No, Jeep isn't reviving the Cherokee name here (it lives on as the world-market Liberty), but earlier this year, the company introduced a new engine for the Cherokee. I will admit, I hadn't seen it before -- I'm not always up on hard-core engine mods like this one -- but eagle-eye Assistant Web Producer Scott Evans spotted it, hiding out in the Chrysler booth at SEMA. While everyone else, including Richard Petty, was oohing and aahing the other Mopar goodies, Evans was smart enough to look in the nooks and crannies to see what else was there. (And if you ask Web Producer Melissa Spiering, she'll confirm that some of the coolest trucks at the show were in the corners, less obvious than some of the other vehicles on display.)
So when Scott asked if I'd seen the 4.7-liter in the Chrysler booth, I asked, "You mean the V-8? What's so special about that?" His answer, "No, the 4.7-liter inline-six." Even though the Liberty's 3.7-liter V-6 has been around for nearly 10 years now, many people, including me, are still quite fond of the I-6 it replaced, so news like this caught my attention.
The new engine is a stroker long-block, and will fit in the engine bay of any Cherokee that came with the 4.0-liter. There are also part numbers for the Grand Cherokee and Wrangler with the same engine. But for those who are looking for more power and torque from a six, but don't want the Liberty's 3.7-liter -- remember, the new model's engine has more horsepower and torque than the Cherokee -- this allows Jeep fans to stick with the Cherokee and have more power. The stroker puts out an estimated 265 horsepower and 290 pound-feet of torque, which is better than the stock Cherokee's 190 and 225, as well as the Liberty's 210 and 235. For anyone who is starting to think about that horrible decision to get rid of the trusty Jeep, there are other options. And who knows -- maybe now that this engine is part of Mopar's arsenal, it could find its way into vehicles as original equipment.