Originally a full-size utility vehicle based on the Wagoneer, the SJ morphed into a compact utility vehicle for the 1984 model year with the debut of the XJ, which rocks a fully integrated body-on-frame design.
The KJ rolled out with a unibody and rack-and-pinion steering for the 2002 model year. Although a bit softer than its predecessors, the KJ and subsequent KK brought in a plethora of new customers to the Jeep brand.
Internally codenamed KL, the fifth- and current-generation Cherokee is often dismissed over its Fiat Compact-based platform. The diehards certainly made their point, loud and clear. But on the other hand, stepping up to the Trailhawk unlocks all the off-road capability expected of a compact utility vehicle with unitary construction. A bit pricey at $34,895 for the most basic of configurations, the Cherokee certainly shows its age.
The KL entered production back in June 2013 for the 2014 model year, and Jeep knows that something needs to change. Calendar year 2021 sales for the U.S. market are down 34 percent over the previous year, and truth be told, the compact SUV segment can only be described as pretty crowded.
Motor Trend asked Christian Meunier and Jim Morrison about the future of the Cherokee, and both of them confirmed that a redesign is currently in the works. “Bigger and better than ever” is Morrison’s take on the newcomer.
Meunier added that “a lot of electrification” is planned for the Cherokee, which is the way to go due to increasingly draconic regulations for emissions and fuel economy. A bigger electrified Cherokee isn’t all there is to the sixth gen because Jeep is likely to expand the Wagoneer brand.
Sources told Mopar Insiders that “another smaller Wagoneer vehicle will be added to the mix sometime in 2024 or 2025. That vehicle will be based on the next-generation Cherokee (KM),” and even though specifics aren’t known at press time, the STLA Large platform is rumored for the KM.
STLA Large stands for Stellantis, the cross-border merger between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Groupe PSA, and large-ish vehicles. The only way up from here is the STLA Frame, a body-on-frame architecture that’s been confirmed for an electric pickup truck and a range-extended truck.