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Auto blogThu, 19 Sep 2013 11:56:00 EST
The Cherokee Is Dead. Long Live The Cherokee.
There are three sentences that, for this reviewer, define what needs to be conveyed about the 2014 Jeep Cherokee. The first: it is very good.
Jeep spent 27 years building the Cherokee and its brand, from 1974 to 2001. Twelve years ago, the Cherokee nameplate rolled away into the distant hills and retirement, at least here in the NAFTA colonies, and it was replaced by a loaded word we knew as "Liberty."
The Jeep Cherokee Dakar concept showed off at the 2014 Easter Jeep Safari made a lot of online friends, even the Cherokee naysayers assenting that there's a monster Jeep underneath the Cherokee's skin if you're willing to go in and get it. But after reading Road & Track's write-up of what went into creating the Dakar, particularly its lift, you'll understand why you'll probably never see the components for it in the Jeep Performance Parts catalog.
The concept's press release mentions a "prototype Jeep Performance Parts lift kit, and additional suspension modifications." The short-story explanation is that the front struts on the standard Cherokee weren't engineered to accept any amount of lift, so the long story begins with the phrase, "an entirely new suspension." Head over to RT to read the details, and don't be afraid to ogle the Cherokee Dakar gallery and another awesome Jeep fancy that won't likely crawl over the hurdles imposed by production reality.
Well, no one should ever accuse the government of not giving things plenty of thought. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is still debating whether it will retest any of the 1.56 million 1992 to 1998 Grand Cherokees and 2002 to 2007 Libertys that were part of a recall regarding fires after rear-end collisions. And yes, this debate has been going on for over a month. In other news...
The recall dustup started in early June, when Chrysler took the unusual position of refusing a recall request from NHTSA regarding placement of the fuel tank on the effected vehicles. NHTSA said a collision could cause a fire, a position Chrysler took issue with. Extensive negotiations ensued, with Chrysler agreeing to fit certain Jeeps with trailer hitches, which it said would provide some protection to fuel tanks mounted behind the rear axle in the event of a collision.
Part of the issue rests with the amount of data that needs to be processed, according to The Detroit News. NHTSA administrator David Strickland said during a Washington Auto Press Association meeting, "There's a lot of data and Chrysler is being very cooperative in giving us more data." Until that information has been sorted, it looks like re-testing will still be up for debate.