FCA Could Announce Baby Jeep as Well as the Successor to the Jeep Patriot on June 1st
Another day, another piece of news about a new crossover. This time, Jeep takes its turn in the spotlight with plans to launch a new model that would sit below the Renegade, making it Jeep’s new entry-level offering. Word of this development comes from Jeep CEO Mike Manley, who admitted that the prospect of an even smaller car than the Renegade is an appealing proposition, especially in markets like Europe and Latin America.
Think the Jeep Renegade is Small? There Could be an Even Smaller Jeep in the Works
Jeep is an immensely lucrative brand these days, and Fiat Chrysler is wisely cashing in on the moneymaker. FCA is reportedly developing a “baby Jeep” that’s smaller than the current Renegade for use in global markets like China and Europe.
A report from Automotive News quotes Jeep boss Mike Manley as saying the brand is looking “very closely” at a small crossover. What’s more, the Jeep would already have a chassis to borrow – the Mini architecture currently underpinning the Fiat Panda and several other city cars sold across Europe. FCA’s Pomigliano assembly plant outside Naples, Italy has already been selected as the factory. That’s not too surprising given the Panda is currently built there.
However, according to FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne who spoke on the topic at the 2017 Geneva Auto Show, the Panda is scheduled to vacate the Pomigliano factory between 2019 and 2020. Marchionne said Pomigliano “can work on more complex cars than the Panda.” Perhaps that means the Jeep will be more adept at off-road than even the beefed-up Fiat Panda Cross.
Unfortunately, it seems development of this baby Jeep has hit roadblocks, according to reports from Automotive News Europe. Speculation suggests delays could be tied to developing a more capable off-roader from the Mini platform in order to retain Jeep’s Trail Rated status. That ties in with Marchionne’s statement.
Naturally, such a small crossover would flop here in the U.S., so Jeep will reserve the compact model for its international markets. That means the Reengaged will likely continue being America’s smallest Jeep product, which is totally fine.
Of course, Jeep is also building SUVs in the other direction. Jeep has all but debuted the Ram 1500 pickup-based Wagoneer and luxury-minded Grand Wagoneer. Both models were promised by Marchionne a few years back as Jeep’s way of competing with Ranger Rover and the other high-end SUVs flooding the market. Moreover, Jeep has its upcoming Grand Commander three-row SUV that will be completely dedicated to the Chinese automotive market.
What do you think? Should Jeep build a compact model below the Renegade and sell it everywhere but inside the U.S.? Let us know in the comments below.
2019 Jeep Renegade
The cute-ute Jeep Renegade is getting its first mid-cycle refresh. Spy photographers spotted a camouflaged Renegade winter testing in Europe along side the euro-spec Wrangler JL and some Alfa Romeo products. The changes are confined to the Renegade’s front and rear fascias, along with tweaks to the dashboard.
Changes to the drivetrain will likely be limited to a new nine-speed automatic transmission and updated Active Drive 4WD system, both courtesy of the updated 2019 Cherokee. Jeep could even include its new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, though at 270 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, is a big jump over the for the 2.4-liter Tigershark four-cylinder and its 180 horses and 175 pound-feet. The power would certainly be welcomed, though.
Jeep is expected to debut the updated Renegade sometime in 2018 ahead of the 2019 model year.
Continue reading for more on the refreshed Jeep Renegade.
A Detailed Look At The 2019 Jeep Cherokee’s 4WD Systems
The 2019 Jeep Cherokee includes some admirable updates. The front has been redesigned to not be so ugly, new LED headlights should perform better, a new lightweight tailgate gets hands-free opening, five new wheel designs change up the appearance, a dual-pane sunroof is available, and the new 2.0-liter turbo-four borrowed from the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL is under the reshaped aluminum hood. But Jeep didn’t stop its drivetrain updates with the new engine. The Cherokee’s base 4WD system has been updated with less internal friction and a reduction of 17 pounds.
Updated Jeep Cherokee Gets 2.0-liter Turbo from the Wrangler
The facelifted Jeep Chekoree made its public debut at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show with a brand-new front fascia that no longer looks like it’s sucking lemons. The best Jeep-related news in a year, because let’s face it, the pre-facelift Cherooke’s design sucked really bad. The rear end was also heavily revised to the point where it no longer looks like a Fiat. Interior updates are small, but it does feature a new center console and new tech. But by far the biggest change lies under the hood, where the Tigershark and Pentastar engines were joined by a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine.
