The Jeep brand has been an American icon for decades now, ever since its service in Europe during the Second World War. But there are those who would say that the Jeep brand has lost some of its ruggedness, with vehicles like the Grand Cherokee and Compass focusing more on luxury and comfort than being a Trail Rated beast. So that begs the question, where does the all-new, 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee fall in the grand scheme of things?
The Jeep Cherokee name hasn’t been around since the 2001 model year, and the Fiat-Chrysler alliance has revived the name for nostalgic reasons. Make no mistake though, aside from the name and unibody design, there is very little linking the old Cherokee with the new. First and foremost, the boxy look of the original is gone, a much sleeker and swoopier design that is much more 21st century. While the headlamp design is sure to have its lovers and haters, personally, the look has grown on me.
Under the hood, a tranvesly-mounted 2.4 liter Tigershark 4-cylinder engine delivers 184 horsepower to either the front wheels or all-four wheels through a nine-speed automatic transmission, a first for this segment. Riding on the same (albeit highly modified) Alfa Romeo chassis as the Dodge Dart, the new Cherokee is sure to offer a comfortable ride, and an optional 3.2 liter V6 will offer up to 271 horsepower.
The 2014 Cherokee will also offer a rear-axle disconnect 4×4 system, as well as three options of 4×4 systems, depending on what kind of on-or-off-roading you tackle. FOr true off-road junkies, a new Trailhawk version with the most robust 4×4 system, including a locking rear differential, and the 3.2 liter V6 will be offered, though it’ll never be as rugged as the original 4.0 liter I6-powered Cherokee. It’ll get better gas mileage for sure though, as will the the smaller 4-cylinder engine. The 2014 Cherokee will deliver up to 31 mpg with the four-banger, about the same as the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee with the optional EcoDiesel engine, with a driving range of up to 500 miles. If consumers by and large dig the look, Jeep could have a winner. Let us know your thoughts (and stay tuned for live pics!)