Ralph Gilles, head of design and SRT for Chrysler, told Allpar today that the 2014 Jeep Cherokee should not be judged from photography, but from being seen in person. Of those who have seen it, he said, most started out with shock at first, which is desirable to make a product stand out and be noticed; then, Gilles said, most like it, “It grows on them.”

According to Mr. Gilles, the styling is a triumph in that it goes in a completely new direction for the brand, yet is instantly recognizable as a Jeep. Having the grille extend into the hood provides the right proportions and a more aggressive stance, while it “celebrates its wind-swept nature,” looking as though it is “wind-cheating.”  The extension of the grille into the hood does not hurt the aerodynamics of the Cherokee.

Mr. Gilles also said that, while the 2014 Cherokee’s styling was new, it does not signal a change for the brand; Wrangler will not follow the trend, “It’s a very particular aesthetic for this type of vehicle,” he said.