever take their 4x4s off-road. Most don’t even care. However, the Jeep name has that charm to it. It could be that doing soft roaders like this damages the name Jeep, but again Fiat just wants to ride the wave and make money on how the market is now. Like other commenters here have pointed out, there is always the Wrangler for those who want that serious off roading capacity.

          Now, I’m not saying this strategy is wrong or right. Others would be more qualified to comment. I tend to see the reasoning for Fiat’s decisions and I whole-heartedly agree that Jeep needs to move forward. Jeep has been kept in a corner too long. It is now spreading its wings. Time will tell if this a winning strategy or not. I think it is.

          • 0 avatar
            2012JKU

            Fair enough, you are right that time will tell if this strategy will work. I am on my second Jeep, a 2012 Wrangler Unlimited. My first was a 1999 Grand Cherokee. I am not the target market for this new Cherokee but long term I think it will hurt the brand. If Fiat botches the Wrangler replacement I am predicting the death of Jeep. I will admit this Cherokee design has me concerned even though I won’t be in the market for another Jeep for quite awhile.

          • 0 avatar
            David

            Your article and thoughtful comments are right on target, Marcelo. Better to have controversial styling that some love (I think the bent grill is cool) and some hate, than one more boring vehicle for sale. Controversy paid off well for Chrysler when they introduced Mack truck styling on the Ram years ago. Some people hated it but it became a GOTTA HAVE product for enough buyers to make the Ram a much bigger player in the pickup market.

        • 0 avatar
          Mitsu_fan

          Jeep has not announced all the off road capability this Cherokee has. Trust me, it will be far more capable than a Rav4, CR-V, and CX-5 and not just with software-based traction aids. Stay tuned, it won’t dissapoint.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      The old Cherokee had amazing offroad capability with its live front and rear axles, but few buyers ever used it.

      Jeep already has a mid-size four-door fully capable offroader with the Wrangler Unlimited, there isn’t room in its lineup for something redundant to the Wrangler Unlimited.

      *If* this does not sell it will be because of the aesthetics, not the engineering.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I tend to agree when the Cherokee was originally sold few first owners used its off-road capabilities, although I would say today s size-able chunk of those examples still left have fun in the mud.

        You have an interesting point on not directly competing with Wrangler Unlimited, I suppose the real question is how many buyers in a year need a real Jeep and how many are more interested in being “Jeep posers”. I would guess the ratio is something like 30 real/70 poser, hence this thing.

        • 0 avatar
          corntrollio

          “I would guess the ratio is something like 30 real/70 poser, hence this thing.”

          Among people who buy Wranglers, the number has to be at least 70% poseur. It’s probably higher than 70% for the massive F-250/2500 pickups with lift kits I see that have never seen mud or anything approaching 30% load in the pickup bed.

    • 0 avatar
      azmtbkr81

      This entire debate really boils down a loss of brand identity for Jeep.

      It used to be that the purchase of a Jeep assured a a basic level of off-road competency. Knowing that this ability existed was reassuring to many owners even if seldom used.

      Beginning with the Compass and now cemented with the Cherokee, potential non-enthusiast buyers now need to research and determine which Jeep models will stand up to off-road driving and which have little more capability than the flimsy passenger sedans that they are based on.

      The Jeep brand implies ruggedness and capability, now that over half their models are essentially cars I can’t imagine that band identity will survive in the US or internationally.

      Fiat would be better off doing away with all Jeep models except for the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee and leave the cute utes and CUVs to Dodge.

      • 0 avatar

        Dodge will eventually fall off the cliff. No room there.

        Again my friend, the tradtional Jeep market is very small and getting smaller. Jeep has good recognition, but has not achieved the full potential of the brand (in terms of sales). In order to do that they have to reach out to the kinds of consumers who always though Jeep would be a good idea, but balked because they didn’t want the added weight, consumption, extra maintenance that comes with all the ruggedness to be trail-rated. Something needed to be done or Jeep would be the golden boy that never realized his potential, exactly like happened to AMC, Renault and all previous owners.

        Now I’ll say something that’ll male your skin crawl. If I were in charge of Jeep, I’d make a Jeep car. Say that I was after the Subaru/Audi Quattro crowd. Eventually make a sporty 4x2car. An upscale, American Alfa Romeo.

        How do you like them bones? BMW nowsells trucks as do VW and Mercedes. Why can’t Jeep sell cars? I bet they could.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          “In order to do that they have to reach out to the kinds of consumers who always though Jeep would be a good idea, but balked because they didn’t want the added weight, consumption, extra maintenance that comes with all the ruggedness to be trail-rated.”

          In the US, it is hard to imagine such a person. A Jeep hasn’t been a good idea since Willy’s stopped making them. People buy the Jeep’s rugged capabilities and accept the overall shoddiness and bottom-feeding reliability. Maybe it’s different in the UK, where “Queer as Folk” successfully ruined Jeep’s prospects of selling to the general population. Here though, the only reason to buy a Jeep has always been the capabilities. If you want something that doesn’t work off-road, that doesn’t look like a Jeep, that doesn’t have a removable roof, and that can’t tow a horse trailer, then why on earth would you buy something from a company known for pathetic quality, general unreliability, and massive fuel consumption?

          • 0 avatar

            Outdoorsy, adventurous image. I stress image.

            Now, I totally agree. A marketing and designing excercise is pointless if you don’t have the product to back it up. Grand Cherokee sales prove that a large number of people in the States in fact believe Jeep offers them something. The Cherokee is just a further step in what Jeep/Fiat know full well people look for in their products.

            It’s possibly not the car for you. No problem, it does seem to be a car for many of your countrymen and urban dwellers all over the world sitting, sweating in their apartments and dreaming of the fabled country life. From what we can gather from various sources, that seems to be the point from which the desire to buy an Urban SUV such as this springs.