Updated Jeep Cherokee Goes Softer In The Styling Department
The Jeep Cherokee is living proof that even the most iconic of SUVs aren’t immune to criticism when there’s reason to criticize. The current-generation Cherokee found that out first-hand when its debut in 2013 was greeted by an avalanche of criticism from an indignant public that couldn’t believe that Jeep became a little too playful with the model’s looks. That was five years ago. This year, Jeep is flipping the script on the facelifted 2019 Cherokee. Not only does it have three different engines to choose from, it also arrived at the Detroit Auto Show with a more refined look that, quite frankly, is much better than the model it’s replacing.
Hurray, the Jeep Cherokee No Longer Looks Like It’s Sucking Lemons!
When it replaced the Liberty in 2013, Jeep decided to bring back the Cherokee name, which it had discontinued in 2001 in the U.S. The first Jeep to ride on the FCA Compact Wide platform, the KL-generation Cherokee shared underpinnings with the Alfa Romeo Giulietta. But similarities with European cars didn’t stop here. Unlike its predecessors, the Cherokee dropped the traditional boxy design in favor of a more streamlined look. Some approved Jeep’s decision to step out of the box and offer a bolder design, but FCA also received a lot of heat for the scrunched up headlamps, the narrow grille, and the somewhat generic rear end. I’m not a big fan of it either, and I think it looks like it’s sucking on lemons. Well, Jeep just unveiled the mid-cycle facelift and I’m happy to see that the Cherokee’s face is no longer sour.
2019 Jeep Cherokee Coming to Detroit
Jeep will be introducing its updated 2019 Cherokee at the North American International Auto Show come January 16, 2018. The mid-size crossover receives a mild facelift with updated designs front and rear, along with more fuel-efficient powertrain options. Jeep didn’t go into detail about the powertrain changes or any other information, saying that news will become available when the 2019 Cherokee makes its appearance at the Detroit Auto Show.
Aesthetically, the 2019 Jeep Cherokee looks far more palatable, losing that ugly front end and odd headlight arrangement. The new front uses new one-piece headlights with the turn signals and daytime running lights integrated into the same housing. The fog lights now have a slightly larger scallop. The lower grille is now more streamlined. Despite the more handsome look, the hood and upper grille appear unchanged. It seems the Cherokee’s ugliness was all contained in those headlights.
Continue reading for more on the 2019 Cherokee.
Watch the 2018 Jeep Wrangler’s Powertop Top in Action
Jeeps have always been open-air vehicles, but with the proliferation of the hardtop option, getting a breeze inside has become a bit more challenging. Yeah, Jeep now has the revised three-piece Freedom Top option that’s easier to work, but it doesn’t compare to the absolute breeze of the new Sky One-Touch Powertop.
It’s basically a hard top with its center section cut open and sealed with a power-retractable canvas cover. A single button transforms the Wrangler Unlimited from weatherproof to completely open. The operation can happen up to 60 mph and takes about 18 seconds in both directions.
Better still, the side windows are now removable – something the standard Freedom Top doesn’t do. Simply twist two L-brackets at the top of each window, and the entire piece comes out. Both windows will store in the cargo area. With both the canvas top pulled back and the windows removed, the Sky top offers just about as much open-air freedom as a bare Wrangler. The rear glass is the only remaining hindrance to that. Remove the aluminum doors, drop the windshield, and boom – the Wrangler Unlimited is about as open as a typical owner would ever want. Jeep does say the Sky top isn’t designed to be removed, so those selecting that factory option are married to that choice.
Jeep hasn’t announced the price for the Sky One-Touch Powertop, but it will be an option on the Sahara and four-door Rubicon models.
Watch the 2018 Jeep Wrangler’s Freedom Top in Action
Jeep introduced the three-piece Freedom Top with the then-new 2007 Wrangler JK. It proved to be an instant hit thanks to its combination of security and weatherproof coverage with removable panels over the front seats. Now with the introduction of the all-new 2018 Wrangler JL, Jeep has reworked the Freedom Top to make it even easier and quicker to remove the panels.
First, jeep made the panels lighter. They weren’t overly heavy to begin with, but every ounce counts when lifting car parts overhead, espeaiclly in the rain as we’ve personally discovered. What’s more, the hand screws that secured the Freedom panels to the B-pillar horizontal bar are gone. Now the top just uses six L-brackets and the two main latches at the windshield header. No tools are required and forearms remain unsure. From there, the panels are easily lifted off and can be stored in the cargo area. Mopar and several aftermarket companies offer storage bags and even bracketry that secure the panels when stored.
