Jeep's long-awaited Grand Cherokee redesign has finally been spotted testing.
The new mid-size SUV is due out in late 2020 as a 2021 model, and it looks to be growing in size. The prototype is larger than the current Grand Cherokee, especially in the case of the wheelbase and rear overhang.
Styling appears to be following an evolutionary route, with Jeep's signature 7-slot grille up front and boxy wheel arches at the flanks. Moving around to the rear, an independent suspension setup is clearly visible, and piping for the exhaust looks to have been tucked tightly for maximizing the departure angle, which is important for the Grand Cherokee's off-road chops.
2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee spy shots - Image via S. Baldauf/SB-Medien
Underpinning the vehicle is a modified version of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' rear-wheel-drive platform that debuted in the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia, referred to internally as Giorgio. Former FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne confirmed the use of the Giorgio platform in 2018, stating at the time that it can support both 2- and 3-row SUVs.
While the Grand Cherokee will continue with two rows, Jeep is planning a 3-row SUV in the mid-size segment. This 3-row model will be related to the Grand Cherokee, though it isn't clear whether the two vehicles will have common badging and styling. The 3-row model is due about the same time as the new Grand Cherokee.
What is clear is that the two SUVs will share a plant, in this case a repurposed Mack Avenue Engine Complex in Detroit. Jeep will also use the nearby Jefferson North Assembly Plant for additional Grand Cherokee production.
Rendering of FCA Mack Avenue production plant for Jeep Grand Cherokee production
In the powertrain department, expect a V-6 to remain the base option. Mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid options are also planned, and hopefully we see a new generation of the Trackhawk packing a V-8. There will also be some level of self-driving capability, most likely a highway assist feature.
Rivals to the Grand Cherokee include the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Explorer, GMC Acadia, Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, and Volkswagen Atlas.
Note, while the Grand Cherokee and new 3-row model will compete in the mid-size segment, Jeep will target buyers flush with cash with a full-size offering reviving the Wagoneer nameplate. The new Wagoneer, plus an extra-plush Grand Wagoneer, will be based on the body-on-frame platform shared with the latest Ram full-size pickup trucks. The Wagoneer duo will be built at the underutilized Warren Truck Assembly plant just north of Detroit, starting sometime before 2022.