Jeep Commander PHEV Could be a Chrysler Crossover Tease
Ever since the late Sergio Marchionne told Motor Trend that a crossover for Chrysler was in the mix, our ears have been to the ground. That was back in January 2018, and just this year, in January 2019, the plans for the next Chrysler Crossover may be a rebadged model currently premiering overseas. Remember the Jeep Commander? It was a concept that debuted during the biennial Shanghai Auto Show in April 2017. The 2019 Auto Shanghai Show has started, and the Jeep Commander returns with some surprising changes. With Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) bringing hybrid and electric vehicles to the market, this could be a look at the next Chrysler Crossover.
Jeep Commander in China
Because the 2019 Shanghai Auto show is only for the European-Asian market, we won’t be seeing the Jeep Commander in the states. When the concept first debuted, it was powered by a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine that could deliver up to 231 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Built to be a three-row crossover, it was set to be the next big vehicle by Jeep in China. Now two years later, and the Jeep Commander is stealing the show with a new look and powertrain.
With the Jeep Grand Commander already owning the three-row segment, like the Grand Cherokee and Cherokee, the Commander is the five-seat version of its grandfather. Both are China-only SUVs that have premiered earlier, but the five-seat model is being electrified to debut a PHEV setup for the popular SUV. Like most plug-in hybrid variants, the Jeep Commander PHEV looks conventionally the same as the original Commander, seen above, aside from the extra cap on the left quarter panel where Jeep has installed the charging port.
Because it’s a plug-in hybrid, or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), there will be a large battery pack making up its share of the powertrain. The specs have yet to be released, but Jeep has stated that the unspecified battery pack will have enough energy for a zero-emissions range of up to 43 miles. Aside from this, not a lot of information has been shared, and it could be because the new Chrysler Crossover is said to bring the Commander to the U.S. under its own name, currently dubbed the “Chrysler Journey”.
Full-force of Going Electric
In July 2018, shortly after Jeep revealed their five-year plan, all of FCA revealed their plans to go electric. With the electric, self-driving Chrysler Portal in production, and probably being tested at the new Chelsea Proving Grounds Autonomous Testing Facility, a plug-in hybrid Crossover for Chrysler could easily be the next step. Just look at the constant success of the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid.
As for Jeep, this wouldn’t be the first plug-in hybrid to debut overseas. Just this year, during the 2019 Geneva International Motor Show, Jeep debuted the Jeep Renegade Plug-in Hybrid and the Jeep Compass Plug-in hybrid. Both have about the same zero-emissions range of 30 miles, driving a steady speed of 80 mph. Although those are highway speeds, neither the Commander, Renegade, or Compass have an electric range past city streets.
When the Commander comes to America, possibly as the Chrysler Journey, we may see an increase in electric driving range with the improvements of the Pacifica Hybrid powertrain. After all, not only did the Pacifica eHybrid engine land a spot on the WardsAuto 10 Best Engines list in 2017 but luxury vehicle manufacturer Maserati (also FCA-owned), is putting the same engine in their upcoming “Maserati Blue” Program for hybrid vehicles.
A lot is going on in 2019, and it’s probably because automakers keep talking about 2020 like it’s the year the auto market will change forever. Keep up with all the news when you follow Aventura Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram on social media.