By Patrick Rall
On Friday morning, leaked images surfaced showing the new Jeep that many expected would replace the now-dead Liberty and not to be outdone by a handful of low quality spy shots, the Chrysler Group responded quickly by officially introducing the world to the 2014 Jeep Cherokee. While this new midsized SUV brings back a name that many Mopar fans will quickly recognize, it does so with a look that is truly like nothing that we have ever seen in a production Jeep before. Mind you, we have only seen the front end so far (which comes as no surprise since that was all that we saw in the leaked images) but the face of the new Cherokee is more than enough to create a tremendous amount of buzz.
The 2014 Jeep Cherokee has a front end design that is sure to inspire strong reactions – both positive and negative. While Jeep traditionalists may be quick to snub the unique split headlight design, those who are more open minded to something truly different will applaud the hardcore shift to a very new look in the Cherokees front end.
Unfortunately, the Chrysler Group’s issuance of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee didn’t include any real information shy of the planned launch at the 2013 New York International Auto Show. This leaves us guessing as to what all is going on with the Cherokee front end but we can make some educated guesses based on these few front end shots.
Across the top of the front end of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee, the slim light assemblies appear to hold a set of accent LED lighting along the top with amber turn signal indicators/parking lights on the outer edge. Below the row of LEDs is a headlight lens that I expect will be the high beam bulb as it would be an odd place for the low beams. About half way down the front fascia is another set of lights that looks like it might be some sort of HID setup that will serve as the low beams. Finally, there is a set of fog lights mounted low on the front fascia that will work with the low beams to light the way under most driving situations.
Other than the unusual lighting setup, the front end of the new Jeep Cherokee really isnt that outrageous. The familiar Jeep 7 bar grille is in place but unlike the other Jeep models that have a very upright design, the new Cherokee grille starts higher up on the front fascia and bends up over the front end of the hood (although the hood technically appears to include the entire grille as it reaches down to the bumper area). These angled 7 openings are trimmed in silver and they work with the Grand Cherokee-esque lower opening that is also trimmed in silver to provide a very upscale look. Finally, the front end has a lower portion clad in black plastic to bolster the sporty, offroad ready look of the new Cherokee.
One shot of the new 2014 Jeep Cherokee shows a good majority of the side of the new SUV with big, square wheel openings and a profile that looks like it will make for a very roomy interior. Honestly, the side lines of the new Cherokee look great so as long as John Q Jeepbuyer can learn to love the striking new front end, this could be a big hit for the Chrysler Group. However, the company has taken a big risk in going with such a unique design that could turn some buyers off. We will know more when the New York Auto Show opens early next month.