2012 Jeep Liberty ArcticEnlarge Photo
The replacement for the aging Jeep Liberty will likely be the first all-new Jeep model launched under Fiat’s ownership of the storied brand, and word is that the Cherokee nameplate may be revived for the new SUV.
As Autocar reports, the model that replaces the Liberty will be built on a version of Fiat’s Compact Wide Platform known as Compact US Wide. Though currently used beneath the front-drive Dodge Dart, the Compact US platform can also be configured to accommodate four-wheel drive systems.
The new Jeep model will reportedly use a four-wheel drive system biased towards front-wheel drive instead of rear-wheel drive. Regardless, the new Jeep should still deliver the off-road goods that buyers have come to expect from the brand.
Power for U.S. versions is expected to come from a 3.2-liter V-6, mated to a nine-speed (yes, nine-speed) automatic transmission. Diesel versions will be offered in Europe, but probably not here since the perception is still that U.S. buyers don’t want diesels.
We hope that Jeep does decide to resurrect the Cherokee nameplate from the dusty bowels of its historical archives, assuming that the new model can live up to the off-road potential of the last Cherokee, of course. It would be oddly fitting, since the Jeep Liberty retired the previous Jeep Cherokee after the 2001 model year.