I tried, Jeep. Really, I did. I stared at pictures of the all-new 2014 Jeep “Cherokee,” trying to convince myself I liked it. Or, at least that it’s not really that bad. But, it is.
I’ll be honest, though, it’s not the design. It’s actually kinda neat looking. The headlights are different, and I like the way grill comes up over the hood. It’s not the fact it’s a Jeep either. With ever more stringent CAFE regulations and the rise of crossovers, Jeep needs to build vehicles like this and the Patriot /Compass to meet those fuel regulations and to stay competitive in the SUV/crossover market. I get it. Without vehicles like these, we wouldn’t have the Wrangler.
However, what gets me is the fact you decided to resurrect the fabled “Cherokee” name and slap it on…this. This does not look like a Cherokee. It looks like the 2014 Kia Sorento. In fact, even if you would’ve named this the replacement for the Compass/Patriot, I would’ve loved it (Especially the Compass. That thing is frumpy).
The Cherokee holds a special place in Jeepers’ hearts. It was a tough, simple, no-frills off-roading machine with classic styling. In fact, I honestly believe you could’ve re-released the Cherokee, just as it was back in 2000 and people would flock to the dealership. It’s that iconic.
Now, is there a place in Jeep’s lineup for that kind of vehicle right now; a unibody, mid-$20,000, 4-door traditional SUV with a solid axle? Probably not. Not with ever-tightening fuel and crash-test regulations. But I would’ve rather Jeep just left the Cherokee name alone and call this something else rather than sell the naming rights to Honda.
This does not deserve to be called a “Cherokee” without the air quotes.