The 2014 Jeep Cherokee mid-sized sports utility vehicle is touted to offer a 45-percent increase in fuel economy and deliver a better off-road capability than the Jeep Liberty it replaces. According to Chrysler chief executive Sergio Marchionne and Jeep brand chief Mike Manley, the success of the brand depends on sales of the Cherokee in what is considered as one of the toughest segments in the automotive industry.
Manley said the sales performance of the Cherokee brand is vital to Jeep achieving its goal of surpassing its 2012 global sales record of 701,626 units. In 2011, Marchionne described the current Jeep Liberty as "the most significant hole” in Chrysler’s product portfolio, while mentioning the Jeep Cherokee.
Although Jeep continued to see a rise in sales of the Liberty in recent years and reached 75,483 in 2012, the figure is still far from its peak sales of 171,212 units logged in 2002. The five-passenger Jeep Cherokee features a new nine-speed front-wheel-drive automatic gearbox and a new drivetrain system.
The Cherokee is powered by two naturally-aspirated engines. One of them is a standard 2.4-liter I-4 Tigershark with Fiat's Multiair II variable valve timing technology. It could provide up to 184 hp of output and 171 pounds-feet of torque. The other is the optional 3.2-liter version of Chrysler's 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6. It could deliver 271 hp of output and 239 pounds-feet of torque.
The Cherokee will feature the debut of a nine -speed automatic transmission developed by ZF Friedrichshafen. Although manual transmissions would not be available in the United States, it could be availed in overseas versions.
The Cherokee, which comes in four trim levels, will be rated at up to 31 mpg highway. Chrysler is set to unveil the Cherokee at the New York auto show. The carmaker was forced to release four official photos early after its images leaked out online in February. The Cherokee is the first Jeep to be produced with the help of Chrysler parent Fiat.