            Makers sell dreams as much as cars. In our times, they probably sell more dreams than cars. Afterall the last words of your post can be used to describe the ubber German luxobarges. I can’t imagine why they sell so much (or rather I do), as they don’t offer anything to me, but there seems to be no shortage of people lusting for them, breaking their backs for them.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            All I see in the new Cherokee is an attempt to go after the strong selling CR-V, Equinox, Escape, and RAV4. The previous Escape was a quality product and the two Japanese CUVs are unimpeachable. People that drive them might wish for more towing capacity, but they don’t wish for the headaches of Jeep quality in exchange for nothing. The JGC is still perceived as a real SUV instead of a big CUV. I think that’s why it’s a success. If Fiat turns the next one into a CUV like Nissan did with the Pathfinder, I don’t think it will be as well-received as the Nissan. More people perceive Nissans as reliable products.

        • 0 avatar
          azmtbkr81

          I guess I still don’t get it…why Jeep? I understand that there is a strong demand for CUVs the world over but if you don’t plan to retain any of the features that have defined Jeep for 60 years what is the point? A rugged image built on past vehicles can only last so long if current vehicles don’t have the cajones to back it up. GM tried this approach with Pontiac and we all know how well that went.

          I just don’t see an upside for Fiat this this move: dilute Jeep’s brand in the US while failing to offer a substantially differentiated Jeep product to the rest of the world? How is morphing Jeep into a me- too manufacturer of badge engineered CUVs a recipe for success anywhere?

          • 0 avatar

            hey azmtbkr81:

            I can undertand your disgust but think a minute:

            – Jeep still has a good name. It has better recognition than Dodge, Dodge is a non-entity nowadays. Fiat has too many brands as is. They’ll let Dodge go away.
            – Traditional SUVs are a shrinking market. Even in America. People don’t want to pay the gas penalty or bear the discomfort, plus they tend to be too big.
            – CUVs are growing. Me too or not, the numbers are there for everybody to want a piece of the pie. In America they are already an established fact, but they have hardly started in other parts of the not so developed world. Fact is, in places like Brazil, the word CUV or crossover is hardly ever heard or used (much less understood). People in growing markets (BRIC and others, see Indonesia article, the market there has doubled in 2 yrs!) want cars that look like a jeep, meaning something that looks like a SUV or CUV, which to non-enthusiasts are the same thing.
            – Like it or not, the Asians have set the design standards in this market and boxy is out. Everybody is copying them after a fashion.
            – Again even in America..Look at Nissan, look at Explorer. All have given up and now are monocoques. Why is that? Makers have the data, they can see the future.

          • 0 avatar
            2012JKU

            Exactly! I would prefer they just wind down Jeep and kill it off rather than see it reduced to this level. If you take away the capability you are stuck with something that simply cant compete with the CX-5s of the world. Jeep cant survive on the Wrangler alone. The Grand Cherokee still has moderate offroad cred but the rest of their line up has been a joke since they killed off the XJ.

  • avatar
    Magnusmaster

    I love that bevel effect on the front grille, it makes the car look more aggressive and modern. I’m not a fan of the “four eyes” but it’s not nearly as ugly as the new Citroen C4 Picasso (a good example of how NOT to design a car). I wouldn’t compare this Jeep with the Twingo though.

    • 0 avatar

      Hey Magnusmaster, totally agree with you!

      To clarify: The point of comparing the Cherokee to the Twingo is that both represent a departure from the traditional styling themes of the repective brands at a time in which the companies wished to impart a new phase in their long histories. Renault was always the more conservative of the French makers while Jeep always used brutish, squarish lines. The wingo was a break from that conservatism, while the Cherokee also signals the new direction Fiat is determined to take Jeep. At least that’s my analysis.

      The two cars of course can in no way be compared.

      • 0 avatar
        Manic

        Well, one could easily argue that at least some people bought Twingos despite it’s design, not because of it. Twingo was “starter car” a la Dacia is now, and at the time alternatives were quite bad in Europe, old boxy Fiat panda or some Seat for the same price? Twingo was just more bang for the buck.

        • 0 avatar

          Wasn’t the Clio cheaper? Even so, some would have done exactly like you described. I could’ve been one of those. I bught my Renault Logan is pite of its design. It didn’t bother me enough to see its selling points. So a design is not determinant to some people. But I’m willing to bet that I’m in a very small minority nowadays.

        • 0 avatar
          marjanmm

          Twingo was a marvel of space utilization, it was incredibly roomy for its size so it had another real selling point besides the design.

          • 0 avatar

            Of course! Design serves to get people talking, get people into the dealerships. There, a good chunk will be blinded by the design and base their decision primarily on it (going by what people in the industry tell me). Others will buy or not depending on another whole sect of aspects. The Twingo had many other good qualities: great internal space (as you say), a well put together and creative interior design, good engines for the class, economy etc., etc.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      It’s not just the bevel on the grille. It’s also the chrome trim around the individual slots, it’s the four (our six) lights at the front, it’s the tumours holding the middle lights, and it’s the incongruity of the traditional slot grille combined with the Kia tigermouth grille below the bumper.

      It’s as if the designers were trying too hard to be different. In comparison, the Twingo is a nice, clean design.

      • 0 avatar

        Hey th009! At the time, the Twingo was thought of as quite different. Many people had trouble internalizing its design and until today some hate it. Nowadays, and after a gazillion sales, it looks “normal”. But that’s the power of good design. After it, many cars came along that elaborated on the ideas. That’s why it’s iconic, it influenced a bevy of posterior cars.

        I’m not saying the Cherokee will find the same favor. I’m just pointing out that car companies know what they’re doing when they do this sort of thing. Time will tell if Jeep’s design was a winning one.

    • 0 avatar
      nickoo

      The front end on the new c3 (the green car on the middle of the page) is outstanding. It goes with the rest of the car’s styling and is the 3 light stack done right.

