The Jeep Cherokee Dakar concept showed off at the 2014 Easter Jeep Safari made a lot of online friends, even the Cherokee naysayers assenting that there's a monster Jeep underneath the Cherokee's skin if you're willing to go in and get it. But after reading Road & Track's write-up of what went into creating the Dakar, particularly its lift, you'll understand why you'll probably never see the components for it in the Jeep Performance Parts catalog.

The concept's press release mentions a "prototype Jeep Performance Parts lift kit, and additional suspension modifications." The short-story explanation is that the front struts on the standard Cherokee weren't engineered to accept any amount of lift, so the long story begins with the phrase, "an entirely new suspension." Head over to RT to read the details, and don't be afraid to ogle the Cherokee Dakar gallery and another awesome Jeep fancy that won't likely crawl over the hurdles imposed by production reality.


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  • 77 Comments
      Chris
      • 8 Months Ago
      What's the point of buying a Jeep if you can't lift it? It's the badge conscious yuppy posers who ruin everything for us enthusiasts. Jeeps are supposed to be small, light off road capapable, and rugged SUVs, not jacked up front-wheel- drive car based sedans. I wish they'd just bring back the XJ already. I'm sure I'll get voted down to oblivion, but that just goes to show how sedated we've become over the last 20 years.
        mic414
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Chris
        Profits from those yuppies will make your next Wrangles Rubicon even better. Don't you want your Wrangler even more capable? Maybe a diesel engine or something?
          Chris
          • 8 Months Ago
          @mic414
          carguy, What crossover isn't? There may be some good ones out there, but they're still one of the most uninteresting segments out there. Every Jeep should be capable of something more than just being transportation and hauling kids and groceries. There are plenty of other appliances out there for those folks.
          Chris
          • 8 Months Ago
          @mic414
          If the profits from those crossovers are so great then why were both the Patriot and Compass discontinued? I would think if they were such sales successes that helped keep Jeep afloat that Chrysler would have found a way to keep one or both around. I'd argue that it's the Wrangler that's kept the Jeep brand relevant, not crossover trucklets.
        Tyler
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Chris
        If Jeep wants to stay in business at all it has to produce models like this. It's not like the Wrangler is going anywhere.
          fuzzyfish6
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Tyler
          Chris, The old Cherokee hardly had more than 2 competitor, now there are over 40. Like it or not, the compact SUV/CUV segment are the replacement for minivans for soccer moms. These things has to drive well on pavement and return good mileage, a live axle wouldn't work in this application. But yes, a smaller Wrangler would be awesome.
          Chris
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Tyler
          Understandable, but why does every other vehicle in the Jeep lineup, with the exception of the Wrangler all independent suspension? That hurts, not helps, their off road capability, which is the very thing Jeeps have always been marketed as. That wasn't the case just a few short years ago.
          Chris
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Tyler
          fuzzy, The old Cherokee had plenty of competitors in its day. Some of these included the 4-Runner, Explorer, Nissan Pathfinder, Honda Passport, Isuzu Rodeo, S-10 Blazer and Jimmy, Mitsubishi Montero, etc.
        Larry Litmanen
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Chris
        This will shock you, people who have the money and are willing to spend it are the ones calling the shots.
          Chris
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Larry Litmanen
          And given the Jeep Wrangler's sales success and resale value, it appears a lot of those folks still want a vehicle with rugged capabilities and solid front and rear axles. That said, why not offer something with a little more in common with the Wrangler? I'm thinking something a little more practical for daily use, but with two solid axles that can still do some hardcore offloading and is easy to modify.
          Chris
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Larry Litmanen
          Snark, I see what you're doing there, but I must say that it'd still be better than yet another crossover. The market is overflowing with those right now while there aren't nearly enough fun recreational vehicles that companies such as Jeep and International were once known for.
          carguy1701
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Larry Litmanen
          How many Wrangler buyers actually take them off-road?
          Snark
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Larry Litmanen
          Yeah, Chris, maybe they could give it four doors and call it the Unlimited.
      John
      • 8 Months Ago
      It AIN"T NO JEEP! IT'S A BLOWN UP FIAT 500L!!!!
        Card13
        • 8 Months Ago
        @John
        Acceptable and accurate comments: It AIN"T NO JEEP! IT'S A BLOWN UP DODGE DART!!!! It AIN"T NO JEEP! IT'S A BLOWN UP CHRYSLER 200!!!! It AIN"T NO JEEP! IT'S A BLOWN UP ALFA ROMEO GIULIETTA !!!! If you're gonna slam it for being based on a car, at least call out one of the correct ones
      carguy1701
      • 8 Months Ago
      This shouldn't surprise anyone. Its not like it matters, though: in stock form a KL Cherokee Trailhawk is still more capable off-road than an XJ Cherokee.
        The Wasp
        • 8 Months Ago
        @carguy1701
        Have there been any 1-on-1 comparisons? I'd be curious to see a fair comparo. AB? Are you there???
        zack_falcon
        • 8 Months Ago
        @carguy1701
        Actually, no. From numerous Jeep guys on forums, the consensus is that while the KL can match the XJ in situations where its AWD technologies can help, on the harder trails that will require articulation, balance, dynamic ground clearance and the like, it falls far behind.
          rsholland
          • 8 Months Ago
          @zack_falcon
          @ Chris: I'm talking about ALL Cherokees, not just new Cherokees. Most of the original Cherokees were mall crawlers just like other SUVs. The few that survive today are used off road, but most other old Cherokee owners have moved on to newer vehicles.
          rsholland
          • 8 Months Ago
          @zack_falcon
          @ Chris: Trailhawk models will see off road duty.
          rsholland
          • 8 Months Ago
          @zack_falcon
          @ Chris: Every road test that I've read on the Cherokee Trailhawk has stated that it's a very capable off-roader. I am far less concerned as to whether its' roots are "car-based" than I am with results. I am also far more impressed with comments made by those who have actually driven the vehicle off road than those commenting from the bleachers.
          rsholland
          • 8 Months Ago
          @zack_falcon
          Situations in which 99.9% of Cherokee owners will never experience. Jeep made the right engineering decision here; cater to the vast majority of buyers rather than the tiny (but vocal) fringe minority.
