When Jeep introduced the new-for-2014 Cherokee, the cute-ute’s polarizing styling, Eurotrash underpinnings, and front-wheel-drive base configuration immediately sent the autoblogosphere into a violent tizzy. Much of the criticism seemed to be engendered by the use of the name “Cherokee”, which is associated in the name of the average Jeep fan with the time-tested, AMC-era XJ Cherokee. (It should be noted, however, that Jalopnik has already decided the new Cherokee is superior to the old one.) Had Chrysler used the name “Liberty”, which is primarily associated with dorky-looking uranium-dense crapwagons leaking oil in traffic, or “Patriot”, which is primarily associated with the Dodge Caliber, much of the initial agitation might not have happened.
That’s all car-geek inside baseball, however. In the real world, meaning Manhattan, what really matters isn’t crawl ratio or wind noise or durability — it’s identity-based politics. It’s a surprise, then, that the New York Times has taken this long to uncover the critical feature of the new small Jeep: it’s all racist and whatnot.