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Meet the new Grand Cherokee and Durango

Soon, FCA US will launch the 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango — key vehicles with strong sales and good margins. Here is what we know, and some speculation.

The 2020 Grand Cherokee will continue as a two-row vehicle, while the Dodge Durango will stay a bit longer, with an optional third row. Both will have a new platform and an adaptation of the Giorgio architecture currently under the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio currently. The dimensions will be similar to the current Grand Cherokee and Durango — not the smaller Stelvio.

The big SUVs will both be lighter, which will improve on fuel economy as well as on-road handling. Grand Cherokee will target its current market, but the Durango should get a new lease on life with some re-targeting.

Slowly, Dodge has been repositioning the Durango to be more of an SUV version of the Dodge Charger — a theme to be strengthened with the next generation. The next Dodge Durango will be more performance-oriented, continuing a trend seen with the 2018 Dodge Durango SRT.  (The SRT name will only be used by Dodge; the Grand Cherokee will stick with Trackhawk, and not SRT.)

Hemi engines will remain optional for both Durango and Grand Cherokee, but which Hemi engines is still up in the air.  The long-loved 5.7 Hemi (“Eagle”) might only make it to the 2021 model year; but the Wagoneer (WS) may get a 6.4 Hemi option. There are two 6.4 Hemis that would fit the job, and both could be used for different purposes: the hot SRT 392, pumping out 485 horsepower, or the durability-and-towing-focused Ram 6.4, used in chassis cabs and 2500/3500 pickups.

Both Durango and Grand Cherokee will get a bunch of new technology, including updated versions of Uconnect, a new Uconnect heads-up display, enhanced parallel and perpendicular park assistance, Uconnect theatre, and a hands-free power life gate.

Don’t expect the Grand Cherokee to get any less capable off-road either. Next-generation air suspensions will help with ground clearance, and 360° cameras will help you around tight terrain. The Grand Cherokee will keep its standard rear wheel drive, with a  range of optional AWD systems to help you tackle the elements. Low range AWD will still be an option.

The Durango will also stick with rear wheel drive, but the AWD systems will be more street focused — like the high-performance versions found in today’s SRT and Trackhawk, including more of a  rear wheel bias. The Durango will still be able to take on snow, light mud, and light trails with ease.

Both SUVs will still have unibody construction; but if the Grand Cherokee is too small for your needs, or you truly want a body-on-frame, Jeep will have the new full-size 2020 Jeep Wagoneer (WS) launching around the same time as the Grand Cherokee. That one is to be based on the 2019 Ram 1500 (DT).

It’s safe to say that both the Grand Cherokee and Durango will live on strong throughout the next decade.

The title of this article does not refer to the speculative renderings, but to revelations about the vehicles themselves — that is, to the text.

Robert Miller is a long-time Allpar contributor, Mopar enthusiast, and automotive photographer.

This post was last modified on December 5, 2017, 4:49 pm

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