      Link:

      http://blog.caranddriver.com/citroen-shows-off-updated-c3-hatchback-c4-picasso-previewing-technospace-concept-2013-geneva-auto-show/

  • avatar
    wcpfour

    After utterly forgettable Compasses and Patriots, and in lieu of the aging and very tired looking Liberty, I think this is great. I’m in the apparent minority that likes the look, and my first Jeep was a 1991 Cherokee.

    The Grand Cherokee was pretty radical when it came out in 1993, and has evolved into a stylish premium SUV. A lot has changed since the XJ debuted in 1984, and while it was a handsomely rugged truck, it wasn’t exactly stylish by design. Iconic classic Jeep looks can still be found on the Wrangler, if that’s your thing, but the Cherokee has to evolve like its big brother did.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    The twingo is a balanced and cohesive design that works together well. I just don’t see that with the jeep.

    On the Blue Jeep, the front is way overstyled and looks like the Alien Queen came to earth, fell in love with an Aztek (the Pontiac kind) and this is what hatched 6 weeks later. The front doesn’t go with the sides, which are stereotypical cross over sides, and the back, which, from what I’ve seen on the Jalopnik photo, looks like they ran out of money to finish. Radical can be good, for example the ’82 camaro, the original Oldsmobile Aurora, the PT cruiser, etc. but this thing is just a sloppy mess. I’m no photoshop expert, but I’ve seen a few photoshops already where only a couple of small tweaks drastically improved the looks of this beast. Getting rid of the chrome pieces and redesigning the upper blinkers for less wrap around, move them down slightly, move the headlights up a little to integrate with the upper blinkers and the looks improve drastically.

    • 0 avatar

      Take into your account your response and that of the poster immediately above you. Clinics showed that the Twingo would be a success. Cars that elicit that kind of emotional repsonse tend to do well in the marketplace. That was the brilliance of le Quéments thinking that allowed the Twingo to see the light of day. Remember, 3 out of 4 people didn’t like the Twingo. 50 percent hated it. But of those few people who liked, many were moved enough to actually make a deposit. That’s the function of polarizing design. Do what you always do and you’ll get the usual results. Radicalize, put some people off, but conquer new sales and growth. That’s what I believe is the thinking behind this new, un-traditional design. The Twingo is a well documented cas that I used to exemplify the case.

      • 0 avatar
        JD23

        There are also examples of a radical design leading to failure, one of the most recent being the Acura “power plenum”. The third generation Taurus’s oval-inspired design in the mid 90s managed to offend the sensibilities of Taurus owners and led to the Taurus ceding its sales crown to the Camry. Ultimately, the execution of the design will determine its success. I have my own opinion about the new Cherokee (yuck), but the market may feel otherwise.

        • 0 avatar

          You’re right. The designer mentioned in the text, Patrick le Quément, also had plenty of “failures” attributed to him. The Renault VelSatis and Avantime come to mind, though if you read his interviews and writings (I did in researching this piece) he presents solid reasons for such. Polarizing design is that: Polarizing. It’ll either make you big money or lose. Anyways, design is the most important factor driving purchasing decisions today. In this line of thinking the Cherokee is already successful. It has brought on itself at lot of exposure in a crowded market. The designers will consider this a win.

          • 0 avatar
            nickoo

            Fiat/Chrysler at this time can’t afford to take that type of risk with what should be a high volume vehicle. This isn’t going to be bought by jeepers because it’s a FWD vehicle with terrible overhangs so it’s no good for even moderate off roading, but I get that, it wasn’t designed for off roading, but it has to compete against Sorento, Rav4, CRV, Escape, CX5, not to mention, the two other jeep twins which just recieved more updates for the new model year. I don’t see where they were going with the new cherokee and I don’t see it even approaching the sales of the first gen liberty, which was a hit.

        • 0 avatar
          corntrollio

          The other day I saw a (2nd gen?) Olds Aurora 3.5, and I couldn’t help but think it looked like the 3rd gen Taurus. The first gen also looked like the 3rd gen Taurus (coming out a year earlier), but never got the bad press of the Taurus for some reason.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I don’t have an issue with international design language in a uniquely “American” – derived vehicle as being sacrilige any more than Chevy refusing to put three separate tail lights on its Impalas – I got over it and realized that time marches on and the OEMs need to reach further than their own shores to increase appeal and sales.

    I hope to see one of these within the year and check one out to see if the design is that polarizing or not.

    “The newly shown Jeep Cherokee has created quite a ruckus. Some like the design, some describe it in language unsuitable to a family-oriented site like TTAC.”

    WARNING: personal opinion (probably worthless) below:

    Ahem…showing severed body parts, heading articles with certain titillating photographs and some writers and commenters using needless (to me) profanity does not a “family-oriented” website make.

    Strictly my personal feelings, but no one asked, so it doesn’t matter.

  • avatar
    WRohrl

    Marcelo, I don’t think the Twingo pictured as of right now in this article is the one you were talking about. The current model is nothing special, the ORIGINAL one was quite a sensation at the time and very difficult to follow.

    • 0 avatar

      Kudos WRohrl, I agree. Maybe Bertel will get around to fixing it. I’ve sent him an e-mail.

      • 0 avatar
        vaujot

        Here you can find several pictures of the original twingo:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renault_Twingo#Twingo_I_.281992.E2.80.932007.29
        I think the Twingo I was great and unique but the Twingo II is just a pretty lame small car hardly distinguishable from what the competition offers. I have not checked but suspect that the Twingo II doesn’t nearly sell as well as the Twingo I did.

    • 0 avatar

      There, it’s fixed now. Thanks Bertel! The Twingo now pictured is the original. I agree that later the Twingo became just one of more. The reasons for that is that Renault felt a backlash for being too out there. Though the Twingo eventually became well accepted and loved, other of le Quément’s design didn’t (Mégane, VelSatis, Avantime) and Renault eventually “normalized” the cars in order to appeal to greater numbers of folk. No matter, the radical designs existed to raise the public’s awareness that Renault was playing a new game.

