Upcoming Chryslers, Dodges, Rams, and Jeeps
Lancia will not be used outside of Italy in the future, according to Sergio Marchionne; whether this means that Chrysler vehicles will use Fiat badging, stand alone, or will simply not enter Europe, is unknown at this time.
Compact and mid-sized cars and crossovers
The “true” next generation 2015 Chrysler 200 — to be built starting in March or April 2014— was unveiled on January 13, 2014. It has a Chrysler 2.4 and 3.6 liter V6 with optional AWD (200C/200S only, V6 required), and a standard nine-speed ZF automatic. Top fuel mileage is 35 mpg with the four (highway).
Despite announcements that Dodge Avenger would be killed off, which are still being echoed in the media, Dodge Avenger now seems to be moving to a rear wheel drive version of the midsized cars, which it will share with an Alfa Romeo and SRT Barracuda (which we think will just be called Avenger after all). The rear wheel drive midsized setup was reportedly approved in early 2013. Detroit News claimed that the existing front-drive Avenger would be kept on for two more years, hedging Chrysler’s bets on the new 200, but this seems unlikely.
RVC wrote, echoing other sources, “This new D architecture is a joint project, developed in Detroit with permanently embedded Fiat engineers ... Having a RWD D-segment architecture is costly, and took two years of tinkering between finance and marketing ... E-Evo was discarded [for this purpose, in 2012], when it became obvious that if you shorten it too much you can't produce an aerodynamic, sexy looking D-segment car.”
Thus, we now expect Dodge Avenger to be a rear wheel drive four-door sedan and SRT Barracuda-or-Avenger to be a limited production coupe, powered by a 6.2 liter supercharged Hemi, sharing with an Alfa Romeo coupe and hatch. These are due for model year 2016 (which could mean production will start in 2015 or early 2016). The supercharged Hemi V8, dubbed HellCat, is now said to be pushing 680 horsepower.
Chrysler 100 and/or 100C appears to have been dropped from the plans, but we think that Dodge Dart might eventually move over to Chrysler.
The SRT Dart has been dropped for the moment, with a Dart R/T (above the GT) possible with milder but still formidable performance. All wheel drive and a nine-speed automatic are both in the Dart’s future.
LX, RT, and E-Evo: large cars and minivans
A new large-car (“E”) platform was being developed, with the goal of bringing together minivans, cars, and crossovers — both front and rear wheel drive, at least for cars; we do not know if this is still the plan.
The first new L-series car to appear in 2014 will be the 2015 Dodge Challenger, on the new LA platform; originally this was to be a shortened version to cut weight, but the Challenger may well end up at its current size. The main benefit will be the eight-speed automatic, expected to be standard on all Challengers, as it is on Grand Cherokees and Durangos. A comprehensive interior upgrade is also expected. The basic Challenger look should remain up front, with some changes, including a center post and possibly smaller headlights or resized parking lights; in back, it might move closer to Charger or Dart. . It will have UConnect 2, Via Mobile, 8.4 inch touch screen, etc.
Following the Challenger by a few months, we expect to see the facelifted Charger coming down the line. There’s no word on what to expect, visually, but major changes to the shape are unlikely. The tail will probably remain similar to the current model, perhaps with the “solid line” version of the racetrack tail-lamps, eliminating the obvious use of individual LED bulbs.
Finally, just before 2016 shows up in reality, the 300/300C is to appear. Ralph Gilles told us that the current styling cues are to continue, and we expect mild changes to the optics and grille, with some changes to rear lighting, to be the extent of exterior visual changes. An early spy shot shows what might be a more-curvaceous 300 — one wonders if the company will indeed be switching to the Maserati interpretation of the front suspension, based on those curves, or is just changing the style to make 300 less boxy.
Both Charger and 300 are set to be replaced in the 2017-2020 timeframe by new cars based on the Maserati Ghibli. The Ghibli was described to us as an LX with all the Mercedes gear removed, though it is more complicated than that; the engine bay was reduced in space since there is no V8 option, and while the rear suspension seems very similar to that of the 300C, the front suspension double-wishbone design was modified from the Mercedes-style to a Maserati-style setup. The next generation large cars from Chrysler will probably use many of the Ghibli’s changes.
