Coming soon: the 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokees

The next-generation 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokees are coming, and the hints and tips are slowly coming in as well.First, powertrains: Higher fuel economy will probably be a priority at the low end (hence the mild-hybrid), while class-leading or at least class-competitive power are important on the high end. Thus, we can expect  the Hellcat and one other big V8 to remain. The 392 V8 may continue, with or without modifications, or it may be replaced by the rumored 426 Hemi or a retuned Hellcat… or by a third big-V8 option. It would be interesting to see a 6.2 Hemi Hybrid. Could it top 500 horsepower? Would the “Hybrid” outweigh the “Hemi”  among hybrid-unfriendly buyers?

The 5.7 Hemi has been rumored to be leaving, on and off; whether it does or not may depend on how many GME T-6s are around when the Grand Cherokee launches. The 5.7, in our opinion, is most likely to be an option when the Grand Cherokee comes out of the gate, but may not last. The base engine is likely to remain the Pentastar V6, but it might be sold as a mild-hybrid, as it is on the Ram 1500. The diesel hasn’t been making much buzz and might stay disappeared, so to speak.

For a while there was talk of the Grand Cherokee moving to the Giorgio platform, but as far as we can tell, it’s going to be more of a JK3 than anything else. The platform and architecture have worked well so far, and radical changes for a good profit maker seem pointless if there’s no clear gain. The large cars may be inheriting some Giorgio engineering, but the Grand Cherokee seems to be continuing on its current path.

The most visible change will probably be the rebranding of the Durango into the Grand Cherokee family. Instead of a two-rows-of-seats Grand Cherokee and a three-rows-of-seats Dodge Durango, we would have just two lengths of Grand Cherokee; perhaps, in Chrysler tradition, it would be the  Grand Grand Cherokee, or Grander Cherokee, or Gran Grand Cherokee. In any case, the big question there is whether the Durango suspension changes would continue, or be dropped. The Durango is currently tuned a little differently to make it more on-road friendly; but Jeeps really need to be off-road-tuned. (The other question, really, is whether the longer version would have the clearances and body strength to match current Grand Cherokee standards.)

We should be finding out many more details in the next year, so stay tuned.

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