Every Dodge, Jeep, Ram, and Chrysler Change for 2021
What’s the American part of Fiat Chrysler have for us, for 2021?
Some of it you already know, like a Jeep Wagoneer, three-row Grand Cherokee, and extra-hot Challenger SS. But some, which normal people are more likely to buy, have just been announced.
The new-generation Ram 1500 “DT” is getting a hefty number of new changes, one of the nicest being FCA’s first head-up display unit. It’s a full-color setup which can show up to five things at once, and is programmable via the usual up-to-12” center screen. It can show things like speed (and speed limits), gas mileage, etc.
- Ram 1500 Limited Longhorn gets a tenth anniversary edition with a Mountain Brown dipped interior color, unique interior trim, Berber carpet, and a metal pedal kit.
- Digital 9.2-inch-wide rear view mirror which can be switched back to being a traditional reflective mirror.
- Trailer Reverse Steering Control lets the driver enter a few measurements; then the camera tracks the trailer position. Rotate the dial left or right in the direction you want the trailer to go, and the system controls the steering wheel.
- Snow Plow Prep option including a 220-amp alternator and plow wiring harness.
- Power fold trailer mirrors as a standalone option or with 360-degree Surround View camera.
- Off-Road pages are now included with the 4×4 Off-Road Group, showing ride height, transfer case position, pitch and roll, and accessory gauges
- Trailer Light Check and Trailer Tire Pressure Monitoring joins the available Trailer Package. Wired Trailer Camera Prep Kit is available on all 2021 Ram 1500 models.
- Pedestrian Detection added to Advanced Safety Group (which includes adaptive cruise with stop-and-go, lane keeping, auto high beams, 360° camera, and automated parking).
- Collision warning with braking is now standard on Laramie, Rebel, Longhorn, Limited Longhorn, and Limited, and optional on Tradesman and Bighorn.
- The VM diesel (Ram 1500, Wrangler, Gladiator) has a new dual-loop EGR system and water-cooled turbo, for greater efficiency. The engine has a 14% torque increase and 8% horsepower bump.
The Ram 2500, which is due for a new generation, adds a Limited Night Edition option pack.
The Jeep Gladiator now has diesel engines optional for all levels; full-time four wheel drive optional on all levels; and an 80th Anniversary and Willys edition. The 80th has 18 inch wheels, special trim, an 8.4 inch touch screen, and Berber floor mats. The Willys gets a limited slip differential, rock rails, and 32-inch mud/terrain tires. The Gladiator Overland adds a “TrailCam” forward-facing off-road camera, while the Gladiator Sport has optional LED headlamps and fog lamps.
Jeep Wrangler buyers can choose powertrains more easily now. Sport, Sahara, and Rubicon buyers have the full range of powertrains: turbo-four automatic, 3.6 V6 manual, 3.6 eTorque automatic, diesel (four-door).
A major improvement for off-roading is the “TrailCam” forward-facing off-road camera; it comes with the 8.4-inch touchscreen and can be reached through the optional Off-road Pages. The Rubicon gets an Off-Road Plus setup that adjusts throttle, transmission shift points, and traction control for the trail.
The 80th Anniversary Edition has optional leather seats, a black hard top, and 18-inch wheels. The Islander adds beach-themed content with side steps and 17-inch wheels wrapped in 32-inch tires, and an optional white hard top.
Rev-matching was added to all Jeep Cherokee powertrains, which should make things smoother and increase longevity.
The Cherokee has become a much better deal with standard blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-path detection—a huge boon for backing out from between two huge SUVs with blackened windows. The Cherokee also has full-speed forward collision warning with braking, lane departure warning and assistance, and rain-sensing wipers. The rich assortment of standard safety features should help separate it more from the Compass.
Jeep has laid on the convenience features, too, rather than dropping prices. Latitude uyers now get express power front windows and heated outside mirrors with turn signals and puddle lamps. The Plus adds heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, remote start, and a windshield wiper deicer. Trailhawk buyers also get the heated seats and steering wheel, remote start, and windshield wiper deicer; Limited buyers get a standard dual-pane panoramic sunroof, auto high-beam headlamps, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, automated parking, and front/rear park assistance with rear stop.
A new Latitude LUX model has Nappa leather seats and a power lumbar adjuster on the heated front seats; options include a dual-pane panoramic sunroof, nine-speaker Alpine sound system, and 8.4-inch touchscreen radio. The LUX is the basis for the new 80th Anniversary Edition, with the dual-pane panoramic sunroof, 19-inch wheels, dual-zone automatic temperature control, remote start, 8.4-inch touchscreen radio, 7-inch gauge cluster display, Anodized Gun Metal interior accents, and Berber floor mats.
Again, Jeep is adding standard features rather than dropping prices. The base Compass is unchanged, but the Trailhawk and Limited have standard Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go, Blind-spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path detection, Full-speed Forward Collision Warning with Active Braking, rear park assist with stop, lane departure warning/keeping, auto high beams, and rain-sensing wipers. The Trailhawk also has an alarm.
The new 80th Anniversary Edition, based on the Latitude, adds 19-inch wheels, leather seats with Light Tungsten accent stitching, power driver seat with lumbar, remote start, 8.4-inch navigation, 7-inch gauge cluster display, AC outlet, black and anodized gunmetal interior accents, Berber floor mats, and an oak medallion key fob.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee 80th Anniversary Edition (based on Limited) includes leather seats, 18-inch wheels, forward collision warning and braking, automated parking, adaptive cruise (with stop and go ability), lane keeping, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.
The Laredo X has 8-4-inch navigation, remote start, power liftgate, a vinyl/suede interior, heated front seats, and heated steering wheel. A new package optional on Limited includes better audio and a dual-pane sunroof. The Laredo gets new wheels and Limited X has gloss black exterior trim.
