2014 Jeep Cherokee's racy design stirs up social-media storm

Wed Mar 27, 2013 10:48am EDT
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By Paul Lienert

DETROIT (Reuters) - The 2014 Jeep Cherokee revives one of the brand's hallowed nameplates, one that dates back nearly 40 years. But the Chrysler Group's FIA.MI new crossover vehicle looks like it would fit better in Italian cousin Alfa Romeo's future product stable.

The latest iteration of the Cherokee, the fourth to wear that badge since 1974, makes its public debut this week at the New York International Auto Show and goes on sale at U.S. dealers in late summer.

But the racy design of the 2014 Cherokee has been stirring up a social-media storm, especially among Jeep loyalists, since Chrysler released the first official photos in late February.

"American variant of Nissan Juke, unfortunately . . . No more tough'n'rough," complained one online Jeep forum member.

Responded another: "It is sexy, looks tough and is gonna kick some butt! Thanks, Jeep, for keeping it fresh and relevant."

Chrysler executive Ralph Gilles, who heads the automaker's design department, responded simply to critics on his Twitter feed: "Time will tell."

The decision to resurrect the Cherokee name might not be so controversial if the new crossover didn't represent a radical departure from previous boxy-looking Jeep designs.

The original Cherokee, a full-size two-door companion to the Jeep Wagoneer, was built from 1974 to 1983 by American Motors.   Continued...

Chrysler's 2014 Jeep Cherokee is seen in an undated publicity photo. REUTERS/Chrysler/Handout