Toledo, Ohio - These are the first official pictures of the comprehensively revised 2019 Jeep Cherokee, due to debut at the Detroit Motor Show on 16 January, less than five months after the release of the updated 2018 range.

The most striking change to be seen in the photos is that the distinctive ‘split’ headlights of the current Cherokee have been replaced by more conventional high mounted one-piece headlight clusters, bringing the front treatment more in line with the rest of the Jeep range, in particular the current Compass and Grand Cherokee.

And anoraks will note that the bars of the signature seven slated grille are shorter and chunkier (another nod to the Compass) and that the number plate has migrated from the rear bumper to a restyled tailgate.

There are actually two different Cherokees in the pictures: the silver example seems to be the standard version, while the red one is apparently the more off-road orientated Trailhawk derivative, to judge by the towhooks on the front bumper and seemingly more generous ride height.

No details have been released of what’s behind the “more athletic yet upscale design”, other than a promise of more efficient powertrain options. Our guess is that means downsized engines, more and closer transmission ratios and possibly the long-rumoured hybrid version. 

There’s a clue to that in the one and only interior shot, where the rev-counter is redlined just above 5500rpm, significantly lower than on the four or six-cylinder engines of the current Cherokee - but exactly the same as for the two-litre turbopetrol hybrid four recently introduced on the new Wrangler.

As soon as we know more, so will you.

IOL Motoring