  • avatar
    frank908

    While I appreciate the comparisons and evidence of past successes, the new design is still quite unattractive no matter where you are looking at it.

    The Twingo isn’t ugly, the new Jeep Cherokee is.

    • 0 avatar

      Hey frank908! Not talking specifically of the cars, but beauty or rather, the appreciation of beauty, is dependant on and informed by one’s culture. What is beautiful to Brazilian’s eyes, might not be to a Chinese, and vice-versa. I’m betting that this new look works better in many world markets than the traditional Jeep look.

  • avatar
    Tstag

    I’m a European and think this looks nasty and brash. Why would I buy a Jeep when I can buy a Land Rover Discovery, a Toyota or a BMW X5?

    Jeep should model itself on Land Rover not Lincoln (that’s where they got that hideous grill from right)?

    • 0 avatar
      MrGreenMan

      Maybe a little influenced in this adaptation, but the Seven Bar Grill is the distinctive Jeep design feature, preserved by AMC, Renault, Chrysler, Daimler, Cerberus, Chrysler again…so much that, when AM General birthed the Hummer brand for GM from the same embryonic Government Property Jeep, Daimler spent years suing over the distinctiveness of the seven vertical bars. Purists would probably have preferred if the seven bars had stopped at the kink and not continued back beyond the plane of the front of the grill.

      • 0 avatar
        Onus

        The 7 bar wasn’t iconic until Chrysler made every jeep have it.

        All prior jeep suv’s never had seven bar grills. Only the CJ, and Wrangler.

        The original sj Cherokee had a million different grills, as did the grand wagoner.

        XJ only went 7 bar at its 1997 refresh. It usually had 8 up to that point.

        Same with the zj grand Cherokee 8 bars until 1996. ZJ was designed by AMC to replace the Cherokee. Chrysler delayed its introduction a few years and changed a few things.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      The hot Land Rover right now is a car based softroader with very aggressive styling, so I would say that Jeep is modeling itself on LR. Sure, I’ll admit that this Cherokees styling is not as successful as the Evoque, but the are the same basic concept.

      • 0 avatar
        thelaine

        I agree racer-esq. I hate the Evoque, but the car mag reviewers seem to love it and if it makes money for LR, then the purists be damned. I think the latest version of the Grand Cherokee definitely went to school on the Range Rover and benefited from it. Maybe Jeep just went back to the well one more time. (Still, it is hideous enough to attract lighting bolts from God.)

  • avatar
    ajla

    I fit works, good for Jeep.

    If it fails, then I get to gloat like a jerk for years.

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    “What’s more, Jeep doesn’t have that much of a heritage outside US borders. So, the Italians are free to do with it what they like.”

    That sums up what the front styling – which in my opinion looks “Chinese”. This is going to flop big time in Jeep’s home market. I predict a redesign of the front fascia within a couple of years.

    As mentioned above, the side profile of this Cherokee posier is just plain awkward. Were there two design teams, one for everything behind the front windshield and another for the front clip?

    • 0 avatar
      ZekeToronto

      I’m actually ok with the front end, but agree that the side view is awful. Having the bottom edge of the greenhouse dip behind the windshield (in the front doors) ruins the look and absolutely gives the impression of being the product of a separate design team.

      • 0 avatar

        I agree with you both actually (about the side profile and the upwards line), but lots of makers are using this character line (is that the corect technical name?). I think it’s there to show off how evolved, international and different from traditional Jeeps. In other words, a signal to buyers of other brands to come and take a look as now we (jeep) have more in common with you.

  • avatar
    dumblikeyouTu

    While I appreciate the comparisons and the evidence of past success, the Jeep Cherokee is still aesthetically unattractive no matter where you are looking at it in the world.

    Your example doesn’t stand up because the Twingo wasn’t horribly ugly for a little run-about. For a grand statement SUV, the Cherokee is a huge, huge risk for a continent that isn’t crazy about large trucks to begin with, and is on the brink of a financial meltdown on top of it.

    That leaves North America to keep this afloat, and, as you may already know, we hate it.

    Yet another Chrysler bankruptcy on the horizon.

  • avatar

    I kind of like it. To me they took the GC look which is very popular and tried to make it look more aggressive, which I think they did. While a lot of people think about the XJ I would look more at the fact this is replacing the lame duck liberty and I’m sure the new look will get better US sales than that even if it does not get great numbers a bump up from the liberty plus international bump will make it a success in the books. Plus from what I hear they are saying it may pull close to 30 MPG with a V6 which if it is the case it may sell well just by being a midsize high MPG vehicle with a jeep badge I know a number of people who would buy any jeep as long s it got decent MPG and was alittl taller than a compass/ patriot

  • avatar
    donatolla

    I don’t see how this is polarizing. Maybe “Polarizing for a Jeep,” but have you looked at it side by side with the 2013 Escape?

    This is simply Chrysler/Fiat/Jeep taking a cue from an established, and successful, design language and applying it to their new product in an attempt to sell more cars. Fiat needs to be successful globally with the brand, which requires opening up new markets that just wasn’t possible with the old designs.

    Yes, it doesn’t look like a Jeep. But I’m willing to bet that it doesn’t sell like one either, and in a few years we’re talking about it as a success story.

  • avatar
    Mitsu_fan

    I love it. Finally, not just another goofy looking box thing. Its got style, but it also has way too much chrome. I hope this is a top-line Summit or Overland trim level because I would certainly be interested in a lower trim level to skip all that bling bling.

    Jeep needs this vehicle. It’s going to bring new customers to the brand who may have never considered a Jeep before. It, along with the Grand Cherokee, is going to take the brand further outside of North America.

