CHELSEA, Michigan — The 2017 Jeep Cherokee compact SUV is set for a midcycle update next year, but will retain its polarizing — yet popular — exterior look.
The revised Cherokee is due to arrive at Jeep dealerships sometime in 2016.
"I think the overall styling, the overall shape is spot on," Jeep CEO Mike Manley told reporters during a recent press event at the automaker's proving grounds here.
"You will see an evolution" in Cherokee styling," Manley added. "Not a revolution."
Although he didn't provide specific details, the 2017 Cherokee is likely to receive restyled front and rear fascias, a freshened grille and upgrades in interior appointments.
Most automotive analysts and reporters questioned the Cherokee's design strategy when the redesigned Jeep debuted two years ago. The edgy, aerodynamic styling and the absence of round headlights were criticized as a risky departure from Jeep's traditional styling. But car shoppers embraced the new Cherokee.
So far this year, the Cherokee has been Jeep's No. 1-selling model, with just over 105,000 sales. The Jeep Wrangler is No. 2, with 3,000 fewer sales. Last year, the Jeep Grand Cherokee was the No. 1 seller. The Cherokee landed in 2nd place.
"I think Cherokee, given the hugely competitive nature of that segment, has done incredibly well for us," Manley said.
On another topic, Manley said the automaker continues to address problems that have plagued the nine-speed automatic transmission on some Cherokee models.
Owners have been told to return their vehicles to the dealer so the transmission-control software can be updated. Some owners have complained about hard shifts, the transmission failing to drop into the proper gear and other problems.
"We have made significant improvements in terms of Cherokee, the transmission and shifting," he said. "We are going to continue to drive improvements in quality wherever we can."
Edmunds says: Shoppers making long-range plans for a purchase or lease in this competitive segment can rest easy, knowing that the Jeep Cherokee will get some upgrades, but the brand is not going to mess with success when it comes to the overall look.