Here is the new 2014 Jeep Cherokee in all its glory. The vehicle debuted today at the 2013 New York Auto Show and will go on sale in the third quarter of the year as the replacement for the Liberty.

Despite having adopted the car-based Compact U.S. Wide (CUSW) platform found in existing vehicles such as the Dodge Dart and Alfa Romeo Giulietta sold overseas, the new Cherokee is promised to be just as capable as its predecessors, while also being best-in-class in many areas.

Of course, the biggest gain from moving towards true crossover status is fuel economy, which Jeep says can reach as high as 31 mpg highway in the new Cherokee.

There will be four different variants to choose from--Cherokee Sport, Cherokee Latitude, Cherokee Limited and the ‘Trail Rated’ Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk--as well as two different engines, including one all-new unit. In addition, Jeep will offer a new ZF nine-speed automatic transmission across the range, allowing a lower first gear for quick takeoffs, combined with several tall overdrive gears for good highway mileage.

The base engine is the familiar 2.4-liter Tigershark four-cylinder, which makes 184 horsepower and 171 pound-feet and helps see the Cherokee return fuel economy 45 percent better than the old Liberty.

The second unit is a new 3.2-liter Pentastar V-6, which is essentially a downsized version of the existing 3.6-liter Pentastar. The smaller engine makes 271 horsepower and 239 pound-feet of torque in the Cherokee and allows it to tow up to 4,500 pounds.

The 2014 Cherokee comes with the choice of three 4x4 modes, though it also gets a rear-axle disconnect feature to help save fuel. The feature seamlessly switches between two- and four-wheel drive for full-time torque management and does not require input from the driver.

The three 4x4 modes include Active Drive I with a one-speed power transfer unit (PTU), Active Drive II with a two-speed PTU and low range, and  Active Drive Lock with a two-speed PTU, low range and locking rear differential. Jeep’s Selec-Terrain traction control system also features, offering up to five customized modes: Auto, Snow, Sport, Sand/Mud and Rock. Click here to watch a video of the vehicle's off-road prowess.

The all new Jeep Cherokee mid-size SUV sports a new front independent suspension with MacPherson struts and a new rear independent multi-link suspension. The front suspension provides 6.7 inches of travel while the rear suspension provides up to 7.8 inches of travel for better articulation.

2014 Jeep Cherokee

2014 Jeep Cherokee

Inside, soft-touch materials abound, giving the cabin a premium feel. Trim options include cloth and Nappa leather and the front seats feature power adjustment, heating and ventilation, and a memory function. At the rear, there are 60/40 split-fold seats to increase storage.

Highlights from the features list include a CommandView panoramic sunroof and Sky Slider roof, Chrysler’s 8.4-inch Uconnect media center with Uconnect Access via Mobile, a reconfigurable instrument cluster on top models, and parking assist.

Jeep says there are also more than 70 available safety and security features including 10 standard air bags, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, brake assist, blind spot and lane departing warning, and multiple other monitoring systems.

Pricing and EPA-rated fuel economy figures for the 2014 Jeep Cherokee will be announced closer to launch this fall.