The launch of the shorter, five-seat model of the brand new WL-series Jeep Grand Cherokee has been pushed into subsequent yr.
A spokesperson for Jeep Australia has confirmed it’s going to now launch regionally within the first quarter of 2023, as an alternative of on the finish of this yr as had beforehand been introduced.
Delays have additionally pushed the launch of the 4xe variant, Jeep Australia’s first plug-in hybrid providing, into the second quarter of 2023.
Whereas a particular motive for the delay wasn’t cited, CarExpert understands it’s because of the similar sorts of provide chain points affecting myriad automakers. Jeep has additionally cited provide chain points as one of many causes for latest worth will increase throughout its vary.
CarExpert has beforehand understood the two-row line-up can be provided in Evening Eagle, Restricted and Summit Reserve trims just like the longer L, with the 4xe solely anticipated to be provided within the two greater trims.
The shorter two-row physique can also be provided in a extra off-road-ready Trailhawk variant in North America. The L isn’t provided in Trailhawk guise wherever at current, however the earlier WK2-series Grand Cherokee was obtainable as a Trailhawk in Australia.
Jeep presently advertises its Grand Cherokee L vary with a base worth of $83,500 earlier than on-road prices, with the Restricted costing $89,500 and the Summit Reserve costing $116,700. Naturally, we anticipate the shorter two-row to be extra inexpensive, although it’s unclear by how a lot.
We do know the way a lot shorter it is going to be, nonetheless: at 4915mm lengthy, it’s 287mm shorter than the L.
The 266kW/530Nm 5.7-litre Hemi petrol V8 hasn’t been launched regionally, which suggests all Grand Cherokee fashions offered in Australia solely use the naturally aspirated 3.6-litre Pentastar petrol V6.
This produces 210kW of energy and 344Nm of torque. Jeep’s international CEO Christian Meunier says it could be “possible” for its new, extra highly effective inline sixes to be put in within the Grand Cherokee, however stopped wanting confirming such an addition.
Within the meantime, essentially the most highly effective Grand Cherokee that can be provided regionally would be the 4xe, which mates a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with an electrical motor and a 17kWh battery, for whole system outputs of 280kW and 637Nm.
The Wrangler vary can also be provided with a turbo 2.0-litre plug-in hybrid powertrain in different markets, however this hasn’t been engineered for right-hand drive.
CarExpert this week spied an instance of the two-row Grand Cherokee testing in Melbourne.
“The 2-row WL is already right here. And it’s already being examined and evaluated, all the information is being fed again,” Jeep Australia managing director Kevin Flynn informed CarExpert in Might.
“We’ve received a full-time worker who’s simply engaged on that mission, and feeding again the information. And so yeah, it’s occurring. And there’ll be a continued dedication to do this.”
Mr Flynn mentioned it was “extra about validation” than creating a bespoke tune for the native market.
“In all equity, while there’s a sure uniqueness in regards to the surroundings right here, one of many massive ones is simply the sheer size of grime road-type environments plus the warmth. That’s very, crucial for us,” mentioned Mr Flynn, noting the WL was developed throughout round 10 international locations.
“So after they then pull the settings collectively after which set the car for us, we validate that that specification is both proper or flawed or no matter, and feed that again.
“To be sincere with you: the automotive we received is spot on.”
The plug-in hybrid Grand Cherokee 4xe can also be being examined regionally. The 4xe is offered globally solely within the shorter, two-row physique and never the three-row L.
The instance photographed seems to be a base petrol Laredo right here for engineering and analysis functions, with its badges eliminated.
We don’t essentially anticipate the two-row WL vary to open with a Laredo as Jeep Australia has been shifting away from providing these entry-level trims seen within the North American market.
“I believe if you happen to look over, say the final three years, we’ve slowly moved the automobiles with their ranges of specification, the way in which that they’ve constructed, the standard of the automobiles into an space that beforehand, probably, we weren’t there. In order that’s the route we’re going and also you’ll see extra of it,” Jeep Australia managing director Kevin Flynn informed CarExpert earlier this yr, with the corporate referring to itself as a “premium” model.
Presently, each member of the native Jeep line-up now opens with a sportier-looking Evening Eagle trim as an alternative, together with the three-row Grand Cherokee L that launched earlier this yr.
As with the three-row L, don’t anticipate to see a diesel though a big variety of giant SUVs nonetheless supply an oiler, with the three.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 dying with the earlier WK2 sequence.
The defunct turbo-diesel V6, which is being phased out by company mum or dad Stellantis, accounted for round 57 per cent of WK2 Grand Cherokee gross sales through the years, and its absence is keenly felt in part of the market the place diesels stay well-liked.
“On this section I’m informed diesel… it’s what we want. If we don’t have diesel, we are able to’t promote,” Jeep international CEO Christian Meunier informed CarExpert in September.
“I don’t imagine these items. The market goes to evolve, proper? As a result of diesel goes to go away. Diesel goes to die.
“It’s going to die in Europe. And since the large quantity was coming from Europe and the European producers have been actually, actually selling diesel.”
Mr Meunier mentioned he sees plug-in hybrids as a very good bridge in markets like Australia till there’s infrastructure extra supportive of full electrical automobiles.
The corporate has confirmed its first EVs for Australia – the rugged Recon and extra luxurious Wagoneer S – however hasn’t confirmed launch timing. Each fashions received’t enter manufacturing till 2024.
Grand Cherokee gross sales are down 37.9 per cent year-to-date to 1584 models as Jeep continues the transition from the previous WK2 sequence to the brand new WL.
The Grand Cherokee line now gives a 3rd row of seating for the primary time, however the brand new WL lacks the turbo-diesel V6 and petrol V8 choices of the WK2, of which inventory has dried up.
Jeep ended manufacturing of the fourth-generation Grand earlier this yr, after permitting it to overlap with the brand new WL.
The introduction of the two-row mannequin will give the Grand Cherokee a extra inexpensive entry level, whereas the arrival of the 4xe will give it an extra powertrain – although it stays to be seen whether or not the brand new sequence will have the ability to match its predecessor in gross sales.
In its greatest yr, 2014, Jeep offered 16,582 Grand Cherokees. That was sufficient to place it forward of even the Toyota LandCruiser Prado (16,112).
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