After accidental press leaks of photos of the new 2014 Jeep Cherokee hit the Web, Jeep felt compelled to release new publicity stills of the redesigned SUV to quell the rumor mill.

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The new Cherokee will be replacing the low-selling Liberty by reviving an old and beloved moniker from Jeep history.  Sadly, the design does not seem to match the lineage as the new 2014 Jeep Cherokee looks, frankly, like a Kia smashed into a Fiat and stumbled away with parts from both.

The front end has a strange Fiat-ish rendition of the Jeep radiator-style grille work with a sort of odd Kia-ripoff scoop underneath.  The headlights are some kind of dual mode thing with a squinty little slash of LED on top of a widely separated set of what appear to be glorified fog lamps.  But they can’t be since the fog lamps are down below, to either side of the Kia-esque kidney-shaped scoop.

From the side, what we can see of it from these stills, the Kia Xerox work continues with the now-ubiquitous SUV/crossover shape tapering towards the rear with an upside down boat shape for the greenhouse glass curving to remind us that a Sorento probably has a better warranty than this Cherokee will.

The now-outdated and wind-dragging luggage rack pokes up as a sort of afterthought, belying all of this rounded, air stream design that Jeep seems to have been trying for.

In every respect, the new 2014 Jeep Cherokee seems like a sort of desperate attempt to glean all that is “cool” from the SUV market and try to revitalize a dying nameplate in a segment that long ago left it behind.

Really, Jeep’s strong points have been serious offroaders (Rubicon) and luxury people movers that happen to be good offroad (Grand Cherokee).  The Liberty has been dying on the vine because, frankly, other automakers are just better at that mid-range segment and are much more competitive in both style and fit.

Much as I like the Jeep brand, this new entry just seems like desperation.

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An automotive enthusiast for most of his adult life, Aaron has worked in and around the industry in many ways. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP) and freelances as a writer and journalist around the Web and in print. You can find his portfolio at AaronOnAutos.com.

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