    I will share this as well… I was in a focus group for this Cherokee about 4 years ago. I had a KJ Liberty and at that time, they were still calling this 2014 the Liberty but the design wasn’t quite this “polished”. There were 20 of us, from all different walks of life and all ages. Everyone under 40 loved it, which was the minority of the group. Male and Female, didnt matter, they wanted to buy it that day. None of them would ever consider purchasing anything from the Jeep brand until they saw this. Over 40 hated it, point blank period. Would never consider it, said it was too radical and that’s not what the Jeep brand was. I’m 25, male, and have no insecurities about driving a non-macho Jeep and I want it as much now as I did 4 years ago when I told them “build it today!”

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    The previous generation Ford Escape based on the Mazda platform looks more like a Cherokee should look than this thing; it’s a shame that cars just don’t look as good as they used to. Ford really ruined the new Escape as well. People who want to buy this in the US want something “trucky”. If Fiat was going for something that was polarizing, they should have kept it looking like a truck, because now it looks like everything else out there in the soft road CUV space.

    • 0 avatar
      toxicroach

      I guess I’m just not following this conversation. It looks really good to me. Times change, and I’m really enjoying the new cars coming at. They finally have style again. The 80s were horrible, the 90s were bland (when the PT Cruiser is wild looking you know things are boring), and we’re finally getting cars that look good again. Not quite back to 50s style fins and chrome, but finally getting some style back.

      This sort of discussion reminds me of all those guys who want to come across as manly men who spear hunt bears when they aren’t laying bricks and towing bulldozers, but are incredibly sensitive about looks. You have to have the right clothes, the right truck, be into the right sports. They are just fashion obsessed as the metrosexuals they claim to despise, just on the other end of the spectrum.

      It’s a handsome car that will probably be just as useful as it ever was. What’s the problem?

      • 0 avatar
        MrGreenMan

        Well, there’s a strong contingent of buyer who doesn’t want the CUV look where these things all look identical — especially the back 3/4ths. Enclave/Traverse, Escape, Santa Fe, Sportage – there’s a convergence that’s boring in the segment. I’ve had people make cash offers in parking lots because they hate the new Escape and want something like the old ones; this did not happen with the Impala.

        It doesn’t seem like this should be a Jeep. It seems like this should be a Dodge, but, then again, they’re killing Dodge. There’s a certain expectation of the Jeep brand, which is why people regularly attack the Compass. As I said when TTAC first ran a picture — I’m glad Buick’s rounding out the lineup. Americans feel about Jeep and, to a lesser extent, Chrysler what Germans feel about Opel — it’s ours, but in the wrong hands for a long time now.

        Your metrosexual remark is tired and unoriginal. Maybe you can join the club up thread with the guy who always makes a penis size remark and pines for Saabs?

        • 0 avatar
          toxicroach

          The whole comment wasn’t especially aimed at you, but at quite a few other comments about how this car is an attack on masculinity. Honestly I’m pretty sure I responded to the wrong comment since your comment is fine, so I apologize for that.

        • 0 avatar
          thelaine

          Bingo mrgreenman. The current GC, is, in my opinion, by far the best ever. I love it. Looks like a Jeep. It drives great. Order it how you want. Off road, on road, basic stripped version up to luxo air-suspended special – whatever you want.

          This thing? Whatever. Round, swept, lowered, bulged, twingoed. Generic with extra ugly added to try to make it distinct. I hope they sell millions of them, but what makes it a Jeep, I have no idea.

      • 0 avatar
        probert

        I agree. It strikes me as a fairly handsome modern design but not that distinctive – don’t get the ruckus.

        Now the Kia Sportage – there’s a beautiful modern design.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    If the designers had any business designing cars, they would come up with something that gets attention by being attractive instead of by being controversial. We live in an age when mediocrity looks brilliant.

    • 0 avatar

      Cj, should ever move to South America, or Europe, or Africa, or India, I have the perfect car for you. The original Dacia/Renault Logan. A car so devoid of design that it risks being an iconic car because of its strict adherence to the non design school. In some markets it’s even sold as a Nissan so you wouldn’t have to abandon your penchant to value Japanese cars! :)!

      Seriously, car design without designers would sort of be like architecture without engineers. You’d have very rational, boxy, squarish things all over the place. In grey. I for one think that could be quite boring.

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    As one who enjoys working on a uniquely styled AMC product and likes seeing the Juke roll by, the new Cherokee is something I’ll quickly become accustomed to. And seeing those headlight pods popping up above the sloping hood of the Twingo reminds me a lot of the Pacer’s similar headlight treatment.

    Now if only those Twingo headlight pods were more square at their tops, I’d have a decent candidate to replace the black bezel and round DOT-spec headlights fitted into the Pacer’s squared off openings.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    I’m withholding judgement until I can see it in person, smash it with a sledgehammer, and set it on fire.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Another vehicle for the terminally bored, overfed, wobbly-assed, arthritic-kneed, eating at the fast-food “restaurant” masses.

    And that people descriptor includes Europe, especially the UK by their own government’s admission.

    Who cares what it looks like? Car styling began its slow slide to hell with the 1978 Monte Carlo, which looked like a demented Bullwinkle. Hasn’t stopped people buying ever more putrefying-looking vehicles ever since. And this will be no different.

    • 0 avatar
      ZekeToronto

      I’m not exactly a fan of the 78 Monte Carlo, but why pick it as the turning point? The downsized 78s had virtually no styling cues that weren’t present on earlier Montes. In fact the overall effect (profile and fender/quarter panel “sculpture”) was much toned down from previous editions.

  • avatar
    Nico

    I’m sorry Marcelo, but no. The Twingo and the new Cherokee couldn’t be more different approach to cars.

    I had a Twingo (in south america actually) and I have *never* found anyone who disliked it. The exact opposite, everyone who got to ride in it absolutely loved it. It was clever, it was quirky, it was smart, it was fun. It had a digital dash and a sliding rear seat. The hazards switch was a friggin huge red ball in the middle of the dashboard. It was cavernous inside. I once moved a couch in it, and my personal record was 9 people inside. You just wanted to give that car a hug.

