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Jeep unveils new Cherokee at Detroit Auto Show
Last Updated: 2018-01-17 10:23 | Xinhua
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Typically, Jeep is looking to keep its edge, but the newly revised Cherokee got a facelift, literally to take the edgy look off the midsize sport utility, which debuted at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) 2018 in Detroit Tuesday.

Mike Manley, head of Jeep, who described the previous Cherokee nose as "polarizing," said that new look will appeal to more buyers, who will be needed as the brand looks to sell 2 million units worldwide in 2018.

Manley, who is rumored to be among the top choices to replace CEO Sergio Marchionne when he retires later this year, said the cuts in fleet sales will make that more difficult, but that he's optimistic that dealers will be able to pick up the slack, especially with the new Cherokee in showrooms.

In addition to the new front end, Jeep designers redesigned the ute's rear end as well, looking to improve access and adding an automatic liftgate in the process.

"There will be no mistaking what SUV you happen to be following," Manley said.

The new model will also be sold and produced in China, but not until later in the year. The company in the process of prepping for a new three-row utility that will come out first, Manley said.

Jeep not only redesigned the front end, it's offering three engines for under the hood. There is a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4 cylinder that puts out 270 horsepower and 295 foot-pounds of torque, plus a 3.2-liter V6 with 271 hp and 239 ft-lb of torque as well as the miserly 2.4-liter Tigershark 4 cylinder putting out 180 hp and getting 30 mpg.

Manley noted the 2.0-liter hasn't been EPA rated yet, but early results show a significant improvement in fuel economy, as well as an impressive improvement in the 0-to-60 time. He said in order for the vehicle to be "successful" the three engines were necessary to keep buyers happy.

The Cherokee is offered in trim packages, the Limited, Overland, Trailhawk and Latitude. Trailhawk is full trail rated for those looking for a go-anywhere vehicle.

Manley also noted that Jeep owners still have one big demand from the Cherokee, it needs to be capable offroad as well as on tarmac. It also needed utility. "Cherokee owners like to take everything they need with them," he said, including the brand's legendary capability.

The brand stiffened the vehicle's frame in order to improve responsiveness as well as a fully disconnecting rear axle, and choose from one of three four-wheel drive systems. Ensuring the full capability to grow sales is crucial due to the aforementioned goal of selling 2 million vehicles globally this year.

The company's really made hay in the midsize SUV market, which sold 9 million units around the world in 2017. When FCA swapped the Liberty with the Cherokee in 2014, the company held about 3 percent of the segment. Now, the company holds three times that amount and Manley expects that to rise this year.




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