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 would now launch domestically 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 selected purpose for the delay wasn’t cited, CarExpert understands it’s as a result of identical sorts of provide chain points affecting myriad automakers. Jeep has additionally cited provide chain points as one of many causes for recent price increases throughout its vary.
CarExpert has previously understood the two-row line-up will likely be provided in Night time 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 out there as a Trailhawk in Australia.
Jeep at the moment advertises its Grand Cherokee L vary with a base value 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 reasonably priced, although it’s unclear by how a lot.
We do understand how a lot shorter will probably be, nevertheless: at 4915mm lengthy, it’s 287mm shorter than the L.
The 266kW/530Nm 5.7-litre Hemi petrol V8 hasn’t been launched domestically, which suggests all Grand Cherokee fashions offered in Australia completely use the naturally aspirated 3.6-litre Pentastar petrol V6.
This produces 210kW of energy and 344Nm of torque. Jeep’s world CEO Christian Meunier says it could be “possible” for its new, extra highly effective inline sixes to be installed in the Grand Cherokee, however stopped wanting confirming such an addition.
Within the meantime, essentially the most highly effective Grand Cherokee that will likely be provided domestically 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 told CarExpert in May.
“We’ve received a full-time worker who’s simply engaged on that challenge, and feeding again the information. And so yeah, it’s taking place. And there’ll be a continued dedication to try this.”
Mr Flynn stated it was “extra about validation” than growing a bespoke tune for the native market.
“In all equity, while there’s a sure uniqueness concerning the setting right here, one of many huge ones is simply the sheer size of grime road-type environments plus the warmth. That’s very, essential for us,” stated Mr Flynn, noting the WL was developed throughout round 10 nations.
“So once they then pull the settings collectively after which set the automobile for us, we validate that that specification is both proper or improper 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 domestically. The 4xe is out there 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 moving 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 best way that they’ve constructed, the standard of the automobiles into an space that beforehand, probably, we weren’t there. In order that’s the path we’re going and also you’ll see extra of it,” Jeep Australia managing director Kevin Flynn advised CarExpert earlier this yr, with the corporate referring to itself as a “premium” model.
At present, each member of the native Jeep line-up now opens with a sportier-looking Night time 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 regardless that a major variety of massive 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 guardian Stellantis, accounted for round 57 per cent of WK2 Grand Cherokee gross sales over time, and its absence is keenly felt in part of the market the place diesels stay standard.
“On this section I’m advised diesel… it’s what we want. If we don’t have diesel, we will’t promote,” Jeep world CEO Christian Meunier advised CarExpert in September.
“I don’t consider 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 massive quantity was coming from Europe and the European producers had been actually, actually selling diesel.”
Mr Meunier stated he sees plug-in hybrids as a superb 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 items as Jeep continues the transition from the outdated WK2 sequence to the brand new WL.
The Grand Cherokee line now provides 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 reasonably priced entry level, whereas the arrival of the 4xe will give it a further powertrain – although it stays to be seen whether or not the brand new sequence will be capable to match its predecessor in gross sales.
In its finest yr, 2014, Jeep offered 16,582 Grand Cherokees. That was sufficient to place it forward of even the Toyota LandCruiser Prado (16,112).