The first Jeep-branded product to be created from the ground up by the Fiat-Chrysler alliance will be launched at the New York motor show in March. It will replace the company’s smaller SUV, the Liberty, internationally.
In Europe, it will rival the Honda CR-V and Nissan X-Trail. This could be one of two future smaller Jeep offerings for India and will be positioned below the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee.
This new model is based on a version of Fiat’s ‘Compact Wide’ platform, which underpins the US-market Dodge Dart saloon and the Fiat Viaggio. The platform is capable of accommodating a four-wheel-drive system, V6 engines and diesels, all of which will be available in the new Jeep. The petrol V6, which is unlikely to make it to India, will be a 3.2-litre version of Chrysler’s 3.6-litre unit.
It will also be the first Fiat-Chrysler vehicle to get a new nine-speed automatic gearbox. This transmission is said by CEO Sergio Marchionne to be “the future of the front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive world of Chrysler”.
The new Jeep’s styling will use the fresh front end similar to that of the just-facelifted Grand Cherokee (pictured), with narrow headlights and a slimmer interpretation of Jeep’s traditional seven-bar grille.
The new Jeep will initially be built at Chrysler’s plant in Toledo, Ohio, USA from May 23. Production will begin in China next year as part of Fiat’s deal with Guangzhou Automotive.