When are the future Jeeps coming?
Our predicted timeline for new models, diesels, and SRT.
Five models populate Jeep showrooms these days—well, Jeep-Dodge-Chrysler-Fiat-SRT-Ram showrooms—but among them, only the Grand Cherokee and Wrangler are fresh. Deservedly, then, those two trucks have been runaway hits for Jeep, and make up about two-thirds of the brand’s sales.
Here’s what’s in the seven-slatted pipeline, with all timing coming directly from high-ranking sources at Jeep.
January 2013: Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel
A diesel option comes to the Grand Cherokee this winter, its debut scheduled for the Detroit auto show in January. The “EcoDiesel 3.0″ is an Italian-designed V-6, and will deliver 224 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. Assuming Jeep offers the diesel across several Grand Cherokee trim levels (and not just the range-topping Overland), it should be the least-expensive diesel vehicle with four-wheel drive in the U.S.
May 2013: New Jeep Liberty
Jeep’s upright, truckish Liberty is a relic from an older era, but it’s still a strong seller, and the company’s managers chalk that up in part to its genuine off-road look and ability. The replacement will launch in the second quarter of 2013 on a vaguely Fiat-related platform. There’s a small chance it’ll return to the Cherokee name. Either way, the new truck will see huge improvements in weight, fuel economy, and on-road handling, all helping to attract customers who’d ordinarily shop Toyota’s RAV4 and the Ford Edge. Jeep’s next-gen all-wheel-drive system should give the Liberty all the off-road capability customers demand. Brand CEO Mike Manley says there’s an “interesting business case” for a diesel engine in this truck.
2013: Mystery Wrangler Option
Next year, “we’ll give our customers the opportunity to do something very special with their Wrangler that they’ve never been able to do before,” a high-level Jeep executive told us. Based on the context of the discussion, we think it’ll be something along the lines of the JK-8 pickup-truck conversion kit that Jeep introduced last year. Two prime options are the Mighty FC and J-12 concepts, spectacular retro one-offs based on the Wrangler; both received hot receptions after bowing at the annual Moab Easter Safari event last year.
Early 2014: Single Replacement for the Jeep Compass and Patriot
After the Chrysler Sebring-cum-200, the Compass and the Patriot may be the biggest pariahs of the American auto industry. Even after a face lift fixed the Compass’s emetic snout, the two remain dull and slow, outclassed in every way by the competition. We’ll see a far-better successor in 2014, which could retain the Patriot name, riding on the new Compact-U.S.-Wide architecture introduced with the Dodge Dart.
Some Time in 2014: Subcompact B-Segment Jeep, Imported from Italy
Jeep will expand downward in its lineup, targeting baby crossovers like the Mini Countryman, the Nissan Juke, and a future Honda spun off from the Fit. An exec has told us that Jeep will get more playful with this vehicle than its other, stern-faced trucks, so that it’ll be very “youthful and fun,” but still will be “immediately recognizable” as a Jeep. There will be a Trail-Rated version, too, although this ain’t a full trip back to basics like the 1953 CJ pictured above.
2014? Next-Gen Jeep Commander or Grand Wagoneer
We don’t have a good feeling about this on-again, off-again product seeing the light of day. The Chrysler Group’s needs for a seven-passenger SUV are met by the Dodge Durango, and CEO Sergio Marchionne has said how displeased he is by overlapping products.
Where’s the SRT? And the Diesel?
Sorry, everyone, there’s no way to sugar coat the “no” here. Manley confirmed that no other Jeeps will go SRT: Sticker prices would be too high to make sense, and there aren’t enough shoppers interested in smaller performance SUVs. It’s a similar sob story on the diesel front. After the Grand Cherokee, the Liberty is the only other Jeep that’s in the running for a diesel engine. The EPA and state of California have set such high standards for diesel certification and emissions that the costs—for both Jeep and potential customers—don’t make sense.
-- Justin Berkowitz
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When the time comes to replace my wife's car, we will be looking for a three row, diesel powered crossover. Chrysler is so close to offering what we want. The Dodge Durango is one of the best three row crossovers on the market but doesn't offer a diesel. The Jeep Grand Cherokee will be one of the only diesel powered crossovers but only comes with two rows of seating. I was hoping that they would put a diesel engine in a three row version of the Grand Cherokee (call it whatever you want), but based on the above article, it doesn't seem as though it will happen. The article says that Sergio Marchionne doesn't want to overlap products. I understand that and think it's a great strategy. However, they are trying so hard to keep from overlapping, that they end up missing a key market segment, specifically, the one I am looking for. It's amazing to me that Mercedes is the only company to technically offer what I am looking for.
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