How great will the changes be? Great enough for Jeep engineers to keep the front and rear of the SUV wrapped with more than just some oddly positioned black tape. The front fascia is expected to morph in the direction of the rest of the lineup with single-unit headlights, so the all-new Compass and the current Grand Cherokee offer good clues to the styling direction. We’re expecting to see bigger, chiseled headlights placed on the front, more than the top of the front fenders in addition to a remade grille and bumper. The net effect of the changes might make the Cherokee look like an all-new model, as several spy photos have suggested.
Despite the bulky looks of the black “backpack” covering the rear hatch in these reader-submitted photos, don’t expect extra inches of wheelbase length or a third row of seats — the Cherokee will likely stick to its current dimensions and leave the bigger segments to other Jeep models.
When it comes to engines, the 2018 model could debut a new turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine good for around 300 hp that will also power the all-new 2018 Wrangler, in place of or in addition to the 2.4-liter four-cylinder currently found underhood. This engine, dubbed “Hurricane,” is believed to be receiving final calibration in 2018 Wrangler mules and is expected to be paired with a new eight-speed transmission, as well as a six-speed manual.
As for the updated Cherokee, we expect to see it in the metal late this year or early next year as a 2018 model.