The fourth-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee was introduced over a decade ago at the 2009 New York Auto Show. While the model doesn’t feel quite that old, it’s about to get a significant redesign.
Recently spotted undergoing testing, the 2021 Grand Cherokee is heavily disguised but appears to have a sweptback grille which is mounted above a wide lower air intake.
Much the design is covered by bulky padding, but we can see a flatter roof and a longer wheelbase which should create a more accommodating interior. Other notable highlights include an angular rear window and a slightly longer rear overhang.
Little is known about the model, but reports have suggested it could ride on a modified version of Alfa Romeo’s Giorgio platform. That remains unconfirmed, but the photos clearly show an independent rear suspension.
Engine options are also unconfirmed, but Jeep has already said there will be a plug-in hybrid variant. The company also revealed plants that build the next-generation Grand Cherokee will have the “flexibility to build fully battery-electric models in the future.” That being said, FCA’s latest five year plan didn’t indicate a Grand Cherokee EV was in the works.
The entry-level engine is expected to an updated version of the company’s familiar 3.6-liter Pentastar V6. There’s no word on performance specifications, but the current engine develops 295 hp (220 kW / 299 PS) and 260 lb-ft (352 Nm) of torque.
There could also be a new turbocharged inline-six that features mild-hybrid technology. Less is known about this particular mill, but it’s rumored to be more fuel efficient than the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 while also delivering similar performance specs. If that’s the case, we can expect an output of roughly 360 hp (268 kW / 365 PS) and 390 lb-ft (520 Nm) of torque.
Regardless of what’s under the hood, Jeep has already confirmed the next Grand Cherokee will have connected technologies and a Level 3 semi-autonomous driving system.
The redesigned model will continue to be built at the Jefferson North assembly plant, in Detroit, thanks to a $900 (£707 / €794) million investment that was announced earlier this year. The model will also be built at a new facility on the site of the former Mack Avenue Engine Complex in Detroit. The latter plant will also build a new three-row Jeep model that will be closely related to the Grand Cherokee.
The three-row model is slated to go into production in late 2020, while the Grand Cherokee will follow shortly thereafter in the first half of 2021.