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  • Replaces boxy Jeep Liberty
  • Makes huge fuel economy gains

Jeep has officially pulled the cover off its all-new 2014 Cherokee SUV. Set to replace the Liberty later this year, the new Cherokee includes vastly different styling. But it still offers many traditional Jeep cues.

So far, Jeep has only released exterior photos of the Cherokee - and they're all images of the SUV's front end. But they clearly show major changes compared to the Liberty. Such revisions include softer lines with more curves and thin, narrow front lights.

The Cherokee's side profile also looks very different than the Liberty's. While the Liberty uses a tall, square design, the Cherokee offers a more rounded look. That's similar to close rivals like the Ford Escape, Kia Sportage and Honda CR-V.

But the Cherokee does include some traditional Jeep traits. For example, the brand's distinctive grille - with seven vertical slots - is carried over. The Cherokee also uses Jeep's signature sculpted wheel arches. Shaped with straight lines rather than a circle like other models, they give the Cherokee a more rugged look.

Unfortunately for small SUV shoppers, Jeep has released few other details about the 2014 Cherokee. For example, we don't know what engines will be under its new hood. And while the Cherokee will likely retain its trademark unibody design, Jeep has not yet confirmed which platform the SUV will use.

While Jeep hasn't announced many details, the brand is promising big gains at the pump. According to Jeep, the latest Cherokee will see a 45 percent bump in gas mileage compared to its predecessor. Compared to the Liberty's 15 mpg city and 21 mpg highway, that means the Cherokee should return around 22 mpg city and a miserly 30 mpg in highway driving.

Jeep's decision to reuse the Cherokee name comes more than ten years after the original Cherokee was cancelled in favor of the Liberty, although the name Cherokee has been used outside North America for years. At the time, "Cherokee" was dropped because of its similarity with "Grand Cherokee," Jeep's popular larger SUV.

According to Jeep, the 2014 Cherokee will be in dealerships during the third quarter of 2013. We expect to learn many more details when the new Cherokee is shown at the 2013 NY Auto Show.

What it means to you: The 2014 Jeep Cherokee boasts entirely new styling - but Jeep hasn't yet announced what else the crossover is packing.

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Doug DeMuro has a wide range of automotive industry experience, from work at a Ferrari dealership to a manager for Porsche North America. A lifelong car enthusiast, Doug's eclectic vehicle purchases include a Porsche 911 Turbo, an E63 AMG wagon, an old Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz G-wagen.

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