    That said, I agree with you that it indeed was different than anything else on the road so I can see why some people who didn’t own one would have second thoughts about it.

    The Cherokee, on the other hand… I don’t particularly dislike it, but it has nothing on a Twingo. Nothing about it makes it a great car, like the original Cherokee might have been, and without that it’s just another SUV but with a funny nose.

  • avatar
    ranwhenparked

    I don’t hate it because it’s new and different, I just hate it because it’s ugly.

    Jeep does need fresh, new ideas and retro styling is a trap, but modern doesn’t have to mean ugly.

    Honestly, it’s just the headlights. If they had large, single light clusters on either side of the grille, it would be fine. Not great, but not hideous. That’s seriously the only thing that’s really ruining it for me right now.

    • 0 avatar

      But then probably we wouldn’t be talking about it so much. Cars that provoke love/hate reactions typically sell better than cars that get a tepid reception. And it’s not me that says it. JD Powers (is that the name?) says it and they’re one of the premier automotive industry consultants. So, win for Jeep.

      • 0 avatar
        ranwhenparked

        So they intentionally made something they knew was ugly, just to get people fired up about it? That doesn’t quite wash. People can get just as vocal about an exceptionally pretty design (see the new Fusion).

        As long as you’re not living in the anonymous middle where the beige appliances live, you’re going to inspire a lot of passion. It can be negative, if you go to the ugly extreme, or positive, if you go to the beautiful extreme. Jeep chose the former, when the latter would have been just as easy to do and just as effective.

        Negative attention is still negative, a lesson disobedient children generally learn by the time they hit high school.

        • 0 avatar

          Hey ranwhenparked!

          I believe they don’t think they made it ugly. I think they tried to make it different from Jeeps of yore. Some see ugly, others don’t mind, some like and a few love. If enough of those people who don’t mind or love it buy it, then it’s a hit for the company.

          I know lots of people say there’s no bad publicity, but I agree with you on that point.

  • avatar
    AJ

    As a Jeep guy, it’s bloody ugly, and especially the headlights! What happened to the classic round headlights? Did Fiat have it’s way with the brand?

    Makes me worry about what they’re next going to next do to the Wrangler? Please, stop it at once!

    • 0 avatar

      Aj, of course has its way with Jeep. They own them!

      Probably safe to say the Wrangler will go on pretty much as is for the foreseeable future. Fiat/Jeep might mess with the powertrains, but that’s it. The Cherokee is fair game. A well-recognized SUV-CUV-thingy, it never really (specially after the appearance of others similar to it) had the mission of upholding traditional Jeep “values” (that is the Wrangler’s role). Rather, it’s mission has always been to sell a bundle. This package seems the way to sell a bundle.

      Hope you feel better now :)!

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I don’t understand what Jeep hopes to pull off by ditching its fans and off-roading image with this this thing, otherwise I think that the proportions of its are way off.

    I wouldn’t mind a new look as long as it was done well, using controversy to sell (be it cars, video games, news, movies, or books) has always struck me as a cheap lazy mans way of getting more attention, can’t do something well? do something bizarre!

    • 0 avatar

      Ryoku, I had the same opinion as you. Then I started talking to people in the industry, reading their articles, getting their perspective. Now I understand. See article, all these moves have one end objective: Sell. Jeep was hitting a wall my friend. It had put itself into a corner. Expect more moves to get it out of the corner. Does that mean sacrificing some tradition? You bet. As we say in Brazil (Ronnie, this is for you!): Quem vive the passado é museu. In English, a museum is who lives off of the past. Pretty self-evident meaning and very apt for this situation.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        Marcelo, I just want to say one thing: a new, controversial or polarizing design does NOT need to be a poor one.

        Vel Satis, for example, is highly polarizing (and I personally can’t stand it), but it’s still a good, cohesive design. The Cherokee is just a FAIL when it comes to making the details work together. Sorry.

        As Ryoku75 says, if you’re going to do something, why not do it well?

        • 0 avatar

          Hey th009! You’re welcome to say a lot more than just one thing. I greatly respect your opinion and though I would say we disagree most of the time, you always give compelling reasons for your point of view. In other words, when you disagree with me it’s great, cause your points are valid so you always challenge me to think more and better.

          So, I’ll wait and see when I get the chance to see the Jeep in person. And I’ll have your voice in my mind telling me that maybe I’m not seeing it like I should. It’ll be an opportunity for growth in my analytical skills.

          BTW, I always loved the Vel Satis, Avantime, even the Mégane intrigued me. Though I think le Quément really botched the Scénic!

          • 0 avatar
            th009

            Marcelo, we agree more often than you think. I just don’t post every time I agree with you!

            But we’ll need to disagree on this one.

  • avatar
    grayj252

    I am a builder and my company car is a 2011 Grand Cherokee, mainly because, well, builders are expected to drive an SUV, an American one, given the industrial nature of my local economy. My JGC’s started with a 1992, then a 98, 04 and now my 11. Given the new design, it might be my last one. But, I am retiring in 4-5 years.

    Before I ‘graduated’ to a JGC, I drove F-150’s. My ‘weekend’ car is a 2002 Porsche 911, my wife drives a 2010 Kia Soul.

    We have gone global.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    The looks don’t bother me, I’ve seen much much worse cars that get all kinds of raves on this and other car/truck sites. The “what part of this, other than the name is a Jeep?” is what does bother me.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I think alot of people in the US overate the Jeep. It is good off road as I owned a 95 Cherokee Sport 4×4 (when it wasn’t broken).

    In Austrlia Wranglers are bought by people who want others to think they off road and drive to the beach parking lot looking pretty.

    Grand Cherokee’s are bought by older people who want to tow a caravan around once a year on the highway.

