This Is How The Jeep Cherokee Changed The Automotive Scene Forever


As we navigate the winding and uncertain road of 2023, it seems that few things can be thought with the hopeless certainty we once did. That said, it’s the SUV that maintains this overall sense of security. SUVs themselves are almost as old as automobiles as a whole, but it was only in the last few decades that these vehicles became more common, and now US sedans outnumber these larger sedans. We have even reached the strange and disturbing point that there are far more counterpart.


It could easily take days trying to guess when and how it all started, but the specific examples that pumped this wave into the public norm are very remarkable. Since our founding in the 1980s, jeep The Cherokee remained a staple in the American backdrop, becoming an essential fixture and poster child for SUVs as a whole. , leading them to the concept of the SUV, while simultaneously inspiring a whole cache of imitations, knockoffs, and even some things that ought to be… probably never even existed in the first place.

Related: An Interior Peep at the 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer


Why the Jeep Cherokee was a weirdo in its early days

via jeep

The Jeep brand itself was something of a novelty, minted from the chaos of World War II to build some of the first mass-produced civilian 4×4 vehicles. American his Bantam Car Company of Butler, Pennsylvania was responsible for the design of the original Jeep, and as a result, wartime production was outsourced to Willys and Ford.

After the war, Willis began selling this four-wheel drive design to the public. Some of the early customers were ex-military personnel who were accustomed to the ruggedness and versatility of the Jeeps during their military service. Besides, the market was certainly ripe for his reliable 4×4.

Dodge had already achieved considerable success with its power wagon pickup trucks during this period, but they lacked seating capabilities to be true family vehicles. On the other side of the Big 3, General Motors and Ford had yet to conquer the four-wheel drive market. It would take until the late 1950s for either of the two companies to offer his 4×4 pickup trucks.

In short, Willys swooped in and conquered the domestic 4×4 market. Before World War II, the company produced mainly small, affordable cars for the economy. If Willis had stuck to his previous strategy, it can be surmised that the company would have enjoyed great success after the war, as the need for cheap transportation clearly arose in times of reconstruction. We took a big gamble by pushing our desire to produce a quirky 4×4 vehicle. The bet paid off.

How the Jeep Cherokee transcends time

1983 Jeep Cherokee
bring the trailer

The Jeep Cherokee didn’t come out until 1974, but the models before that basically offered the same basic formula: durability, decent seating, ample cargo space and, of course, four-wheel drive. Acquiring Jeep in 1970, American Motors, his corporation, readily saw the potential of its own brand of vehicles suitable for off-road use, both military and civilian. The latter, however, now sees far more competition in the market than it did in the 1940s and 1950s.

With the Ford Bronco, Chevy K5 Blazer and more, the AMC-owned Jeep brand is no longer uncharted territory. Even Japanese imports like the Toyota Land Cruiser were beginning to make an impact on the American market. Still, Jeep’s longstanding reputation and history were remembered by consumers, and the new Cherokee proved popular. In fact, his original 1974 sales brochure for the original Cherokee SJ is actually the first instance of the term “SUV” being used.

Thus, Jeep continued business as usual throughout the 1970s. Meanwhile, the Big 3 have invested most of their time and resources in developing smaller, more economical vehicles that are better suited to this era of fuel crises, new emissions regulations and overall horsepower loss. Additionally, the new wave of Japanese cars sweeping the US market posed a serious threat to domestic manufacturers who easily fit these standards and more. Nonetheless, the Jeep was also having success with the larger models as it easily proved its worth as some of the best 4×4s available. In the 1980s, however, the Cherokee underwent a major redesign and downsizing. Nevertheless, this new version will become one of his most memorable generations of models.

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Has the Jeep Cherokee changed, or has the consumer changed?

2023-Jeep-Grand Cherokee-4xe-30th-Anniversary-Edition7-1
via jeep

Full-size Wagoneers will continue to be produced, but Jeep has changed the Cherokee nameplate to a smaller, fresher platform from 1983, the Cherokee XJ. This new Cherokee ditched the traditional full-frame construction in favor of a unibody construction. Overall, its smaller size and ample interior space made it popular with buyers, and helped the Jeep win over a whole new customer base with its more civilized and less practical design.The Cherokee XJ he had until 2001 So much so that he remained in production for 15 years.

Around the same time the Cherokee was launched, Chrysler’s subsequent wave of minivans set a new trend in family transportation. These minivans and others offered plenty of interior space, but lacked the off-road capabilities that made the Cherokee truly his SUV. Still, minivans were quickly taking the coveted position of family haulers previously occupied by station wagons. Interestingly, these minivans carry a certain stigma among buyers, some of whom seemed content with a more purposeful family car in his SUV form.

Many other domestic automakers took notice and launched their own form of minivan to compete with Chrysler, but the Cherokee was not neglected in this segment. Ford made the Explorer a pony in late 1991. The Dodge Durango didn’t come out until his 1998 model year, at which point the Jeep was already under Chrysler’s wing.

Yet, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, SUV sales surged across the United States, driving more buyers away from the minivan trend and simultaneously experiencing the slow demise of station wagons.

Here, in 2023, the SUV boom will be bigger than ever, with sales completely outstripping those of standard family sedans. Station wagons are virtually nonexistent, and there are only a handful of non-commercial minivans left on the domestic market, but most perplexingly, most of his SUVs today lack off-road capability. It offers little (if any). The majority look like minivans in disguise, fitted with four conventional doors and bodywork, and are vaguely influenced by ancient utilitarian 4×4s that have little in common with modern variants. The reason behind this is, for some reason, Americans simply love the idea of ​​a car that seems capable off-road. In a direct correlation, the majority of SUVs don’t offer his AWD in lower trim levels because some buyers simply don’t recognize the need for it. Even when modern minivans can offer more ample interior space, these vehicles are often neglected, and one of his SUVs roaming the country’s roads at the very time of writing this article. takes precedence.

The fifth generation of Jeep Cherokee is still in production, but it looks like it used to. What was once a rugged, utilitarian off-roader for families has now turned into something akin to a tall hatchback. It’s not always possible to ride a trail, especially at a low ride height.

In short, the Jeep Cherokee seems ironic. The car that coined the term SUV showed the world that it did more than just carry simple people, and inspired other automakers to imitate its basic formula, but ended up being a twisted, paranoid It’s gone back to his four-door shape. A minivan with minimal off-road capabilities for those who don’t want to carry the stigma associated with owning a minivan. In other words, it’s still perfect for buyers wanting an SUV, but those buyers have certainly changed over the years.

Source: Jeep Federation, Hemmings, Hagerty, Car and Driver


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