The 2016 Jeep Cherokee is a far cry from what it used to be. Instead of being a vehicle with a brick-shaped design and an interior that was barely palatable, it’s reached a whole new level of sophistication. Between the refined, stylish, and aerodynamic exterior and the plush and luxury-oriented interior, you wouldn’t even know that this was a Cherokee – save for the badging. Granted, Jeep essentially took the Cherokee name and slapped it on a new “model,” but whatever the case — it’s still the design that people think of now when they hear the word Cherokee.
The off-roaders might still think of the old brick-shaped Cherokee and its rugged nature, but the Cherokee is now being cast in a modern light as a family-oriented vehicle, thanks to the drastic difference in design.
This is what Jeep has to say about the design of the new model: “The Jeep Cherokee is more revolutionary than evolutionary — pushing boundaries and exploring territories previously unknown.”
Even at just a quick glance, it’s clear that this Cherokee is geared towards a much different purpose than the all-terrain adventuring for which the brand is celebrated. The design has been sculpted for maximum aerodynamic efficiency, which truly is revolutionary and boundary-pushing, like Jeep says. If you told someone twenty years ago that the Cherokee would be redesigned with maximum aerodynamics in mind, they would most likely wouldn’t have believed it.
With aerodynamic efficiency as their main goal, the designers went to work. Now, in place of a boxy front end, you will find a front that is elongated and comes to a sharp edge. This sharp edge cuts the grille in half, running directly through the center of it and continuing on underneath the headlights. This new knife-edge design ensures that when the wind hits the Cherokee, it immediately cuts it and helps direct the airflow up over the hood.
While this sharper front end is designed to peel the air just as easily as you peel a carrot, it also brings an unexpected sense of refinement to the vehicle. That hard line becomes the clear divider between the slim headlights, the running lights, and the front bumper. As it cuts the grille in half, it also bends the top of it back and onto the start of the hood at an angle, along with the Jeep logo.
The hood bulges slightly in the center, and creates two surprisingly elegant valleys on both sides of the hood that are pleasing to look at, as well as aerodynamically-oriented. While it appears the front receives all the attention of the redesign, closer inspection of the rest of the Cherokee’s body shows just how newly sculpted it actually is. With its powerful and wide stance, coupled by an unexpected gracefulness, this Cherokee is out to please both rugged and luxury vehicle lovers alike. The sides feature a powerful line that runs down each side of the Cherokee and the rear-fenders slightly bulge for added strength.
And the back? That’s reserved for the luxury SUV lover. With a rear spoiler and brake light that stick out just above the back window, and dual tip exhaust ports when equipped with a V6 engine, the 2016 Cherokee oozes a sophisticated sportiness. The brake lights match the design of the headlights, but are slightly larger and wider. These brake lights sit somewhat higher, and are therefore incorporated into the design of the back window. This creates a sense of uniqueness and unity across the back of the entire vehicle.
Everything comes together to make a truly refined and sophisticated vehicle. Not only did Jeep succeed in their pursuit of aerodynamic sculpting, but along the way they managed to make a vehicle with a very unique design, not seen elsewhere on the 2016 market.
If you thought the outside was different from before, wait until you see what the inside looks like now. Before, the inside of the Cherokee was sparsely furnished. It had cloth seats, with a basic radio, and crank-down windows. Now in 2016, it has a Uconnect touchscreen infotainment system, power windows and doors, innovative storage space, and a choice between cloth, a leather-cloth combination, or all leather trim. Buttons on the steering wheels, a high-definition digital instrument cluster, premium sound systems, and even illuminated cupholders, are also possible bells and whistles. While all of these amenities aren’t standard across trim levels, the fact that they are available and able to be installed inside the new Cherokee is astounding; and a complete one-eighty from what the interior used to be.
Take for example the Uconnect touchscreen infotainment system, which is available in three versions: 5.0, 8.4, and 8.4 NAV. The 8.4 NAV is the best one, and comes with HD radio, a GPS service with 3-D landmarks and terrain, iPod and Android Bluetooth mobile device integration, and even a built-in WiFi hotspot, if you want one. With the older Cherokee models, you were lucky to get an AM/FM channel to come through clearly. Now, you can stream music wirelessly through your phone, and use a touch screen to operate it.
Complimenting the Cherokee’s technological enhancements are niceties such as leather or premium cloth seating. Also, there are many more than just one or two color schemes. Now, picking certain materials (or a combination of materials) gives you the option of some two-tone color concepts, such as all leather brown and blue, or all cloth black and light beige. A leather trim and cloth seat combination is even available on certain trims, and the two look rather stylish when brought together. For increased comfort, particularly if you live in a cold climate, the front seats can come heated.
Having features like these inside of the Cherokee are a huge deal. Sure, it’s expected that features like this are going to be in a car in 2016, but step back and take a look at it from a broader perspective. Even just a short 15-20 years ago, the Cherokee had a bare-bones design that many people thought had one purpose: off-roading. Now, the 2016 Jeep Cherokee is arguably one of the nicest and most refined vehicles on the market, and perhaps the only vehicle in recent automotive history to undergo such a thorough and successful transformation.