By George Polgar
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – There is a certain Zen quality to the resurgence of the Jeep brand in the last few years.
After a quarter century of SUV-mania that peaked, crashed and burned and is now back on top, Jeep, the original active lifestyle vehicle brand, is now leading the SUV segment with global sales up 20 percent.
Still the ultimate American brand, being part of the Italian Fiat Chrysler family, with manufacturing operations in the US, Brazil, Italy and Asia has boosted Jeep’s worldwide appeal and availability.
From a product standpoint, the new Jeep models are as inspired and high quality as ever before. The mid-sized crossover Cherokee broke from the boxy Jeep profile with an aerodynamically slick exterior and the distinctive front grill customized with a rakish kink.
Underneath, even the top of the hill Trailhawk edition Cherokee shares a car platform with the Chrysler 200 and the Dodge Dart, which has been engineered into a serious off-road performer.
For daily driving the car chassis and 3.2-liter Pentastar V6 with 271 horsepower engine make the Cherokee an ideal choice in the $23,000 to $33,000 price range.