The 2014 model debuts with a range of new powertrains and drivetrains - all including a nine-speed automatic as standard - that promise better driveability and dramatic improvements to fuel efficiency.
In fact Jeep claims the 2014 Cherokee is over 45 percent more efficient than the outgoing Cherokee, yet retains a genuine off-road capability (including low range) plus a maximum tow rating of 2041kg.
The new Cherokee will be the first Jeep to utilise Fiat's Compact US Wide (CUSW) platform, which is closely related to the Alfa Romeo Giulietta's underpinnings and also the basis of the Dodge Dart and the upcoming Alfa Romeo Giulia.
Both externally and internally, there will be nothing in common with the current Cherokee - besides Jeep's signature seven-slot grille, of course.
The new car's styling is an ultra-futuristic take on Jeep's design language, with the slim headlamps divorced from the foglights and running lights to create a six-eyed 'face'.
The side profile shares a lot with the Grand Cherokee while from the rear the new Cherokee looks much broader than most other medium SUVs.
It's world's apart from the super conservative lines of the current model. Depending on your point of view, that can be either a good or a bad thing. Jeep purists will probably hate it, but others might be intrigued by its unique looks.
Inside, the Cherokee has a dashboard design clearly inspired by its big brother, the Grand Cherokee.
The presentation is more modern and organic than before, and Jeep says material quality has been given a huge lift.
Soft touch and upholstered surfaces will be in abundance, and the instrument panel is now a reconfigurable seven-inch LED display on high-grade models.
Other technology includes a parallel/perpendicular parking assistant (a first for Jeep), adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and an 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment display for some models. Besides the usual array of electronic safety aids, the 2014 Jeep Cherokee will come standard with ten airbags.
Three engines have been confirmed, the entrypoint being a 2.4 litre naturally-aspirated petrol inline four that uses the MultiAir valvetrain technology pioneered by Fiat.
Producing 137kW at 6250rpm and 232Nm at 4800rpm, the 2.4 litre engine is claimed to be seven percent more efficient than a similarly-sized engine without the MultiAir system.
A 3.2 litre Pentastar petrol V6 is also offered, and with its output of 199kW and 316Nm delivers a whopping 48kW more than the outgoing Cherokee's 3.7 litre V6.
Not only that, but Jeep claims the new V6 boasts a 30 percent reduction in fuel consumption compared to the old 3.7, giving it an average fuel burn of 8.6 l/100km.
A 2.0 litre turbodiesel model has also been confirmed for the Australian market, although technical specifications have yet to be announced.
All models will come fitted with Chrysler's new nine-speed automatic as standard, with a choice of three drivetrains offered.
The first is Jeep Active Drive I, which is a fairly conventional front-biased AWD system capable of directing drive to the rear wheels once slip is detected.
The Jeep Active Drive II system retains a rear-axle disconnect feature to save fuel, but adds a two-speed transfer case for a genuine low-range capability.
Jeep Active Drive Lock is based on the Active Drive II hardware, but also brings with it a locking rear differential for when the going gets truly sticky. It's active on the trail-rated Cherokee Trailhawk model, and optional for models equipped with Jeep Active Drive II.
On-road handling hasn't been forgotten either. The 2014 Cherokee's new architecture has better torsional rigidity, and uses MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link suspension at the rear for improved handling.
Power steering is electrically-assisted, and the Cherokee's smoother shape means less wind noise at speed.
In the US market, the Cherokee will also be offered in a hard-core Trailhawk variant.
Featuring reprofiled front and rear bumpers and a one-inch suspension lift, the Trailhawk has improved approach and departure angles, as well as 221mm of ground clearance.
A locking rear differential is also standard on the Trailhawk, and it's fitted with underbody skid plates and red-painted tow hooks to help it cope with rough terrain.
The 2014 Jeep Cherokee has been confirmed for a local launch sometime in the fourth quarter of 2013.
Local pricing and specifications will be revealed closer to launch, although a 2.0 litre turbodiesel model has been confirmed for Australia.
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