The least popular Jeep in America, the Renegade has also gotten new standard safety and security features, some of which are quite unusual in its class—like blind-spot monitoring and rear cross path detection, forward collision warning with braking (missing from Trailhawk), and lane keeping.
Every model now comes with UConnect 4, with 7 or 8.4 inch screens. The Latitude and up have a 7-inch digital gauge setup and alarm. The Anniversary Edition is based on the Latitude, with 19-inch wheels, 8.4-inch navigation, black cloth seats, and Berber floor mats. A new Jeepster, based on the Sport, has a similar setup with a smaller screen, dual-pane sunroof, hood decal, embroidered seatbacks, and “Tiki Bob” seat tags.
Minivans and Vans
There is no Grand Caravan in the United States; the last “RT” style minivan was made in August. Canadians will get one, but it’s just a rebadged Chrysler Voyager, which is… well, read on.
First, we have the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica at last, which inexplicably has a new all wheel drive (AWD) setup (though it only recently got all wheel drive in the first place). That includes a new three-piece driveshaft and rear drive module, updated front and rear suspensions, brakes, wheel hubs and bearings, and steering knuckles. Perhaps AWD is what dropped Chrysler into the “Heaven help us” section of the J.D. Power survey, and this is the fix? Regardless, AWD is still only available for the gasoline minivans—no PHEVs.
Safety and technology upgrades for the Pacifica were fairly substantial, no doubt helped by creating the cheaper Voyager. Standard features include pedestrian protection (the automatic emergency braking now stops for people as well as other vehicles—new to Pacifica), forward collision warning, adaptive cruise with stop-and-go, lane warning and keeping, rain-sensing wipers, 18 and 20 inch run-flats, and automatic high beams. Now, if you want to pay for safety gear, you’ll have to get the Safety Sphere package: 360° camera, parallel and perpendicular semi-automated parking, and front parking assistance. The forward-camera-and-radar safety system, incidentally, was upgraded to a fifth-generation setup.
The Pacifica also got a new appearance (if you like the old style, you’ll have to take a Voyager instead). That includes the front fascia, grille, LED fog lamps, and LED rear tail-lamps, with a black Chrysler wing insert (except on PHEVs). There are also six new wheels, in 18 and 20 inch forms, and a new Fathom Blue paint.
Both safety and appearance will be changed a bit with the new LED headlamps. Power remains 287 hp, 262 lb-ft.
As for the Voyager — called the Grand Caravan in Canada — it continues, with a new black lower-grille texture. The SafetyTec group, which is optional, gets the Pacifica’s updated camera-and-radar setup, pedestrian automatic emergency braking, and full-speed forward collision warning with braking. Rather than Fathom Blue, the Voyager gets an Ocean Blue Metallic paint option.
The ProMaster gains standard Crosswind Assist, optional Blind-spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Path detection, optional Forward Collision Warning with braking, and ambient/courtesy lights. Buyers can also get a class-exclusive digital rearview mirror, ideal for those with cargo vans (especially with barriers between the front and rear). ProMaster Citys can get fog lamps while the Tradesman can get aluminum wheels.
300 / 300S / 300C
As it faces the end of the line, the 2021 Chrysler 300 lineup will be consolidated, losing the 300C model entirely; buyers can only get 300 Touring, 300 Touring L, or 300S. The 300 runs to 292 hp, the 300S runs to 300 hp unless buyers opt for the Hemi V8 (available on the 300S only).
As a consolation, the Touring L and S get front and rear park assist, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross path detection.
The 300S now comes with the old Red S Appearance Package—a Gloss Black front fascia appliqué, red insert on the wing badge, 20-inch Black Noise wheels, and such. Two new option packages for the L and S are the Comfort Group Package and Popular Equipment Package.
The Comfort Group Package seems similar to the old 300C; it includes auto-adjust-in-reverse driver’s mirrors, ventilated leather-trimmed seats, adaptive bi-xenon HID headlamps, door sill scuff pads, trunk mat, extended LED interior lighting, heated rear seats and steering wheel, power backlight sunshade, power tilt/telescoping steering column (300S only), full driver memory, and an illuminated rear storage armrest. The Popular package, meanwhile, adds a dual-pane panoramic sunroof, navigation with five years of traffic, nine speakers, 506-watt amplifier, and Surround Sound.
It’s a bit hard to figure out why the 300C name was dropped in favor of Touring L. Chrysler has done a 300C V6 before; it outpowered and outraced the original 300C.
The Challenger Super Stock is new; the Charger Hellcat Redeye (797 hp) has already been announced, including its quarter-mile time of 10.6 @ 129 mph, making it the quickest production Charger ever. The Charger Hellcat was boosted from 707 to 717 horsepower to match the Challenger. Both Hellcats have a new functional performance hood. New Hellcat Chargers are to arrive in dealerships in early 2021.
The Durango has already been announced, including the one-year-only Durango SRT Hellcat with 710 hp and 645 lb-ft, giving a 0-60 of 3.5 seconds and quarter-mile of 11.5 seconds. The top speed will be 180 mph. All Durangos, even the base models, have an updated exterior including LED low/high headlights; they also get a new, more driver-oriented cockpit and instrument panel. UConnect 5 is up to five times faster than UConnect 4; its largest touch-screen is 10.1 inches. There is also a new towing package, besting the class with 8,700 lb of towing capacity and boasting a top speed of 145 mph. New Durangos will start showing up in 2021 as well.
Still to be announced
Police cars, Ram 1500 Classic.
Clark Westfield grew up fixing up and driving past-their-prime American cars, including various GM and Mopar V8s. He has ghostwritten auto news for the last few years, lives in Farmingdale, New York, and can be reached at +1.516-531-4021.