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Cherokee fascia changing (updated)

by David Zatz on

The 2014 Jeep Cherokee has not yet entered full scale production, and some sources are now saying it won’t happen until September 2013. The company is still working out heat problems, what appears to be a supplier material switch, and some fit issues, and with quality as a top priority “for real,” production is not likely to begin until all known problems are solved.

With that said, it’s hard to see what conclusion to draw from these shots taken recently by Erik Latranyi, which show new and different front fascias.  They might simply be a test of the same basic parts, made with a different material; or a new run of parts to check fit; or part of a test of a new design, though the Cherokee has already been unveiled and shown.

Update: Susan Rand wrote, “It’s different, but only slightly. Look where the bumper starts and comes down over the headlights. They changed the angles on the bumper in relation to the angle between the DRL and the headlight. I think they’re making it more cohesive; and it looks as though the headlight housings are different, internally — headlight in the center, signals on the outside, instead of how it is on the show cars.”

Triple T added, “It could simply be a move from early prototypes to production tooling, making it easier to mold, flow, and pack out. I have seen some very poor tooling conditions on bumper cores where the designers and engineers didn’t think from a tooling perspective. It does appear much softer from the raised transition to the grill. It may have been for aesthetic reasons, but it is sure easier to inject.”

The 2014 Jeep Cherokee has been controversial, with a return to the love/hate styling the company used to great advantage in the mid-1990s. Many observers loathe the styling and can’t see how anyone could like it, but others love the styling and can’t see how it could be hated. The design was met with praise when shown at the Beijing Auto Show.

The tail design is rather interesting, with a large blank space between two crowded horizontal areas. The tail-light look is already present on at least one import crossover.

Cherokee is available in front wheel drive, and three four-wheel-drive variants — one with a single-speed 4×4, one with dual-speed 4×4, and one with a special dual-speed 4×4 and full-inch clearance increase. In each case, the rear wheels are only driven when needed, to increase gas mileage.

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