Minor Details: Jeep Cherokee KJ number plate

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PetrolBlog introduces 'Minor Details', a look at the small details that can make or break a car. First up is the Jeep Cherokee KJ number plate.

In the first of new series on PetrolBlog, may I introduce you to 'Minor Details'? I say "new series", but it'll probably either die on its feet or slope off into the corner through neglect. But either way, this is a look at the finer details that can make or break a car. The small points that can ruin an otherwise brilliant car. Or conversely, something that can save an otherwise awful car from a lifetime of hatred and ridicule.

A cracking piece of detail will be classed as a 'Minor Victory', whereas a hideous crime will go down as a 'Major Fail'.

I've got a growing list to bore you with, but if you've got some thoughts of your own, send them across.

The first car to feature is the Jeep Cherokee. Don't get me wrong, the original Cherokee XJ is a genuine object of desire, not falling too far behind the Defender and G-Wagen in the off-road lust stakes. But the replacement KJ model came with a stupid face that stripped away any form of desirability for me.

But that wasn't its biggest crime. Take a walk around to the rear of the car and you'll find that the number plate is mounted to the rear wheel cover. Never before has the number plate looked like such an afterthought. I can imagine how proud the chaps at Chrysler when they had finished the car, complete with the centrally-mounted rear wheel.

“Hey guys, we've really struck gold this time – high fives”, was the probable conversation that resulted from the unveiling.

Jeep Cherokee KJ

It was then left to the tea lady to point out that there was no room for the number plate. Allegedly.

After lots of scratching of heads, Chrysler clearly took the easy and cheapest way out and decided to stick the plate on the wheel cover. Inspired! Only it wasn't, as the result is a hideous rear end that winds me up each time I see it. It looks out of place and 'stuck on', which to all intents and purposes, it is. What's more, if the plate gets changed, its invariably put on crooked, heightening the problem.

For decades we've been happy with a slightly off-centre rear wheel and square number plate. If it's good enough for the Discovery, Freelander, Defender and G-Wagen, it's good enough for the Cherokee. So why change it?

A minor detail, I grant you. But that's the point of this blog feature. Still, at least it draws attention away from the gormless front-end.

But despite this, the Jeep Cherokee's rear number plate gets classed as a Major Fail.

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