Our first week back behind the wheel of a new vehicle in some time, we're looking at the history of Jeep's Cherokee nameplate and the legacy of their compact SUVs.
The Jeep Cherokee is one of the most iconic American off-roaders of all-time. Launched in 1974 under American Motors ownership, the Jeep Cherokee served as a two-door full-size SUV built on a body-on-frame chassis with RWD/4WD prowess. Few examples exist today that are worthy of display, but we're lucky FCA North America has produced some high-quality footage for use in this episode.
The Cherokee was followed up in 1983 with a new unibody SUV, while reducing size to the compact segment. It still retained it's RWD/4WD capabilities as a proper off-roader, and quickly became a popular seller for AMC & Jeep, which is one of the reasons why in 1987 Chrysler Corporation bought out AMC. The Cherokee continued into the millennium until the 2001 model year when it was replaced with a new modern design for the time.
This generation was renamed to the Liberty in the North American market while retaining the Cherokee nameplate in markets like Europe. The first generation Liberty had a short production run and was replaced after the dissolution of DaimlerChrysler in 2008 with a new boxier design language.
This Liberty was replaced once again by the current generation Cherokee which was launched as a 2014 model year. Our facelift model is configured with the Altitude trim, along with over $7,000 in options including the 2.0L turbocharged 4 cylinder engine which produces 270 horsepower, 295 lb-ft of torque.
We go over some of the design changes with the 2019 facelift, along with the engine and transmission specifications. We then take the 2020 Jeep Cherokee Altitude on a comprehensive road test to talk about it's engine, transmission issues some customers have complained about, and how this vehicle performs as a daily driver on the road.