          Chris
          • 8 Months Ago
          @zack_falcon
          rsholland, One of the primary reasons so few of these new Cherokees will ever go off road is because they're not designed for that.
          Chris
          • 8 Months Ago
          @zack_falcon
          rsholland, Most XJs may have been used as family haulers when new, but that's part of what made them special. You could take the old family Truckster and turn it into a real off-road beast for pretty cheap. It's almost as though they happened by accident. The same cannot be said for the car based cuvs.
        zack_falcon
        • 8 Months Ago
        @carguy1701
        Actually, no. The general consensus from Jeep owners is that while the KL's impressive AWD tech will help it match the XJ in 'loose' situations (mud, snow, etc), when it comes to the technical trails, the XJ's still can't be beat.
          rsholland
          • 8 Months Ago
          @zack_falcon
          That's why Wranglers exist.
          DjBabel
          • 8 Months Ago
          @zack_falcon
          Is it too crazy to think the 4 door Wrangler is a rather valid option for the XJ nostalgic crowd?
      Matthew James Sulliv
      • 8 Months Ago
      This "Jeep" is for ******* anyway. Who cares?
      Gugue
      • 8 Months Ago
      Oh no... Fiat is starting to "Fiatize" Jeep...
      stoosh95
      • 8 Months Ago
      looks like the old isuzu Vehicross
      icemilkcoffee
      • 8 Months Ago
      Not being able to accomodate a lift kit is one thing, but the fact that there is no alignment adjustment possible aside from toe, and you have to take the subframe off in order to change out the lower a-arm, means that this is an extremely poor design. A cheap, throw-away design basically.
        Paco
        • 8 Months Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        Seems most cars are cheap throw-away designs these days.
      mamamiaitsapizzapie
      • 8 Months Ago
      "...the front struts on the standard Cherokee weren't engineered to accept any amount of lift..." Granted, 99.9% of Cherokee customers will never take their vehicles on anything harsher than a gravel road, it seems ludicrous that Jeep tried to tout this as some kind of world class off-road machine.
        montoym
        • 8 Months Ago
        @mamamiaitsapizzapie
        In the Trailhawk spec, it does perfectly fine off-road, better than any of its competitors (considering most of the competitors don't offer an off-road specific version). You don't have to lift a vehicle for it to perform well off-road. A Trailhawk Cherokee will hold it's own just fine for the kind of off-roading its buyers will subject it to. The serious off-roaders are smart enough to know to buy a Wrangler and start from there. Choices are awesome.
        montoym
        • 8 Months Ago
        @mamamiaitsapizzapie
        In the Trailhawk spec, it does perfectly fine off-road, better than any of its competitors (considering most of the competitors don't offer an off-road specific version). You don't have to lift a vehicle for it to perform well off-road. A Trailhawk Cherokee will hold it's own just fine for the kind of off-roading its buyers will subject it to. The serious off-roaders are smart enough to know to buy a Wrangler and start from there. Choices are awesome.
      VDuB
      • 8 Months Ago
      Hill billy rice
      ebn.hahn
      • 8 Months Ago
      I will tell why!, because regardless of how much Chrysler like to PUMP up the Jeep as an Rugged SUV. In reality it is nothing more than a unibody Car based CUV based on an Italian passenger Car!!!!. and Offers no more offroad capabilities than a Ford Escape or a Hyndai Tuscon... Yeah You can make it look tuff, but chryselr knows the facts and that is why,.....
        Tom
        • 8 Months Ago
        @ebn.hahn
        Sure! I guarantee you can take a Ford Escape or a Hyundai Tuscon off-road and not have its frame bend when you have two wheels off the ground! (Note: Sarcasm heavy in above statement) in REALITY, it actually has off-road chops. It's not a Wrangler, but it's not an Escape, Tuscon, Rav, or any other CUV around. Just because the PLATFORM was originally a car PLATFORM does not mean the chasis, frame, suspension, drivetrain or anything else important is a car's. I would never own one because I think it's ugly - but I would not discard it as a vehicle for light to moderate off-roading. It's perfect for someone who wouldn't do something to scratch or dent their brand new $30k vehicle.
        The_Zachalope
        • 8 Months Ago
        @ebn.hahn
        "In reality it is nothing more than a unibody Car" So, just like the Cherokee has ALWAYS been?
          Ron
          • 8 Months Ago
          @The_Zachalope
          The xj was unibody, but it was a unibody designed for the xj, and to be an off road vehicle; not based on a car....
          threefortyduster
          • 8 Months Ago
          @The_Zachalope
          Be careful there, the XJ people don't like to hear that.
          Chris
          • 8 Months Ago
          @The_Zachalope
          None of us "XJ people" have any qualms with admitting our vehicles are unibody. In fact, it's pretty much common knowledge among enthusiasts.
          jssjeep23
          • 7 Months Ago
          @The_Zachalope
          It's a "Unit Frame". The body is welded to a full frame. Get it right, tard.
      Joel
      • 8 Months Ago
      IN other words, they don't offer a lift kit for the Fiat 500.
      NewTexian Brewery
      • 8 Months Ago
      Pick it up with a forklift and dump it off a cliff
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