Spotted for the First Time: the Upcoming Three-Row Jeep SUV
It’s no secret that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) CEO Mike Manley has wanted to finally have Jeep enter the three-row SUV segment. The brand’s plans appear to be taking shape as spy photographers caught the three-row Jeep prototype out for a test drive in Auburn Hills, Michigan. The prototype is not to be mistaken for the hotly-anticipated Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer. Manley, in an interview with Britain’s Auto Express, mentioned that the all-new three-row SUV will slot in the same SUV/crossover segment as the iconic Jeep Grand Cherokee although its direct competition will be models such as the Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander, and Chevrolet Traverse.
“Roughly 60 percent of that segment is three-row, so Grand Cherokee has really only played in 40 percent,” Manley told the publication. Jeep has been out of commission in the three-row segment since the brand discontinued the Commander model back in 2010. Although the new SUV will be positioned with the Grand Cherokee, it’ll carry a new nameplate — just like how the Gladiator was inspired by the Wrangler, but has its own moniker. Unlike the upcoming Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer duo that are rumored to ride on the existing Ram 1500 platform, there are no confirmations as to what platform the upcoming three-row SUV will ride on. Experts surmise that it’ll likely ride on an extended variation of the Grand Cherokee platform.
Judging from the spy photos the prototype appears to be based on the Grand Cherokee, but the exhaust has been rerouted to accommodate an external spare tire. The tire can be seen mounted in the middle of the model’s undercarriage, presumably to make more room for the third row of seats. Automotive experts compared the most recent spy shots with earlier shots of the upcoming redesigned Grand Cherokee and deduced that the three-row SUV will feature a similar styling at the front as its smaller counterpart. Besides the longer wheelbase, the three-row model will likely have a longer rear door and a larger storage compartment.
According to Jeep’s most recent product plan announced in 2018, the upcoming redesigned Grand Cherokee model — and the three-row SUV as well — will use the Alfa Romeo Stelvio platform and offer advanced self-driving technology. Another key thing? Electrification will play a big part as the brand looks to electrify its entire lineup, so a plug-in hybrid variant is expected as well. The brand’s plug-in hybrid technology, referred to as 4xe by Jeep, has already debuted on the Wrangler, Compass and Renegade models.
Both the redesigned Grand Cherokee and the unnamed three-row SUV are expected to arrive at the end of 2020, likely at the Los Angeles Auto Show, as 2021 production models. Production will be handled at the repurposed Mack Avenue Engine Complex in Detroit, Michigan. Additionally, Jeep will also partially rely on the nearby Jefferson North Assembly Plant for Grand Cherokee production. The Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer models are slated to debut in 2021 as 2022 models, rivaling the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator models and they’ll be produced at FCA’s existing Warren Truck Assembly plant north of Detroit.
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