The Jeep Cherokee hasn’t been big news in the UK for a long time. From 2010, there wasn’t one at all as parent company Chrysler’s bankruptcy and contraction meant the Jeep was pulled altogether while a solution to the company’s financial woes was found.
But even prior to that, the model was a lowly also-ran. To find one worthy of recall, you need to return to the mid-1990s and the stacked-haybale silhouette of the XJ – one of the very few idiosyncratically American designs that doesn’t look inadequate on British roads.
The subsequent efforts – all based on the US-badged Liberty – were perennial underperformers.
Now the nameplate is back (it’s reappearing in the US, too) and no one can accuse the brand of repeating the same old formula with this fifth-generation incarnation.
For the most part, that’s because it can’t, because Chrysler is now a division of Fiat, and the architecture underneath the new Cherokee is fundamentally Italian.
On top, it’s raked back and cleaved flat in a way no Cherokee has been before. Could this be the sight of a leaf being turned under new management? Let’s find out.
Jeep Cherokee design & styling
Crucial to the identity of the Jeep brand, the original Willys-Overland Quad entered service with the US Army during World War 2. Jeep claims, with some credibility, that this car represents the genesis of the modern SUV. It became a civilian vehicle in 1945.