Following the immense success of its compact Renegade and Compass models across the world, FCA-owned Jeep is looking at affordable end of the SUV spectrum that is projected to have a very promising future. The premium SUV brand is working on a sub-Renegade SUV which is most likely to measure under 4 metres.
Such an SUV will open up mass market segment for Jeep in emerging countries and without any doubt, India would be one of the primary markets. Talking to Business Standard, FCA India’s managing director Kevin Flynn stated that the mini SUV will be launched in the country in 2020.
This timeline suggests that the vehicle must be already in advanced stages of development. So far, FCA has managed to keep the prototypes under the radar. Perhaps, the vehicle is being tested using the slightly bigger Renegade body as a decoy. There are no details about the vehicle’s specifications but it is most likely to be based on the shortened version of Renegade’s underpinning.
The India-spec Jeep compact SUV is likely to employ an improved version of the popular 1.3-litre MultiJet diesel engine to take advantage of the sub-4m excise duty benefits. The motor would also give Jeep excellent economies of scale in India considering that it is being used in several cars in the domestic market.
As far as petrol engine is concerned, FCA’s 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine is the likely candidate. The bigger 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol unit could also be in the offing.
Like the Jeep Compass, FCA’s Ranjangaon plant is expected to emerge as the home base of RHD version of the new Jeep mini SUV. In India, the vehicle will be pitted against the likes of Maruti Vitara Brezza, Tata Nexon, Ford EcoSport and Hyundai’s upcoming Carlino production version.
Staying true to Jeep’s brand values, the new car will have a premium appeal despite its compact size, and will have considerable off-road capabilities.