2014 Jeep Cherokee-21

Jeep gave the 2014 Jeep Cherokee its world debut at the 2013 New York Auto Show, promising an all-new car that will completely redefine the mid-size SUV segment, the largest SUV segment in North America with roughly two million units sold in 2012.

Weapons in the Cherokee arsenal include “legendary Jeep 4X4 capability”, a nine-speed automatic transmission, fuel economy improvements of over 45% (versus the outgoing Liberty model), improved on-road ride and handling, and a cutting-edge, revolutionary design. The latter includes a face from Mars – you’ll either love the alien looks or hate it.

The new nine-speed auto can be paired to a 2.4 litre “Tigershark” MultiAir 2 four-cylinder engine with 184 hp or a new 3.2 litre Pentastar V6 with 271 hp. The latter is the first derivative of the Chrysler Group’s award winning 3.6L Pentastar V6 engine, and gives the Cherokee best-in-class V6 towing capability of 4,500 pounds.

2014 Jeep Cherokee-23

The 2014 Jeep Cherokee is the first mid-size SUV to feature rear-axle disconnect, for reduced energy loss when 4X4 capability isn’t needed. Rear-axle disconnect seamlessly switches between two- and four-wheel drive for full-time torque management and does not require input from the driver.

Jeep Active Drive II gives the off-road adventurer a ride height that is increased by an inch, and a crawl ratio of 56:1 (47.8:1 on the V6) – up to 90% improvement versus the outgoing model.

Jeep Active Drive Lock adds a locking rear differential for better low-speed power for severe off-road conditions. It’s standard on all “Trail Rated” Trailhawk models, which gets aggressive approach and departure angles, one-inch factory lift, skid plates and signature red tow hooks. The Trailhawk is the macho red one in the gallery below.

Bulid at Chrysler’s Toledo plant, the 2014 Jeep Cherokee will hit showrooms in the third quarter of this year.