Jeep recently gave the Grand Cherokee a significant makeover, but it hasn't done much to keep the smaller Cherokee fresh in recent years. The company isn't giving up on the crossover, according to executives, and it has already started developing the next-generation model.
The next Cherokee will be "bigger and better than ever," pledged Jim Morrison, the head of Jeep's North American division. Bigger is fairly easy to achieve, but better is highly relative; Morrison stopped short of providing additional details. Speaking to Motor Trend, Jeep boss Christian Meunier revealed that the next-generation Cherokee will "have a lot of electrification." Whether that means it will be hybrid-only, plug-in hybrid-only, electric-only, or a combination is up in the air. Neither executive revealed the direction that Jeep is pushing the car in.
While nothing is official at this point, a separate report claims that Jeep will include the next-generation Cherokee in its on-going upmarket shift. Citing unnamed sources, enthusiast website Mopar Insiders reported that the recently-resurrected Wagoneer nameplate will also appear on a luxurious evolution of the next Cherokee (called KM internally) that's tentatively due out in 2024 or 2025. The model will likely come standard with all-wheel-drive, and it could be offered either exclusively as an EV or with a gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid drivetrain.
Interestingly, we've been here before: Jeep inaugurated the Grand Wagoneer nameplate for the 1984 model year to differentiate the big, body-on-frame SUV from the then-new XJ-based Wagoneer, which was a ritzier Cherokee. Production ended after the 1990 model year.
One important question that remains unanswered is when the next Cherokee will make its debut. The current model (pictured) went on sale for the 2014 model year and it will celebrate its 10th birthday in November of 2023. The aforementioned report suggests that we won't see the new crossover in 2022, partly because Jeep is focusing on bringing other cars to the market (including an entry-level model).
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