A new supercharged 6.2 Hemi is expected to join the SRT cars in 2014.
- Charger and 300C: Chrysler was rumored to be downsizing Charger, but may instead keep Charger “as is” and make 300C a front wheel drive large family car with an emphasis on space and comfort (2017-2019). Rear wheel drive might be a Dodge/Alfa differentiator. No decision has leaked out yet, but for 2015, there should be no major changes other than eight-speed Hemi combinations.
- Imperial was set for 2015 when last seen but has probably been dropped. Maserati and Alfa Romeo are already moving into that space.
- Alfa Spider (a 1966-1993 name) convertible was proposed for early 2014, on shortened LA — this has almost certainly has been switched to the new D-RWD.
- Eight-speed automatics are to replace the five-speed in Hemi and diesel models in 2014. Stop/start systems are likely to show up as well, in the next generation.
The Dodge Journey has been firmly established as the #1 crossover in Canada, and is now #1 crossover in Mexico, and is selling well as the Fiat Freemont; production is becoming a constraint. A replacement based on new CUSW platform due in calendar year 2014-2016 or so. At that time it can be built interchangeably at Sterling Heights, Belvedere, or Toledo. It is possible the Dodge version will be dropped in favor of a Chrysler-Lancia.
Oddly, Sergio Marchionne said in January 2014 that the final platform for Journey had not even been established yet, indicating that a Cherokee/200-based crossover might have been dropped in favor of a something based on the new minivan platform.
Dodge Viper, Chrysler Firepower
No news so far... though we understand power increases are being worked on for Viper. Firepower — a supercharged-Hemi-based version of Viper with no V10 — is still rumor/speculation-only.
SUSW: small cars
The “B Jeep” is detailed in our upcoming trucks and SUVs page. The B-Jeep will be 4.25 meters (167 inches) long, and will be four-cylinder only, with Multijet diesels in Europe and Asia, the 1.4 liter Multiair in Europe, and the 2.4 Chrysler four in North America.
Caravan, Town & Country
Minivans: All wheel drive will be optional on the first truly new minivans to hit Chrysler for many years, slated to hit the market in mid-2015 with nine-speed automatics and a brand new body and architecture. See our 2016 Chrysler minivans page.
That brings up the resurrection of the Dodge Dakota as a lifestyle pickup. While it would take quite a bit of work to build a pickup truck using a minivan chassis, if engineers started with that goal from the start, they could work out ways to adapt the chassis and, equally important, the platform (dimensions) to accommodate a “lifestyle pickup.”
The idea of a reasonably sized vehicle with a pickup form, an El Camino (or Rampage) for the modern age, has been bouncing around Chrysler since the launch of the final Dakota, and building one at the minivan plant has been discussed internally as a possibility for some years. These days, though, there’s a single minivan plant, and it’s not as likely to spawn a pickup, given capacity constraints and hopes that the next-generation vans will sell well enough to keep Windsor humming full-time. A pickup might be sketched out, though, to take up the slack if the minivan market fails. JackRatchett accordingly developed this drawing of a possible “lifestyle pickup” based on the Caravan above.
Maserati and Fiat
Maserati has three Chrysler-based vehicles: Quattroporte (extended 300C), Ghibli (sized near Challenger and Charger), and Levante (Ghibli-based). Each uses Maserati engines with ZF eight-speed transmissions, except Ghibli, which has a VM diesel option. See our Maserati page.
A Fiat 500X crossover will also be launched in 2014; and a seven-passenger version of the 500L, titled 500XL in Europe, with “some other name” in North America.
Platforms (sets of key dimensions): what Chrysler will be using in the future
A = small (500), B = subcompact (500L), C = compact (Dart), D = midsize (200), E = large (Charger).
- SUSW — updated version of the Fiat-GM SCSS platform used by cars from Fiat, Opel, and others (500X, “Jeepster”).
- CUSW — American version of Fiat’s C-EVO (C - US - Wide) for compact and midsized cars and crossovers (Dart, Cherokee, 200 so far)
- D-RWD — rear wheel drive, midsized altered-CUSW, approved in 2012 (Avenger?)
- E-EVO — large cars, crossovers, minivans, possibly a light pickup, for both front and rear wheel drive. This appears to be an evolution of the current L platform.