Jeep Cherokee makeover reveals prettier face, turbocharged power

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Those numbers pale in comparison to competitors such as the Nissan Rogue and Toyota RAV4 which each topped 400,000 in sales a year ago.

The 2019 Jeep Cherokee has a body of 65 percent high-strength steel with other materials, such as hot-stamped and ultra-high-strength steel, used throughot for a "strong, lightweight, solid vehicle architecture".

Jeep officials have said they needed to have an eye catching - if not outright unusual - design with the earlier Cherokee to reestablish the brand into what is one of the most competitive segments in the industry.

The composite liftgate saves 18 pounds, and sits above a new, "cleaned up" rear fascia, and dual exhausts on the 2019 Jeep Cherokee Limited model.

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The rear end, too, gets a heavy redesign. It features an integrated light bar with a repositioned release handle that's easier to open. The list of changes include the addition of a new turbocharged engine, which should prove a nice option of the revised Jeep. That'd be double what Jeep delivered as recently as 2014 and more than triple its volume when Chrysler was taken over by Italy's Fiat at the beginning of the decade.

There's a redesigned center cluster bezel, with new piano black and satin chrome dash accents, and a radio upgrade. It's nearly as if designers took the headlights of the latest Compass and combined them with those of the 2018 Cherokee. For example, the power outlets in the center console have been moved back a bit to give front passengers a larger front storage pocket. Jeep also added a new push-push fuel door and capless fuel filler, so there's no need to touch a gas cap. Roof rails complete the new look.

And since it's what's inside that counts, Jeep has redesigned the cargo area to add space, bringing the capacity to 28 cubic feet behind the second row of seats.

The new face should look familiar - it's much more similar to the one seen on the Compass and Grand Cherokee, and it's one of two looks the Jeep brand employs (the other is the boxy, traditional look seen on the Wrangler and Renegade). In this application the engine will generate 270 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, which is just shy of the current Cherokee's 3.2-liter V-6 that offers 271 horsepower and 239 pound-feet of torque. This engine option will come with a stop-start feature to improve fuel economy and limit emissions.

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The 2.4-litre four-cylinder, which now develops 180 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque, remains the base powerplant. All three engines are paired with a refreshed nine-speed automatic sending power to either the front or all-four wheels.

Three all-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive systems are available, and all have been enhanced. The off-road ability of the Cherokee is maintained, however, with the same five selectable drive modes for the all-wheel-drive system, including a two-speed locking transfer case for truly challenging off-road situations. The first is Jeep Active Drive I, which automatically improves steering accuracy and levels the vehicle as it leans on rocky terrain. The system requires no driver intervention, and it's an all-new design for the Cherokee. Jeep Active Drive I is your standard shift-on-the-fly 4x4 system, while the Active Drive II provides a 4-Low range with a 2.92:1 gear reduction, making for exceptional crawling. This system is standard on the Trailhawk trim, which is the most off-road focused Cherokee available created to appeal to the true enthusiast.

Available in five trim configurations - Latitude, Latitude Plus, Limited, Overland and Trailhawk - the Cherokee is manufactured at the Belvidere Assembly in IL. Pricing and availability have yet to be announced.

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