By on April 6, 2020

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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13 Comments on “In a Bid to Boost Appeal, Jeep Cherokee Dials Up the Lux...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Sounds nice, but why they would do this for such a short run is baffling.

    Oh wait… $$$.

    • 0 avatar
      Mike N.

      Makes total sense. Not the first time I’ve seen a car maker up the value proposition by jiggling the options/features to sustain/boost sales until the new models comes out. They already have the stuff, it’s not a facelift.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “Oh wait… $$$.”

      ?

      I don’t understand why people feign surprise that a for-profit corporation might want to do something to make money.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        Because we don’t know the administration costs or managing yet another special option package from FCA, and supporting it for the next decade. Of course they want to make money, but simply shuffling the deck doesn’t guarantee success every time.

        In this case, the risk and costs are probably low, but they rival BMW/Mini for special packages. Your snark aside, more choice is not always better.

        In BMW’s case, they’re not just shifting existing parts around, so their costs have to be high:
        https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2020/03/bmw-8-series-rubbing-dealers-the-wrong-way/

      • 0 avatar

        “I don’t understand why people feign surprise that a for-profit corporation might want to do something to make money.”

        Because corporations and especially American ones are devil.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          I mean, I just don’t get the complaining. Yes, it’s a trim/paint and options pack, but there are a lot of people out there who would like a Grand Cherokee but have one that isn’t the same as 50,000 other ones out there.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      The new trim might become a part of the ’21 update, too.

      Personally, the Cherokee lost a lot of its personality when it lost those high-mounted corner lights that may, or may not, have been the headlamps as well. I liked the high-corner lamps over the more conventional (and generic) look. Jeeps need to retain personality and honestly it is almost impossible to tell the Compass from the Cherokee from the Grand Cherokee, just passing them on the road. The Renegade is very distinctive and visible by comparison and often garners a Jeep Wave from other owners.

  • avatar
    ajla

    My sister test drove one of these (a V6 Latitude Plus AWD). The V6 was very nice for the class but it didn’t feel like a well-built vehicle. It was also a touch pricey even with the incentives of the time.
    The Compass actually was decently screwed together but with the 2.4L only it wasn’t happening.

  • avatar
    phxmotor

    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.

  • avatar
    Steve203

    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?

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