There is a lot riding on the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee (pardon the pun). Last year, a mock-up of the model’s newest redesign was shown at various auto shows, and earlier this month a fully realized concept was unveiled at the New York Auto Show, and it’s about time, as the model is crucial to the success of Chrysler. The Jeep Grand Cherokee is one of the few Chrysler vehicles that has been consistently profitable in non-U.S. markets, and as representatives of the federal government and potential-investor Fiat looked on, they saw the proposed future of the company.
The 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee is all about a global reach and production efficiency. Chrysler has said that the new model has been designed from the start to easily accommodate either left- or right-hand drive, making it more viable in various markets. Also, the platform developed for the vehicle will begin to be integrated into other Chrysler models in the next two years, specifically the next redesign of the Dodge Durango, which will hit dealer showrooms with the next year and a half.
There’s a new engine under the hood as well. The Hemi V8 which was available in top end models will still be an option, but the main powerplant for the 2011 Grand Cherokee is Chrysler’s brand new Phoenix engine design. The variant of the Phoenix set for the Grand Cherokee is a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 280 horsepower and 260 lb-ft. No hard data concerning fuel economy has been released, but preliminary analysis says that the fuel efficiency of the Grand Cherokee with a Phoenix engine will be improved by as much as 15% over previous engines.
The other big change to the Grand Cherokee is in the interior. The third row seat has been removed and the trim of the interior has been improved. The idea is to market the Jeep model against luxury SUVs like the Lexus RX. SUVs like the RX are fairly popular around the globe, and if the 2011 Grand Cherokee can pick up some of that market share, it will most definitely help the beleagured Chrysler.
So, is the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee going to dig Chrysler out of its fiscal hole? Not likely, but the new emphasis on producing vehicles with a global approach will likely appease the federal government and acts as an overture to Fiat, who is considering investing in the company.