It was reported today (Oct. 22) that trucks loaded with brand new 2014 Jeep Cherokees have been seen leaving the Toledo factory this week - on the way to dealers, at last.
As of this writing, Jeep has not commented on these reports.
The replacement for the Jeep Liberty has been in production for some time, but release of vehicles to dealers has been delayed due to reported software problems with the integration of the brand new front- wheel drive power plant (there are two), its new segment-exclusive nine-speed automatic transmission and the innovative disconnecting four-wheel drive systems (there are three variants) not being exactly perfect.
As one would expect, this kind of innovation plus new or significant reengineering to these levels of complexity presented serious challenges to the Jeep organization and getting it right - the first time - became their mantra.
With these reported shipments, we are assuming it means that this software problem has been resolved and vehicles being produced are now meeting the Jeep quality standard that, we have been told, was set very high for this vehicle.
We have been fortunate enough to drive the new 2014 Jeep Cherokee in the last month - across all of the trim levels and both engines - on the highway, in the city, in the hills, on two lane rural roads and twice on off road courses that provided stiff tests of the Cherokee's Jeep DNA.
There, the new 2014 Jeep Cherokee was voted by the 41 auto journalists attending , as the 2013 Compact Sport Utility Vehicle of Texas following two days of intense driving at Knibbe Ranch.
Our opinion, and apparently also that of the TAWA journalists driving, is that this new Jeep Cherokee is the 'real deal' and has all of the DNA necessary to make it a true Jeep.
It is reported that Jeep has built inventory to ship in excess of 20,000 units of the new Jeep Cherokee that should begin arriving in dealerships in the next two weeks.
We will be publishing a more complete 'first drive' report on the Jeep Cherokee from our multiple test drives in the last month later this week .
Sources: Automotive News, The Detroit Bureau, Edmunds