2016 Model-Year Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep Cars, Trucks, and Minivans
Though we sometimes sound certain, this page is generally not based on official statements and in any case any future product plans are subject to change.
Barracuda / Avenger / Alfa Romeo D-RWD Car
A new mid-sized rear-drive platform is being developed in Auburn Hills with embedded Fiat/Alfa Romeo engineers. This car will reportedly be on the “hard points” of the Compact US-Wide (CUSW) platform, but with a new rear wheel drive architecture; we believe it could be built on the same line as Dart or the next 200. Mules were reportedly being prepared in late 2013.
A new mid-sized Dodge Avenger, in rear wheel drive, would give Dodge cars a natural size range: Dart, Avenger, Challenger, Charger. The Barracuda name has, we believe, been rejected now and replaced by Avenger, because product planners and designers agree that the car will not be “retro themed” as Challenger is. While many liked the Barracuda name, they did not think it was appropriate on a modern-themed Dodge.
The car that was once to be called SRT Barracuda shows up on Chrysler’s long-term plans, and Sergio Marchionne said that the only way they could afford to do the planned Alfa mid-sized, rear-wheel-drive car was to do a Dodge at the same time.
And then there’s the Dart redesign.
Minivans and SUVs
Dodge Caravan changes completely for model-year 2015, becoming a crossover á la Pacifica but hopefully more popular. It will have a new, modern, AWD-capable architecture; a 3.2 liter Pentastar V6 is reputed to be the sole powerplant, with a nine-speed automatic as the sole automatic.
Chrysler Town & Country changes to the same new platform and architecture, but stays a conventional minivan.
Wagoneer (or “Grand” Wagoneer) debuts in model-year 2017 after five years of rumors; essentially a Dodge Durango with the Jeep suspension and traction control systems, it will start above the Durango and Grand Cherokee Summit in price. “Something to give wealthy Grand Cherokee buyers a bit more space and cachet.” (See the original Wagoneer.)
For 2016, we believe that either the Durango will be dropped, with Wagoneer taking its place; or, possibly, the name will replace Caravan on the new crossover. If Durango sales are strong, it’s also possible we will see three cars on the same basic chassis (Grand Cherokee, Durango, Wagoneer). See our news discussion...
A new Ram is planned for model-year 2016, according to the Four Year Plan. It could be based on the combined minivan/large car platform — a light vehicle that could be sold as a standard pickup in Europe, and as a “lifestyle vehicle” in the United States. Regardless, we believe this will be the “metric ton as measured in Europe” truck.
Large cars: 300C, Charger, Challenger
Chrysler 300C and Dodge Charger are both new for the 2016 model or calendar year (probably 2017 model year, honestly), completely re-engineered. The LA-series Challenger was an “in-between” step, but now the “L-cars” use a double-wishbone front suspension similar to that of the (loosely LX-based) Maserati Ghibli. The five-bar multi-link rear suspension carries over with some modifications, but essentially similar. Chrysler will have modified the suspension geometry, mounting, materials, and tuning, re-creating it to better suit their needs and cost constraints, but it should provide a much lighter ride than its heavy-feeling predecessors.
The powertrain is mainly carryover, with the Pentastar V6 and eight-speed ZF automatic.
There is still a possibility, increasingly small, that the 300C will move to front wheel drive, providing more interior space with the same exterior footprint, and differentiating Chrysler from Dodge and Alfa Romeo, both of which will have similar cars. The Chrysler would emphasize space, ride, and luxury, while the other various brands would emphasize performance. That would also allow the Charger to continue as America’s favored police car, and to maintain a wide gap from the “D-RWD” Avenger/Barracuda.
A bit of “no limits” speculation
While Iveco is part of CNH Industrial now, Fiat Industrial still owns a large part of the company, and there are strong ties between the company and Fiat Group Automobile, SpA. Iveco has expertise in larger commercial trucks, including the large and ready-for-upgrades Daily van; it also has a military division which sells to the Italian military.
On this side of the water, it’s likely that Jeep executives would love to get some of their vehicles in military hands, if only to reinforce the associations of Wrangler with the military MA/MB “jeeps and peeps.” Perhaps it’s time they look at Iveco’s line.
What if Chrysler and Iveco worked together to create a new generation of vehicles, which could accomplish both tasks — a basic framework for a WACAM military vehicle, a “Jeep Rescue” civilian version (akin to Hummer and G-Wagon), co-developed with an Iveco Daily replacement, just as Jeep once co-created a series of pickup trucks and the Wagoneer?
Here are two images from JackRatchett to explore the possibility. There is at least one new mystery vehicle showing up in the Jeep and Ram slots for 2016, in the last four year plan...
We don’t really find this scenario very likely for many reasons.