In an exclusive chat with autocarindia.com, head of Jeep’s design, Ralph Gilles has stated that “It is highly unlikely that it will not have an all-wheel-drive cousin in its lifetime, let’s put it that way. We are going to engineer some kind of variant for it. So stay tuned for that.” – about a possibility of a two-wheel-drive-only model from the brand for the Indian market.
The upcoming compact SUV will most likely share platform and engines with the Citroen C21 and could be offered with e-axles to give what people want – a Jeep with AWD functionality.
“We already implement that in Europe where we have the e-all-wheel drive system on the Compass and Renegade. It’s something for which our engineers have solved the equation. E-mobility is always a challenge, but we understand how to do it. The packaging is not too bad. It replaces the same (mechanical 4×4) hardware with an e-motor.”
The reason why Jeep is potentially on the verge of adding an element or two of electrification is that first, the current platform of the Citroen C21 doesn’t support AWD, directly meaning that the e-axle tech seen on the Compass and Renegade sold in Europe, which uses an electric motor to power the rear wheels differently to the front ones, could be brought in.
Moreover, with the electrification already brought in, the brand could even look at a PHEV variant in the distant future. However, the biggest downside would be the cost. Additionally, with the formation of Stellantis, Jeep now has complete access to borrow the 1.2L turbo-petrol motor from Citroen to power its upcoming compact SUV.
As for its competitors, the Jeep will go against the market-leaders in Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, Hyundai Venue, Kia Sonet, Mahindra XUV300, Tata Nexon, Toyota Urban Cruiser, Ford EcoSport, Nissan Magnite, Renault Kiger. The soon-to-be-revealed Citroen C21 will join the segment, too.
I, for one, feel that Jeep has what it takes to hit the sweet spot of the buyers – all the sub-4m SUVs at the moment offer FWD only, and with the introduction of the new Jeep, it could bring in a much-needed change. But again, it will cost more so, let’s wait for the prices!