Jeep’s revival of the Cherokee in 2014 was a joyous occasion for fans of the nameplate, though many were taken aback by the unusual, very un-Jeep-like styling of the vehicle.
Rumor has it the current Cherokee, the nameplate’s fifth iteration, was originally intended to be an Alfa Romeo but was changed to a Jeep once it was decided Alfa Romeo would use its own platform for its SUVs, the first of which is the Stelvio.
Our latest spy shots show a prototype for the Cherokee’s mid-cycle update, and judging by the shots it appears Jeep’s designers are out to pacify detractors of the small SUV’s styling.
In particular, we expect the current model’s separated daytime running lights and main projectors to be combined into a single unit, like on the rest of the Jeep lineup. The prototype, though heavily camouflaged, appears to signal that the new lights will flank the grille in a more conventional fashion.
2018 Jeep Cherokee facelift spy shots – Image via S. Baldauf/SB-Medien
It’s not clear if there will be any major mechanical mods, though it’s possible we’ll see the 9-speed automatic already offered on the smaller Renegade and Compass models make it over.
We’ve also heard that the Cherokee might receive a high-performance Trackhawk option as part of the facelift. The rumored engine is a tuned version of the 3.2-liter V-6 already available on the Cherokee. In standard form the engine delivers 271 horsepower. Below it is a 2.4-liter inline-4 good for 184 hp.
Finally, expect a more accomplished suite of electronic driver aids. Early test mules were spotted wearing numerous sensors front and rear.
Look for the updated Cherokee to debut late this year, as a 2018 model.