Illustration by Radovan VaricakCar and Driver
- Jeep is preparing for the next-generation Grand Cherokee that's set to arrive sometime this year.
- It will use a version of the Alfa Romeo Giorgio platform found underneath the Giulia and Stelvio.
- Expect four-cylinder, V-6, V-8, and hybrid powertrains, and possibly another Hellcat-powered Trackhawk model.
This story originally appeared in the May 2020 issue of Car and Driver, which was produced in February and early March. The information was gathered before the auto industry began feeling major effects of the coronavirus pandemic. As many automakers are now delaying or pausing development programs, the debut and on-sale dates reported here may change.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee doesn't really need to be replaced. This luxury-SUV stalwart is as handsome and pleasant a vehicle to drive as anything in FCA's lineup. But this generation came out in 2010; that's an eternity in the modern SUV world. The current version is so old that its Mercedes-Benz-based underpinnings date back to the DaimlerChrysler days. Still, Jeep managed to sell more than 242,000 of them in the U.S. in 2019. That's not just the best year of the WG2 generation's nine-year run, it's the best annual sales for the nameplate since 2000.
But change must come to all things, even the good ones. And so, late this year, Jeep will launch an entirely new Grand Cherokee. It likely won't make it into buyers' hands until early next year. What those new owners will get is a Jeep based on a version of the Alfa Romeo Giorgio platform found under the Giulia sedan and Stelvio SUV. The Grand Cherokee will be significantly longer than the trim little Stelvio, though. Not only will the Jeep's wheelbase surpass the Alfa's 110.9 inches, we expect it to be longer than the current Grand Cherokee's 114.7 inches. So it's a good bet that the new ute will be roomier than the outgoing model.
It will launch as a two-row SUV like all previous Grand Cherokees; sometime down the line, Jeep will offer it with a third row as well. A three-row Wagoneer is also planned, but that vehicle will be much larger and use body-on-frame construction, so there shouldn't be much overlap between them.
We anticipate a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four, likely with hybridization, to become the Jeep's base engine. Surely we'll also see a Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6 with eTorque assist in the engine bay. Later, the brand will introduce a plug-in hybrid, too. Might the Grand Cherokee also get the diesel offered in the Wrangler and Ram 1500? Quite possibly. Could it also host a Hemi, maybe even a Hellcat like the Trackhawk does? We don't see FCA walking away from its Hellcat-everything strategy anytime soon.
Like the current model, the new Grand Cherokee will be offered as rear-, all-, and four-wheel-drive versions, and because this is Jeep we're talking about, a Trailhawk off-road-capable edition is certain to be in the mix. Since the vehicle will still have "Grand" in its name, the interior details should be a step above those of your average Jeep. And because such things are considered progress, digital screens will replace the analog gauges and a rotary knob will take the place of a conventional shifter.
The outgoing Grand Cherokee owes its enduring appeal to the substantive engineering beneath the leather and behind the screens. Here's hoping that substance carries through in this wholesale redesign of a market favorite on a different architecture.