SUV brand Jeep is now fielding a single variant in Australia’s most popular SUV segment, slashing its Cherokee range to a single S-Limited trim.
After dropping the base, four-cylinder Sport for 2022, Jeep has axed the Limited and Trailhawk and left the S-Limited, priced at $56,950 before on-road costs following a $3500 price hike earlier this year.
We’ve contacted Jeep Australia to confirm why the Limited and Trailhawk have been axed, considering they’re still available in the US, and if there will be any further changes to the Cherokee for 2023.
The medium SUV segment was the second largest by volume in Australia last year, but there’s no imminent replacement for the slow-selling Cherokee.
It’s expected to be replaced by a new model with an available electric powertrain before 2025, likely to be positioned as a more mainstream alternative to the upcoming rugged Recon and luxurious Wagoneer S. Both of these are mid-sized electric SUVs.
The Trailhawk variant was one of the two unique selling points for the ageing Cherokee, being as it was a dedicated, off-road variant of a mid-sized unibody crossover when no other such models existed. It featured a two-speed transfer case and a locking rear differential.
The other unique selling point for the Cherokee is its V6 engine. While nameplates like the Ford Escape, Kia Sportage and Toyota RAV4 have historically offered V6s, the Cherokee is now the last model standing with such an engine in this segment.
Jeep has acknowledged the current KL Cherokee, which first entered production in 2013 and was last updated in 2018, is in need of replacement.
“That keeps me up at night and that product obviously is… getting smaller and smaller in volume, and we say that the current product is getting less and less competitive in the very competitive segment,” Jeep CEO Christian Meunier told CarExpert earlier this year, noting the mid-sized SUV segment is the largest in the world.
It’s already been phased out in Europe as Jeep trims its range of un-electrified models there.
That’s a far cry from the figures it posted earlier in its lifecycle.
In 2015, Jeep sold 6156 Cherokees, outselling the likes of the Ford Kuga, Holden Captiva 5 and Suzuki Grand Vitara, if not quite posing a threat to stalwarts like the Toyota RAV4.
Volume then fell massively to 2079 sales in 2016, with sales sliding gradually thereafter.
MORE: Everything Jeep Cherokee