    We have many vehicles as capable and more capable than the Cherokee, Wrangler and Grand Cherokee.

    You wouldn’t use any Jeep in Australia for any serious off road touring. They don’t have the endurance or the capacity to carry much. They are good to go camping for one or two days.

    Jeep is Fiat/Chryslers push further into the international market. The current Jeep/Chrysler imports we are getting don’t meet what the other markets are producing in quality, only China and India are lower. But they are still quite in front of those two markets.

    If you read what I wrote above Jeep are targeting suburbanites who want to be trendy and that’s where the money is. People will pay alot for perception.

  • avatar
    Ron B.

    nothing is more girly thaqn a Ford F Series on 24inch rubber bands with polished centers.
    It will come to a head when real truck users in the USA wake up and start buying the Great wall,which comes fully equipped with a 3 tonne towing capacity for $25,000 in OZ. in the USA it would possibly retail for $16,000.
    http://www.greatwallmotors.com.au/?gclid=CLm4uO6z0bUCFcddpQodQl0ACg
    Disclosure statement ;I wouldn’t own one in a fit ,Mercedes G wagons from the mid 80’s are my fabvorites.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      I hope they have gotten better. The last Great Wall I drove felt like a really bad copy of a HiLux that had done about a half a million miles on the roads of Afghanistan.

  • avatar
    oldowl

    Wasn’t the original purpose of automobile grilles to protect radiators from flying road debris? Grilles were a design feature with a purpose integral to the operation of the car. Long since grilles and other front-end items, except for lights, have been decorative items rather than functional ones. Do you like your grille descendants baroque, moderne, bauhaus, blingy, retro, grinning, frowning, orthodontic?

  • avatar
    mkirk

    Think of this thing as one of the Porsche abominations. Yes, the hard core Wrangler types will want nothing to do with it, but would they look at it anyway? If selling stuff like this keeps the Wrangler alive and makes it better, then who cares. I don’t like it, but I have never looked at one so why would Jeep care.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    I agree with the premise behind this article. Jeep does need to move on. I admit I was a bit perplexed by the design when I first saw the pictures. I still dont know if I will like it in the flesh, but even two days in since I first laid eyes on the pictures, I am coming around a bit. I also recall hating on the Juke as a hideous hosebeast. After seeing the Juke in person, I rather like its unique styling.

    In any event, I think all the haters should probably look at the Cherokee in context. It has to be different than the GC first off. It is more of a soft roader perhaps and no doubt appealing less to burly lumberjack types than to the soccer mom. However, compare this with the efforts of the Commander, most recent Liberty, Compass and I have to say I think in terms of new products that do not carry the GC or Wrangler names, this may be Jeep’s best effort in some time.

    It is important though that Chrysler/Fiat try as best they can to hit the sweet spot in the market and appeal first to volume segments as they are not really that far removed from bankruptcy. I think the new Cherokee succeeds there.

    My two cents

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      “However, compare this with the efforts of the Commander”

      They were really phoning it in with the Commander. To this day, I still have to look really closely to tell the difference between a Commander and an old-school Cherokee from the 80s.

      I’ll be interested to see what the new Grand Wagoneer (as the proposed name appears to be), that is basically the new Durango, will look like. It’s based on the JGC/Mercedes ML/GL-chassis, as the JGC, I believe.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    As much as I appreciate “real” solid axle Jeeps (I own a off-road beater/ plow truck XJ), there isn’t a big place in the modern market for those types of vehicles anymore. For those wanting that type of vehicle, Jeep already has the market covered with the Wrangler in both 2 and 4 door versions.

    A quick survey of XJ enthusiast sites reveals these people appear to be members of the flat earth society. They berate Jeep for putting the Cherokee name on such a vehicle. These people should be happy that Jeep is the last manufacturer to still cater to their wants. Although many of them are still pissed that they have to get it with electronic fuel injection.

    In spite of the ugly headlamps, they’ll sell a lot of these to the modern mid/small crossover buyer and accumulate an additonal 100k+ sales that will enable Jeep to continue building some of the best off-roaders in other segments.

  • avatar
    noxioux

    Still reeling from the conversion of the Nissan Pathfinder from capable offroad utility vehicle to useless overstuffed station wagon…

    But in that light, it’s not surprising that Fiat/Chrysler/Jeep would completely screw up the heritage of the Cherokee by turning it into an overstuffed and yes, useless, station wagon.

    I can’t wait to see one in the parking lot with a “Trail Rated” badge on it. I could use a good laugh.

  • avatar
    agent534

    Heres to hoping the new Patriot keeps the traditional Jeep styling.
    The new design is dated right out the gates- why make a Jeep that looks so much like a 1999 VehiCROSS ??? Ground-breaking and innovative it is not. The VechCROSS didn’t last very long at all, and certainly wasn’t a great success. Odds are at the first refresh, this disaster is going to get more traditional Jeep styling, and the next model will go back to where it should be. We saw the space Liberty turn into the more traditional current(last ) model, you will see the same here.

  • avatar

    Always love to see your perspective, Marcello… but I have to take issue with the example. A Twingo is exactly what Jeep needs right now: a unique, original modern classic that keeps the brand moving forward. Unlike the Twingo, however, this design isn’t polarizing because of its originality… instead it’s a lowest-common denominator pastiche that signals Jeep’s desire to pander to a mass market. I don’t see blue-sky thinking when I look at this thing, I see bits of a bunch of mass-market CUVs with Jeep cues tacked on. This amplifies the Jeep fundamentalist critique rather than showing how a modern CUV can actually be a “real Jeep.”

    That said, only the market knows what it wants. Only time will tell who is right about this.

    • 0 avatar

      Hey Edward! Great o hear from you. Hope all is well. Send a hell to your Dad!

      I just responded to a commenter above, I believe that in this market segment the Japanese and Koreans have set the bar. This can be a knock off of the Koreans specially. I see a lot of Sportage in that front. Is that intentional? I think you can bet your house on that.

