Spied testing in the US recently, this prototype’s full mystery paint is joined by heavy cladding to hide the new model’s styling details.
Earlier Cherokee mules have been sighted wearing cobbled-together Giulietta bodywork, but this prototype appears to be wearing its final body.
Despite this disguise, a new rising beltline is evident and the current model’s abrupt frontal treatment has been replaced with a more pedestrian and aero-friendly longer front overhang.
This front overhang is joined by more cab-forward overall proportions, due to the new model’s use of the transverse engine layout Fiat/Chrysler Group CUSW platform.
Whilst the new model will be the third generation Cherokee (after KJ and KK) to use a monocoque platform, the 2014 model will be the first to use a transverse engine layout - a fact that could see Jeep offer front-wheel-drive entry versions.
Despite this engine layout, all-wheel-drive versions are expected to carry Jeep’s ‘Trail-Rated’ off-road classification, as proven possible by the existing transverse-engined Compass and Patriot models.
Jeep isn’t saying yet, but driveline options are expected to include a new smaller-capacity version of the 3.6 litre Pentastar V6, and whispers suggest this could be mated to ZF’s new nine-speed automatic transmission.