And for those wanting the full open-air experience, the entire Freedom Top is still removable just like before. Its removal is still best done with at least two people since it’s rather bulky.
The 2018 Jeep Wrangler’s Three Infotainment Systems
Perhaps the most obvious improvement to the all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL is its new infotainment systems. Gone is the old and outdated radio and optional Uconnect 420N system found in the outgoing Wrangler JK. Now, the JL comes with three systems – all of which are far better and more user-friendly.
Regardless of the head unit, the Wrangler comes with eight speakers. An optional nine-speaker Alpine system with a subwoofer is available on the Sahara and Rubicon trims. The Wrangler Unlimited with the Alpine system now has its subwoofer located in the side panel of the cargo area, freeing up the floor space. The two-door Wrangler still has its sub in the floor. No worries, though, it’s weatherproof and has a strong metal grille protecting it from harm.
Continue reading for more on the Wrangler’s infotainment systems.
The 2018 Jeep Wrangler Come With its Own Tool Kit
The Jeep brand’s foundation is based on utility and preparedness, so it comes as no surprise that the 2018 Wrangler JL comes with its own toolkit. The kit comes with a socket wrench and the drivers needed to remove the doors and fold the windshield – two very important aspects of Wrangler ownership.
The toolkit trend started a few years ago with the Wrangler JK, but Jeep is keeping the idea alive. The kit comes in a snazzy nylon pouch with a Velcro latch. Inside are elastic bands that hold the tools in place. The kit includes a min socket, a T40 and T50 Torx bits and an M15 socket. The T40 is used for the various parts of the soft top, while the T50’s main job is removing the bolts holding the door hinges in place. The T50 is also used to remove the track system of the Sunrider soft top.
Folding the windshield requires removing the windshield wipers. That takes the M15 socket. Simply pop off the caps at the wiper hubs and remove the nut. Use the T40 to remove the four bolts holding the windshield header bar to the Sports Bar support and boom – the windshield easily folds down. Two more T40 bolts on the windshields two hinges will have the entire windshield assembly removed from the Jeep.
Best of all, the Wrangler offers a custom-fit storage holder for all this hardware. Lift up the cargo floor, and holes are pre-made and labeled in the plastic tray found underneath.
Jeep also includes a handy instruction guide with photos and labels. The instructions are on thick, laminated paper that should last a while, especially when kept in the clear plastic pocket inside the took kit pouch.
Jeep Could Put the Wrangler JL’s 2.0-liter in the new Cherokee
The refreshed 2019 Jeep Cherokee is going to look different from its predecessor. That’s good because the current Cherokee is a sight for sore eyes. Mercifully, Jeep is doing away with the horrendous headlights setup of the current model, opting instead to go with a more conventional design that should be more pleasing to look at. But the headlights aren’t the only things changing with the new model as reports show that the Cherokee will also receive a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that we saw in the next-generation Jeep Wrangler when it debuted at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show.
The Jeep Wrangler JL to go Hybrid in 2020
Amid the excitement at Jeep’s debut of its all-new 2018 Wrangler, Jeep boss Mike Manley announced the SUV will come with a plug-in hybrid powertrain in 2020. That’s huge news for the Wrangler – both because of the departure from rugged simplicity and the expected fuel economy improvements possible with PHEV powertrains. This could make the Wrangler actually economical to drive.
Manley and the Jeep team have been tight-lipped about details, so there’s no official estimated fuel economy numbers, price, or even what engine the hybrid components would be paired with. However, one possibility is the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and plug-in equipment used in the Chrysler Pacifica minivan. Considering how FCA loves sharing components across its brands, this is a legitimate rumor. The Pacifica Hybrid boasts an impressive 84 MPGe combined fuel economy despite its 4,900-pound curb weight. The 2018 Wrangler could see even higher MPGe figures since it weighs several hundred pounds less. Jeep will likely work hard to eliminate parasitic losses in the 4WD drivetrain, as well.
Packaging of the hybrid battery pack will be the biggest challenge though. The Wrangler has very little extra space, so a smaller battery might be necessary. Jeep might have to constrict the PHEV model to the four-door Unlimited for this reason. Hopefully not, since a PHEV two-door Wrangler could achieve even better efficiency.
For those not wanting a plug-in hybrid Wrangler but like the idea of good fuel economy, Jeep will be launching the 2019 Wrangler Unlimited with the long-awaited 3.0-liter, EcoDiesel V-6. The revised engine now boasts 260 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque and is expected to get 30 mpg highway.