Jeep has started testing the next-generation Grand Cherokee, and it announced it will introduce the SUV before the end of 2020. The current-generation model is the oldest car in the company's lineup by a wide margin.
"I love the Grand Cherokee because it's survived so beautifully. It's getting on now, and we're about to replace it later this year," revealed Ralph Gilles, Fiat-Chrysler Automobile's head of design, in a live-streamed interview.
Gilles added he enjoyed helping create different variants of the Grand Cherokee, like the Hellcat-powered Trackhawk and the upmarket Overland, so it's reasonable to assume the next-generation model will again spawn several models planted all over the automotive spectrum. He didn't give away anything else about the SUV.
The prototypes Jeep is testing in and around Detroit are heavily camouflaged so it's difficult to tell how the Grand Cherokee has evolved. We can tell its overall proportions and dimensions haven't changed significantly, though it will spawn a three-row model that might wear a different name, and rumors claim it will ride on a brand-specific evolution of the Giorgio platform found under Alfa Romeo's Stelvio and Giulia. The Italian bones seemingly allowed engineers to carve out a more spacious interior by extending the Grand Cherokee's wheelbase.
An earlier leak shed light on how Jeep designed a Grand Cherokee for the 2020s. The entry-level model will offer a seven-inch digital instrument cluster, while upmarket trims will upsize to a 10.5-inch unit. The engine roster will include a 2.0-liter turbo four with eTorque mild hybrid technology, a new straight-six that will also find its way into the upcoming Wagoneer, a range-topping V8, and the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 already found in the Wrangler.
An eight-speed automatic transmission controlled by a dial instead of a shift lever will come standard regardless of how many cylinders are under the hood. Two- and four-wheel drive will again be available.
Jeep could unveil the next Grand Cherokee at the 2020 New York auto show in April, or at the Detroit auto show taking place in June. Auto shows are increasingly losing their appeal, however, so we wouldn't be surprised if the SUV breaks cover at a standalone event. Either way, it will reach showrooms in time for the 2021 model year.
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