The Future of the Grand Cherokee
The Grand Cherokee has long been a staple of the Jeep brand. Punching above its own weight, the Grand Cherokee outclasses competitors like the Ford Edge, Chevrolet Blazer, and Nissan Murano with its unique blend of off-road capability, rear-drive layout, powerful engine options, and luxurious interior. With the upcoming of the Grand Cherokee, Jeep is going to capitalize on this reputation by introducing more luxury features and advanced technology.
Sources tell us to expect, among other things, larger touch screen options, a digital cockpit, massaging front seats, and full LED headlights. While the smaller Cherokee gained full LED headlights as standard equipment, the more expensive Grand Cherokee has only been offered with halogen lights as standard equipment with bi-xenon variants available on more expensive trim levels.
FCA has experience with autonomous technology through their partnership with Waymo, some of that technology should find its way into the Grand Cherokee. The last FCA 5-year plan indicated that the Grand Cherokee would gain Level 3 autonomous capability. At this level, the vehicle should be able to operate with limited driver input in certain conditions. While the Grand Cherokee isn’t going to be on the same level as Tesla’s Autopilot system or Cadillac’s Super Cruise, at least not at first, it’s nonetheless a big step for a brand that has built itself around its off-road reputation. We will cover that system in-depth once more information is available.
Electric technology will also make its way to the Grand Cherokee with both “regular” hybrid and plug-in hybrid configurations being available. Mild-hybrid technology is a certainty, as the eTorque technology introduced on the 2018 Wrangler and 2019 Ram 1500 proliferates the lineup. There aren’t many concrete details on the hybrid systems, but the plug-in hybrid Grand Cherokee may borrow some technology from the Pacifica and the upcoming Renegade and Compass PHEVs. Around thirty miles on a charge before reverting to gasoline power is a safe bet.
Powertrain configurations should kick off with a base 2.0L turbo 4-cylinder with eTorque technology–the same engine found in the latest Wrangler. From here, we’ve heard that the Grand Cherokee will be the first new FCA vehicle to launch with their next-generation inline-6 engine family. The inline-6 engine may replace the 5.7L Hemi in the lineup, and seems likely to be paired with the plug-in hybrid system in certain configurations. Further up the performance chain, the “base” SRT model will be renamed to join Trackhawk family. Details regarding the engine offered in the more affordable Trackhawk are not yet clear, but we’ve heard plans for the new 426 “Banshee” engine, which was expected to be found in the Ram Rebel TR and Dodge SRT cars have been scrapped, replaced with a high-output turbocharged inline-6 producing over 500 horsepower, possibly with electrification. That engine seems like a good fit for the Trackhawk, but we’ll know more later this year. Meanwhile, the current Trackhawk model will adopt a new designation to signify its supercharged V8 status and will receive updates to boost engine output.
Stylistically, we don’t expect the exterior to be a radical departure from the current Grand Cherokee’s design language, so fans of the current Grand Cherokee need not worry. We’ll know more about the interior once more spy shots are released, but from leaks we’ve seen, the dash will adopt a more flowing shape–no gimmicky “tacked on” touch screens to be found here.
The Grand Cherokee will also be offered in an extended, three-row version. It’s unclear whether this vehicle will wear the Grand Cherokee name, but it’s expected to share heavily with the standard two-row Grand Cherokee, borrowing much of its interior and exterior. This three-row variant will be released first with an expected reveal in the first half of next year and production starting later in 2020. The two-row version should follow shortly after. Stay tuned to AutoBison for more updates.
Ryan had an obsession with cars from a young age, reading NADA books and MotorTrend magazine as well as sketching cars in grade school. He has since moved on to creating renderings in Photoshop and writing about auto news. Ryan lives in Oklahoma.