I think the issue is that it's being branded as a cherokee...an iconic nameplate that seems to be being watered down. If it were to be given a new name or branded as a compass, I think the uproar would be lessened. It's that they're calling it a cherokee that's got people in a lather.
Not me, I don't have any special feeling in my crotch about the name.
I just think there's no reason to buy THIS station wagon vs. anyone else's station wagon. The whole market for little all-weather "look it's less uncool than a minivan but it's still basically a minivan" cars is so homogenized that there's not really any meaningful reason to buy one over any other.
It goes without saying that any car sold new today in America will have adequate power to get around, the days of 2 digit horsepower are gone. Any "suv" or tall wagon
or whatever you want to call it will have a pretty good interior compared to anything 20 years ago, they will all handle pretty well and be pretty quiet and will be available with power everything and some form of all wheel drive. They're all going to have about the same ground clearance, the same type of suspension, they're all designed to meet the lowest common denominator driver so there won't be any hubs to lock or extra levers to pull and they'll default to the most automatic mode of behavior/drivetrain configuration every time you start them so the most oblivious airhead in the world can climb in and drive without knowing or doing anything.
So why buy a Jeep Genericmobile vs. anyone's else' Genericmobile? I could argue the same way against any other model on the market too, if everything's great then nothing's great. We should just consolidate every car company into one car company so they don't have to spend money on advertising and then the cars will all be cheaper and everyone can afford one.
Differences are why brands matter.
Jeep sells Wranglers as fast as they can make them because it's the only vehicle on the market anything like that.
Jeep sells Grand Cherokees in part because of the Wrangler and other nostagia (for XJ/ZJ/WJ models) and because from what I can tell the WK2 still has some pretty meaningful off-pavement chops, though its lack of suspension travel (seen in videos) scares me & looks nothing
like the claimed 10+ inches per wheel.
Why would I buy the other products Jeep makes when I'm going to cross shop them with every other generic, not-made-for-real-off-road-travel AWD wagon in the world? What makes the new Cherokee any different from an MDX or an RDX or an Allroad or a Q3 or a Q5 or a Q7 or an X1 or X3 or X5 or X6 or Enclave or Encore or SRX or Equinox or Traverse or Journey or Edge or Escape or Explorer or Arcadia or Terrain or CRV or Pilot or Santa Fe or Tucson or EX or QX or Sorento or LR2 or LR4 Evoque or GX or LX or MKT or MKX or CX5 or CX9 or GL or GLK or Countryman or Outlander or Armada or Juke or Murano or Pathfinder or Rogue or Macan or Forester or Outback or Tribeca or XV or Vitara or Highlander or RAV4 or Venza or Tiguan or Touareg or XC60 or XC70 or XC90?
That's a lot of models competing for the same generic AWD tall wagon market. Might as well just assign each one a number, roll some d&d dice and buy whatever comes up.
Because at least it doesn't have an X or a number in its name?