In a Bid to Boost Appeal, Jeep Cherokee Dials Up the Lux

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
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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5 of 13 comments
  • Phxmotor Phxmotor on Apr 06, 2020

    If anyone compares... actually drives and compares...SUVs in this category the Jeep Cherokee with the 5.7 is a breathtaking ride. Power. Grace. Reliability. It’s well thought out and every damn bug has been worked out. It’s one of America’s great sleepers. Looks benign... but it’s a fxxxing rocket. And a joy to drive.

    • See 2 previous
    • PenguinBoy PenguinBoy on Apr 06, 2020

      @Michael S6 I believe that the Grand Cherokee is built on a Jeep developed platform that is also used by Mercedes Benz. The Cherokee is based on a heavily modified Fiat platform, so there's that.

  • Steve203 Steve203 on Apr 06, 2020

    A few months ago, FCA offered buyouts to 3900 people working at Belvidere, which was just about everyone there after they cut the third shift. Wonder how many takers they got?

  • BEPLA My own theory/question on the Mark VI:Had Lincoln used the longer sedan wheelbase on the coupe - by leaning the windshield back and pushing the dashboard & steering wheel rearward a bit - not built a sedan - and engineered the car for frameless side windows (those framed windows are clunky, look cheap, and add too many vertical lines in comparison to the previous Marks) - Would the VI have remained an attractive, aspirational object of desire?
  • VoGhost Another ICEbox? Pass. Where are you going to fill your oil addiction when all the gas stations disappear for lack of demand? I want a pickup that I can actually use for a few decades.
  • Art Vandelay Best? PCH from Ventura to somewhere near Lompoc. Most Famous? Route Irish
  • GT Ross The black wheel fad cannot die soon enough for me.
  • Brett Woods My 4-Runner had a manual with the 4-cylinder. It was acceptable but not really fun. I have thought before that auto with a six cylinder would have been smoother, more comfortable, and need less maintenance. Ditto my 4 banger manual Japanese pick-up. Nowhere near as nice as a GM with auto and six cylinders that I tried a bit later. Drove with a U.S. buddy who got one of the first C8s. He said he didn't even consider a manual. There was an article about how fewer than ten percent of buyers optioned a manual in the U.S. when they were available. Visited my English cousin who lived in a hilly suburb and she had a manual Range Rover and said she never even considered an automatic. That's culture for you.  Miata, Boxster, Mustang, Corvette and Camaro; I only want manual but I can see both sides of the argument for a Mustang, Camaro or Challenger. Once you get past a certain size and weight, cruising with automatic is a better dynamic. A dual clutch automatic is smoother, faster, probably more reliable, and still allows you to select and hold a gear. When you get these vehicles with a high performance envelope, dual-clutch automatic is what brings home the numbers.