In a Bid to Boost Appeal, Jeep Cherokee Dials Up the Lux
Before most of us were aware of the existence of coronavirus, Fiat Chrysler was idling its Jeep Cherokee plant to align production with falling sales. It certainly wasn’t the first time in recent memory. As the model grew in age, sales fell — to the tune of 20 percent in 2019.
Cherokee production, like that of all other vehicles assembled in the United States, is now offline, but there’ll be a proposition awaiting Jeep buyers when things return to normal (or whatever passes for normal in the months ahead).
That proposition is the Cherokee Latitude LUX. According to a product addition first noticed by Mopar Insiders, the model’s most popular trim — which encompasses Latitude Plus, as well — will gain a loftier entry.
Latitude LUX adds a host of goodies found on higher-end trims, including a six-cylinder engine, that a buyer would otherwise have to walk up the trim ladder to receive. Not everyone wants to shell out for a Limited, nor do they want to add packages left and right to assemble the features they want (and a bunch of ones they don’t).
The biggest get for Latitude LUX buyers is Fiat Chrysler’s 3.2-liter Pentastar V6, which greatly ups the oomph over the Latitude Plus’ standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder. That alone is a $1,945 standalone option on the lesser trim. Joining the upgraded mill are chairs swathed in Nappa leather, with heaters positioned beneath the front occupants’ backsides (the front passenger gets a power seat with lumbar adjustment). The steering wheel gets the same treatment. Elsewhere, remote start joins windshield wiper de-icers (with rain sensitive blades), forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and automatic emergency braking.
All of this comes to an after-destination price of $31,395 in front-drive guise, compared to $29,090 for a zero-option Latitude Plus. Going the all-wheel drive route tacks on another $1,500. It would seem that the reduced cost of getting into a V6 would make moving up to a LUX worthwhile to many, minus any other addition.
While the LUX is new, the Cherokee is not, and the newly added trim might have a short lifespan. Jeep is expected to reveal a next-generation 2021 model later this year.
[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]
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