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 the United States and Italy by Chrysler, Alfa Romeo, and Maserati engineers, led by Ferrari executives. This car will reportedly share some of the “hard points” of the Compact US-Wide (CUSW) platform, but with a rear wheel drive architecture; there is a possibility that the American version could be built on the same line as Dart or 200. Mules were already being prepared in late 2013, but the Alfa Romeo will likely come out first so it can be said that the Dodge is based on the Alfa, not the other way around. One question is whether the large Chryslers will use this architecture.
A new mid-sized Dodge Avenger, in rear wheel drive, would give Dodge cars a natural size range: Dart, Avenger, Challenger, Charger. We believe that the Barracuda name has been rejected now and replaced by Avenger or Dart, because the car will not be “retro themed,” and those questioned did not think the vintage Plymouth name was appropriate on a modern-themed Dodge.
The car that was once to be called SRT Barracuda no longer shows up on Chrysler’s long-term plans, though 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. Some have interpreted this to mean that the new design would instead replace the current Charger and/or Challenger, or even the Dart, which is due for replacement in mid-2016 — with an SRT version coming shortly after.
The 2016 Compass (the name has not yet been officially chosen) will expand on the mini-Grand Cherokee look and feel. Possibilities include a smaller version of 2014 Jeep Cherokee, four cylinder only, and an expanded version of Renegade. At the moment it is expected to be on the new SUSW platform and architecture, alongside Chrysler 100.
In the US, we expect to see the Hurricane 2.0 Turbo and the standard 2.4, possibly with a Fiat diesel in the future (and certainly for markets outside North America). Even this low-range Jeep may have the nine-speed ZF automatic, possibly with an entry-level six speed. It is expected to have a similar Fiat or Alfa Romeo model to replace the Fiat Sedici (Suzuki SX4).
Renegade is also to be refreshed in 2017, Cherokee in 2016.
The next Wrangler is due for 2017, and is expected to have extensive use of aluminum, an independent front (and possibly rear) suspension, and other changes. Some expect it to ape the Ram 4x4 architecture, others are hoping for a long-travel independent suspension similar to Li’l Blue, though the latter is increasingly unlikely. Fuel economy will certainly be increased somehow.
Minivans, Crossovers, and SUVs
Chrysler is set to get a midsized and full-sized crossover in 2018 and 2017, respectively. The full sized crossover is almost certainly based on the Town & Country. The midsized one may be based on a cross of the Cherokee and 200, or a smaller version of the new minivan platform.
Dodge Caravan may change completely for 2018, becoming a crossover á la Pacifica. It will have a new, modern, AWD-capable architecture; a 3.6 liter Pentastar V6 is reputed to be the sole powerplant, with a nine-speed automatic as the sole automatic. That said, it’s possible they will use this body for the Dodge Durango and move the Caravan name to Chrysler, so that we could see a Chrysler Caravan and at the high end, Chrysler Caravan Town & Country.
Chrysler Town & Country changes to the new platform and architecture, but stays a conventional minivan. A hybrid has been planned for years.
Wagoneer (or “Grand” Wagoneer) debuts in 2018 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.) Sergio Marchionne indicated that the Wagoneer or a Jeep above it could reach $100,000. We suspect it will be the Wagoneer, with a supercharged Hemi V8, hybrid-electric system, or other exotic powerplant, with all the bells and whistles.
The Grand Cherokee itself is to be re-engineered, not just refreshed, in mid-2017, finally leaving the chassis jointly developed with Mercedes.
Durango gets refreshed in early 2017. 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...
Ram shows a refresh for calendar-year 2015, which is puzzling. The Ram 1500 was re-engineered for 2013 and again for 2014; the heavy duty lines for 2014. So what is left? Is yet another refresh of the Ram 1500 really planned, to match Ford’s new F-150? Are we really going to see three in a row? Will this include the much-rumored “PUG” Pentastar engine upgrade?
Minor updates to the Heavy Duty pickups and Chassis Cabs are due for calendar year 2016, with a major Ram 1500 update in 2017. Major updates to heavy duty pickups and chassis cabs are due in 2018.
Ram will be split into Ram and Ram Commercial; most likely the differences will include speed governors and heavy duty vinyl seats on the Commercial series, with fewer create comforts and more fleet features.
Chrysler 100 and other small and midsized cars
A compact Chrysler 100 is now due in 2016, as a true compact. It will likely share the SUSW (Small US Wide) platform, an American adaptation of the old SCSS setup shared with GM, with a new line of Fiats. A Fiat concept, the Aegean, was could be fairly easily modified to have the current Chrysler 200 design cues. It is most likely that the two cars will not be sold in the same region and the Chrysler is unlikely to use the Fiat engines.
Chrysler 200 is set for a refresh in 2017, three years after its launch. This may include the addition of the 2.0 liter Hurricane Four.
Dodge is set for a “B-sized” (subcompact) sedan and hatchback in early 2018. Dart is set for refresh in mid-2016, as noted earlier, with an SRT version coming out very quickly afterwards.
Journey is set for a mid-2016 refresh, with a Journey SRT coming out shortly after. Journey might be similar to the current one, in that it might be based on the current 200 as the original was based on the Sebring/200.
Given that Dodge is striving to become the affordable-performance brand, though, we are thinking that the next Journey might be based on the new D-RWD setup — a rear wheel drive midsize tall wagon. Alfa Romeo is planning one, and most likely Alfa and Dodge are working together to cut costs and create efficiencies of scale. As Sergio Marchionne said, Alfa could never be cost effective on its own; it seems to be paired with Dodge. (That would also make the SRT version much easier to create.)
Large cars: 300C, Charger, Challenger
Chrysler 300C and Dodge Charger are both new for the 2018 calendar year, 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.
There is a possibility that Charger and Challenger will move over to the shared-with-Alfa mid-sized RWD setup.
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.
Again, the other possibility is for Charger and Challenger to move to D-RWD, allowing Challenger to compete more easily with the smaller Mustang and Camaro, more easily reducing redundancy (without needing to create a big FWD car which may or may not sell well), and making it easier for Chrysler to meet fuel economy requirements. The full size car market has been slowly but surely shrinking as buyers move to SUVs and crossovers.
Ram trucks: Fiat Strada pickup
The Brazilian-built Fiat Strada pickup has a payload capacity of 1,550 pounds, and a five-foot, six-inch long bed. The extended cab has a 1,500-pound payload and a four foot, six-inch bed. Towing capacity is said to be 2,000 pounds. A little Ram version may be arriving in 2016.
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.