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Detroit show: Jeep reveals fresh-faced Cherokee

Nip and tuck: Jeep’s refreshed Cherokee will lose the divisive split-headlight design and instead adopt a more traditional face with integrated daytime running lights and headlights.

Mid-life update yields new look and likely updated powertrains for Jeep’s Cherokee

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Jeep logo20 Dec 2017

JEEP has officially exposed the new face of its Cherokee mid-size SUV that ditches the polarising split-headlight design in favour of a more traditional lighting signature, with the mid-life update due in Australian showrooms in the second quarter of 2018.

Retaining the brand’s signature seven-slot grille, the facelifted Cherokee now wears a tweaked front fascia including new bonnet and bumper to accommodate the headlight and daytime running light combination.

Foglights still flank the lower air intake, but the new Cherokee eschews the black-plastic-heavy chin of its predecessor for a more uniformed, body-coloured design – at least on some grades.

Off-road ready Trailhawk versions will still sport prominent cladding on the front with foglights positioned higher to accommodate the distinct red tow hooks, as well as grade-specific tweaks including a matte black bonnet sticker, increased ride height and all-terrain tyres.

At the rear, the Cherokee gains updated tail-lights and a new rear bumper design that reduces the expanse of black plastic and moves the registration plate to the tailgate.

Inside, it appears to retain the same 5.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, steering wheel, climate controls and instrumentation as before.

While little else is known about Jeep’s latest model, the Cherokee will make its public debut at next month’s Detroit motor show where more details will be uncovered.

Jeep is calling the Cherokee “the most capable mid-size sport-utility vehicle” which sports “a new, authentic and more premium design, along with even more fuel-efficient powertrain options”.

Australia’s current Cherokee line-up consists of four flavours kicking off with the two-wheel-drive $35,950 before on-roads Sport variant powered by a 130kW/229Nm 2.4-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine.

Longitude, Limited and Trailhawk variants are powered by a 200kW/315Nm Pentastar petrol V6, underpinned by all-wheel drive, and priced respectively at $41,450, $45,950 and $49,950.

Fuel economy ranges from 9.1 litres per 100km up to 10.1L/100km.

A diesel-powered Cherokee was also offered briefly starting in 2014 with a 125kW/350Nm 2.0-litre turbo engine.

Although rumours are circulating that the Cherokee will adopt the new turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit from the next-generation Wrangler, an Australian debut is still unclear given the powertrain is a non-starter for local-spec Wranglers due in late 2018.

Jeep has struggled with its Cherokee this year in the booming sub-$60,000 mid-size SUV segment, selling just 990 units to the end of November representing a 47.1 per cent year-on-year slide.

However, it is the second best seller in Jeep’s stable behind the Grand Cherokee (4919) but ahead of the Wrangler (948) and Renegade (672).

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