The new Jeep Cherokee has gotten a lot of flack for its challenging looks, but it’s one of those cars the Brits call a “Marmite car” (Marmite being the yeast spread you put on your toast) – you either love it or hate it. In fact, most of the motoring press seems to hate the split front headlights and chamfered take on the traditional Jeep grille, while at the same time claiming the rest of the car is bland.

Personally, I disagree – I really like the looks of the Cherokee, especially the Trailhawk off-road version:

2014-jeep-cherokee-trailhawk-front-three-quarter 2014-jeep-cherokee-trailhawk-rear-three-quarters-viewAs a matter of fact, I find it one of the best looking midsize SUVs out there. I love that it does not look bland like the CR-V, RAV4 or Tiguan, or plain ugly like the Forrester. Sure, once you take away the nice, big wheels and other off-road accoutrements the car looks pretty sad, but then so does any base version of its competitors.

2015_jeep_cherokee_angularrear

So what do the consumer thing? If you look at the sales figure of Jeep’s midsize SUVs below (first the original Cherokee, followed by two generations of the Liberty, before the new Cherokee came on stream towards the end of 2013) you’ll see that not only is it popular, 2014 sales are actually the highest since 1999. Though of course you have to correct for the fact that 2014 was a good year for cars in general, and because of cheap gas in the US for SUVs in particular. That, and the fact that while the previous generations were old-school ladder-on-frame SUVs, the new monocoque car is aimed squarely at the most popular SUV segment in the US – the midsize “softroader”.

Jeep Cherokee sales

  1. I love the look of the new Cherokee as well, but only after I saw it in real life. On paper/screen, I wasn’t that impressed.
    And although it’s doing great in Europe as well, especially considering Jeep’s limited dealership count and image of being expensive and gas guzzling, that small success is being snowed under by the even greater (and understandable) success of the Renegade.
    However, I think the Cherokee should be able to do even better in Europe, and the key to that is by getting people to see it “face-to-face”, either on the street or in the dealership.
    And in comes the Renegade again: that model attracts more customers to Jeep showrooms than ever before, and they will also find the Cherokee there, a model they may not even had been aware of before. I expect this will help European Cherokee sales increase further this year, although it won’t become a top-5 player like it has in the US.

  2. Krzysztof, I totally agree with you. The new Cherokee looks amazing. It certainly looks better than German SUV’s, that’s for sure.

  3. @Bart – I agree the car looks much better in person, and while I could simply not find a good picture I most like the Trailhawk edition when it’s painted a cool Apple white – I think it has simply fantastic road presence! Maybe Jeep should have some special test drive deal to get people to dealerships?

    @Arthur – while I prefer the Cherokee from among the non-premium SUV crop, I have to say I’ve always had a soft spot for the Audi Q5. Not sure what it is, but probably because it is probably the least FWD-looking of all Audis, and its shape is vaguely reminiscent of the original Infiniti FX which I happen to love!

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