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Jeep Cherokee

The Jeep Cherokee is a line of SUVs manufactured and marketed by Jeep over five generations.

Marketed initially as a variant of the Jeep Wagoneer, the Cherokee has evolved from a full-size SUV to one of the first compact SUVs and into its current generation as a crossover SUV.

Named after the Cherokee tribe of Native Americans in the United States, Jeep has used the nameplate in some capacity since late 1973 when American Motors Corporation introduced the 1974 model year line.

First generation (SJ; 1974)

The Cherokee was a rebadged reintroduction of a two-door body style Jeep Wagoneer, with a redesigned greenhouse that eliminated the car's C-pillar. Instead, the Cherokee featured a much broader D-pillar and a single, long fixed rear side window with an optional flip-out section. Previously, a two-door version was available in the Jeep Wagoneer line (from 1963 through 1967). However, this had the same pillar and window configuration as the four-door Wagoneer. The Cherokee replaced the Jeepster Commando, whose sales had not met expectations despite an extensive 1972 revamp. The Cherokee appealed to a younger market than the Wagoneer, which was regarded more as a family SUV.

The Cherokee was marketed as the "sporty" two-door variant of Jeep's station wagon that went beyond the CJ-5 in interior space with off-road ability. The term "sport(s) utility vehicle" appears for the first time in the 1974 Cherokee sales brochure. A four-door was not added to the lineup until 1977. Other than the base model, the trim levels of the Cherokee included the S (Sport), Chief, Golden Eagle, Golden Hawk, Limited, Classic, Sport, Pioneer, and Laredo.

Second generation (XJ; 1984)

While the full-sized Wagoneer continued production for another eight years as the Grand Wagoneer, the Cherokee nameplate was moved to a new platform starting with the 1984 model year and continuing through 2001. Without a traditional body-on-frame chassis, the Cherokee instead featured a lightweight unibody design.

This generation of Cherokee would eventually be well known as the innovator of the modern SUV, as it spawned competitors, and other automakers noticed that this Jeep design began replacing regular cars. It also began to supplant the role of the station wagon and "transformed from truck to limousine in the eyes of countless suburban owners." The XJ is a "significant link in the evolution of the 4x4."

It would prove so popular that the second generation Cherokee's replacement was released as a separate vehicle, the Jeep Grand Cherokee, starting a successive line of Jeep flagship models.

Third generation (KJ; 2002)

The third generation, marketed as the Jeep Liberty in North America to differentiate it from the Grand Cherokee, was introduced in April 2001 for the 2002 model year. It was sold as the Jeep Cherokee in markets outside of North America.

The Cherokee was priced between the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee. It remained the smallest of the four-door Jeep SUVs until the crossover-based four-door Compass and Patriot arrived for the 2007 model year. The Cherokee featured unibody construction. It was assembled at the Toledo North Assembly Plant in the United States and other countries, including Egypt and Venezuela.

It was the first Jeep vehicle to use rack and pinion steering. It was also the first Jeep to use the two then-new PowerTech engines; the 150 hp (112 kW; 152 PS) 2.4 L I4, which was discontinued in 2006, and the 210 horsepower (160 kW) 3.7 L V6. However, the Cherokee was not the first Jeep vehicle to use an independent front suspension, as the Wagoneer first used it in the 1963 model. This independent front suspension was limited to four-wheel drive versions and was a short-lived option.

Fourth generation (KK; 2008)

Continuing to be marketed as the Jeep Liberty name in North America, the Cherokee was redesigned in 2008. For the first time, a rebadged fourth-generation Cherokee was marketed by Dodge as the Nitro. The Nitro was eventually discontinued due to slow sales and Sergio Marchionne wanting to avoid duplicate vehicles with Dodge and Jeep (as well as Chrysler) sharing the same sales network.

The four-cylinder engine was dropped from the Cherokee's models because the smaller Patriot and Compass offered greater fuel efficiency. The iron-block, aluminum-head V6 was the only engine available for 2008. The towing capacity was 5,000 pounds (2,268 kg). Jeep discontinued the Cherokee's CRD for the American market because it could not meet the more rigid 2007 emissions standards for diesel engines. Transmission choices were both carry-overs: a six-speed manual or a four-speed automatic. Standard equipment included electronic stability control with roll mitigation, traction control, and anti-lock brakes with brake assist. New Features included standard side airbags. Optional features are rain-sensing wipers, Sirius Satellite Radio, Bluetooth, a navigation system, and the MyGig entertainment system with a 30GB hard drive.

Fifth generation (KL; 2014)

For the fifth generation, the Cherokee nameplate returned to North America as the vehicle was converted to a crossover and grew to midsize to make room for the Jeep Renegade below the Cherokee and Compass. It was introduced for the 2014 model year at the 2013 New York International Auto Show, with sales starting in November 2013. The Cherokee is the first Jeep vehicle to be built on the Fiat Compact/Compact U.S. Wide platform, co-developed by Chrysler and Fiat.

The Cherokee has a highway fuel economy rating of 31 miles per U.S. gallon (7.6 L/100 km; 37 mpg‑imp) and a 45% better fuel economy rating than the Liberty/Cherokee it replaced.

The front end was updated for the 2018 model year, and a new 2.0 L turbo engine became available, rated with 270 hp (201 kW; 274 PS) and 295 pound force-feet (400 N⋅m) of torque. The other engines included the 3.2 L V6 and 2.4 L inline-four.

For the 2021 model year, Jeep added more standard comfort and convenience features on each trim, as well as introduced the Latitude Lux and related 80th Anniversary trims.

The Jeep Cherokee assembly was at the Belvidere Assembly Plant in Belvidere, Illinois, until 28 February 2023.

Call to change the name

The vehicle was launched in 1973 for the 1974 model year, and the Cherokee Nation had not asked Jeep about the name, there is no copyright on the Cherokee name, and the tribe was not offered royalties for using the name.

In February 2021, Chuck Hoskin, Jr., principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, called for Jeep to change the vehicle's name. "I think we're in a day and age in this country where it's time for both corporations and team sports to retire the use of Native American names, images and mascots from their products, team jerseys and sports in general." "I'm sure this comes from a place that is well-intended, but it does not honor us by having our name plastered on the side of a car." "The best way to honor us is to learn about our sovereign government, our role in this country, our history, culture, and language and have meaningful dialogue with federally recognized tribes on cultural appropriateness."




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