      The Twingo came to mind because it was a departure for the Renault brand. At the time, their cars suffered from terminal conservatism (you know how a 19 or 21 looks like, right). In that light, the Twingo was a breath of fresh air. Jeep designs, while not such a terminal case as Renault’s being that they still find favor in their home market, look staid and sad next to such things as the above mentioned Kia or a Peugeot 3008. In both cases, I believe the parent company determined that the direction they were going was not satisfactory anymore so they are trying to look for a way out. That’s how I “joined the dots” to make the case I present in the article.

      BTW, Jeep’s less radical approach, the bit of me too-ism in the design will probably work better for them. In the end (and Fiat knows this too), the Twingo’s success was probably not a good thing for Renault. Le Quément was then given free reign and produced ever more radical designs (Mégane, Vel Satis, Avantime) that were so far out there, that the market re-coiled and didn’t award le Quément and Renault the results they expected. Also, and this is a thing the Japanese and Germans (despite the Bangle misstep) know, it’s very hard to take a design like the Twingo and improve on it. The Jeep design is something that can be adjusted and milked for a long time.

      Finally, I said the new Cherokee is refreshing for the Jeep brand. I never really said it was refreshing on its own. I like it, probably I liked it too fast. Cars that I immediately take a liking to don’t usually become icons. Rather, those cars that I reject (like Twingo, Ka, Uno, original versions pls) but, somehow, I can’t stop looking, are the ones that stand the test of time. I’ll say one more thing on this, despite our memories to the contrary, at first the Twingo was not universally liked. That takes us to the next point.

      Polarizing design creates discussion. It attracts people. Le Quément’s genius was in recognizing this. Most car companies would have stopped or radically changed the car the moment they saw the numbers. Fiat must have gotten some pretty bad numbers. Hummm, might be interesting. It’s been shown more than once in the auto industry that cars that get a lukewarm reaction in the market sell less than those that get a heated introduction.

      Besides, why not take the risk now? The US is changing and the car market at least is looking healthy and there are probably more buyers out there of CUVs than SUVs now. More I4 buyers than V8. Give them something they can relate to. Plus, China, Brazil, Russia, Indonesia others are still growing. CUVs have hardly scratched the surface of these places. People want them. See Renault/Dacia Duster which is a hit (even in Western Europe).

      Fiat is an agile maker. They respond fast and hard to changing conditions (when they see the chance to grow, which explains their different behavior in Brazil and Europe). If this flops in America, you still have the Grnad Cherokee and others to carry the light. They could probably fit a V6 at least in the new Cherokke pretty fast, and/or change the design for America. Plus, they still probably have some terms of their agreement with the guv to fulfill (but that’s another story).

      So, to sum up, Jeep like Renault had their backs against the wall. At such a time, some fuss is beneficial to a brand. The relative merits of the designs are not discussed in the article. Rather, the function of design in creating a buzz and the reasons that Renault did it, including the thinking of the mastermind behind such thinking, were presented as an illustration of a possible reason as to why the Cherokee now looks like it does.

      That said, I understand your point of view and I thank you for it. It makes me question yet again why I liked this thing!

      See ya, my friend.

  • avatar
    GTAm

    I think the plan to go radical is a good one. It’s just that the execution has gone horribly wrong IMO. The head-on pic above (taken from the top of a truck?) is the most acceptable pose for the Cherokee. But hardly anyone will see it from this angle in the showroom or on the streets. The front three quarter view looks ugly with that bulky front (overhanging) bumper and the double face looks plain silly. Considering the fact they had the very well executed Grand Cherokee as a starting point, this is just ridiculous to me. As mentioned in other comments, this isn’t a risk Jeep can afford to take at this point when it’s cautiously trying to establish itself as a global brand.

    The Twingo 1 is a neat, cute well proportioned design and a lot more acceptable. This should be compared with the 90’s Fiat Miltipla and maybe the 90’s Euro Scorpio. They both flopped.

    I sincerely hope they do a pre-launch facelift.

    • 0 avatar

      Hey GTAm! I agree, that’s the best angle for the car.

      The verdict is still out as to whether this will turn into a Twingo hit or a Multipla miss. Like I said in the comments here, at first the Twingo was definetely not a hit. It took some getting used to.

      Finally, I’m not sure but I believe and it seems not be clear yet from what’s been said in the press, but haven’t the Grand Cherokee and Cherokee been divorced as to their underpinnnings? I may be wrong but I’ve heard that this Cherokee now sits on a Fiat platform. Or is it the next Jeep that will do so?

      • 0 avatar
        GTAm

        Yes Marcelo the Cherokee sits on the same platform as the Alfa Giulietta and the Dodge Dart. So a very far off from the GC. There’s said to be an even smaller Jeep known as the “B-Jeep” in the Jeeper circles that will be based on the Fiat 500L/next Punto platform. This B-Jeep could be built in the EU.

        • 0 avatar

          So, further reason to take the Jeep even further away from its roots. As the Cherokee is now officially a soft roader, the design has to be “radical” to appeal to this kind of, largely, urbanite buyer.

          The 500L is being turned into an SUV/CUV. It’s called 500X and TTAC even posted a pic of it. I have also seen pics of the Punto based Jeep. For Jeep fans, at least the initial sketched it had round front lights (though due to Cherokee’s looks, I bet that won’t last). It looks pretty good, but I’m sure the purists will knck it. ANother winner in a merket that’s growing like crazy (Duster, EcSport, Honda Urban SUV or something, VW CUV based on up!). People want this kind of car for some reason.

  • avatar
    Skink

    Lower grille opening looks like tiki god mouth. On the dark-colored car, the seven slots look like tiki god teeth. The squinty lights look like squinty tiki god eyes. Behold the Jeep Tiki. Available in woodgrain.


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Staff

  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States