The upcoming Jeep compact SUV would be the first in its segment to offer an AWD variant
Earlier this month, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) launched the Jeep Meridian in India, making it the first right-hand drive market to receive the all new SUV. This tells us the significance of the Indian market for FCA. The company also has a compact SUV in the pipeline which would be made specifically for developing markets like India.
Here, demand for compact SUVs is on the rise. Currently, it is Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos which are in the lead. Recently, we also saw Volkswagen and Skoda entering the segment with Taigun and Kushaq SUVs, respectively. Next, Maruti and Toyota will enter this lucrative segment.
New Jeep Compact SUV Spied
Apart from that, Jeep is also working on a compact SUV, based on a modified Renegade platform. It has now been spied for the first time, credit to cochespias. Interestingly, it is likely to become the first compact SUV in the segment, to get an AWD setup.
Last year, Ralph Gilles, Global Head of Jeep Design, admitted that the upcoming compact SUV could be offered with an AWD variant. He further went on to add they wouldn’t just make an SUV just for soft road conditions as it isn’t in the company’s tradition. The carmaker will look to engineer an off-road capable version of the upcoming SUV even if it means an increase in research and input costs.
Possible Technology To be Used
The interaction further revealed that instead of a traditional mechanical AWD system, Jeep could offer the new compact SUV with an electrified powertrain which provides an e-all-wheel drive system. A similar setup was introduced in Renegade 4xe and Compass 4xe last year in Europe.
Both plug-in hybrid (PHEV) SUVs draw their power from a 1.3-litre turbo petrol engine that powers the front wheels. An electric motor is mounted on the rear axles which when switched on provides AWD functionality with a cumulative power output of 190 bhp or 240 bhp depending on the variant.
Expected Powertrain & Underpinnings
Electrification could further help bring down emissions, although it is expected to increase input costs substantially. Earlier, FCA joined hands with Groupe PSA to form one of the largest automotive conglomerates in the world called Stellantis. With this partnership, Jeep gets access to Groupe PSA’s CMP (Common Modular Platform) platform that will underpin Citroen’s subcompact UV C3. However, offering AWD setup on this platform will be a challenge since this architecture is only meant for front-wheel-drive cars.
Jeep will also get access to Citroen’s highly localised 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine which will power C3 and could be used to power its own compact UV. This unit can generate an output of around 130 bhp. More details of its development are expected to be shared in the coming few months.
The compact crossover segment has a plethora of options but none that offer an AWD option. All UVs in this space are offered in an FWD configuration. The upcoming compact SUV from Jeep, also referred to as Baby Jeep, will be offered as a more premium alternative to the likes of Creta, Seltos, Taigun, Kushaq. It is likely to make its global debut later this year. Upon launch, it will sit below the Compass in the company line-up.