Varied speculations about the Jeep Cherokee came out right after a mule was seen last week in Los Angeles by an Automotive News reporter. Many believe that Jeep will be restyling the grille and light placement. Actually, the 2014 Cherokee will be officially unveiled in New York this month. Under the covered front fascia of the hacked-up Alfa Guilietta mule, the reporter saw Jeep's seven-slot grille and a new light placement.
It should be noted that the Cherokee is based on the Guilietta's platform. Last month, there was a leak in the photos of earlier Cherokees and so Chrysler Group had to unveil the model. Compared to those, the mule has lights that are positioned higher while its grille is more vertical.
According to a Jeep spokesman, the automaker is testing several pre-production vehicles at different areas throughout the country but that he won’t be releasing any details about the possible future products.
We could only guess why Jeep is testing this mule. One possibility is that the mule is an earlier design that’s being dropped or relocated. But considering that the second vehicle seems to be a part of the test, this isn’t very likely.
It’s also possible that this mule is an iteration for the trail-rated Cherokee variants that would be more suitable off-road as it comes with greater ground clearance and headlights that are positioned higher.
According to Allpar.com, at least one version of the front-wheel-drive Cherokee will feature a transfer case. Still, it’s possible that Chrysler realized how polarizing Jeep fans considered the initial Cherokee design to be. Chrysler’s head of design Ralph Gilles said that the he has mostly received positive feedback about the Cherokee design but that the few people who didn’t like it felt very strongly against it.