Car & Truck News has done it again, coming up with an artist's rendering of the 2001 Cherokee. Here's what they have to say about the next generation Cherokee:
Jeep® engineer's have done a masterful job of camouflaging the test mules. Almost every inch of the KJ's body is covered with thick black cloth. To further hide the bodies profile, the covering has been extensively padded. The only thing the spy shot told me is that the KJ does not have a flat (Wrangler-like) windshield.
A few months back I reported my opinion that the KJ might be a production version of the Dakar. While that turned out to not be true, I was half right. Dakar was definitely the starting point for KJ. The new Cherokee incorporates Dakar's tall passenger compartment and Wrangler-like styling.
[Our source] reports that KJ is also quite a bit heavier then the vehicle it replaces, weighing in at around 4000 lb's in 4x4 trim (the current model weigh just under 3400lbs). The compact SUV is also taller then the XJ, standing almost 6 feet (71 inches vs 64 for a XJ) . It also has a relatively high step in at approximately 23 inches, two inches higher then a comparably equipped XJ. The weird thing about that is the fact that KJ has less ground clearance at the front differential then a XJ? DJ reports that the KJ's front differential is approximately 7.5 inches of the ground vs 8.4 inches for the current model.
The article also goes on to say that it appears that the rear storage space is a bit smaller than the current-generation Cherokee. Finally, they report that we should expect to see the new Cherokee introduced early next year with availability beginning in September. Be sure to check out the full article for the rendering and the rest of the details.