As auto show season gets underway, we've had the chance to do some digging to see what's in store for pickup trucks, sport/utility vehicles, vans, and, yes, crossovers, in the next few years. Here is some of what we've uncovered.
Fiat and Chrysler chief Sergio Marchionne outlined a five-year strategy for the Pentastar that will have the Italian automaker supplying platforms for smaller crossovers. This is a detailed look at how that will play out into 2014.
Model year 2011: "Major modifications" for Jeep Liberty, Patriot/Compass. Face lift for Liberty. New Ram chassis cab.
2012: All-new Dodge Durango shares Mercedes-based unibody platform with the Jeep Grand Cherokee, but is offered with three rows of seats. Face lifted Dodge Journey, Nitro, 70th-anniversary edition Jeeps across the lineup, "major modification" for Wrangler. On-again, off-again unibody Ram Dakota off a Fiat platform most recently is off-again.
2013: Fiat-based large and small commercial Ram delivery vans (like Sprinter, Ford Transit Connect). Major refresh for light- and heavy-duty Ram pickups, chassis cab.
2014: New Jeep Liberty, single Compass Patriot replacement, and new B-segment Fiat-based Jeep crossover.
Pentastar V-6 launching in 2011 Grand Cherokee is 3.6 liters. The engine replaces Chrysler's aged 2.7- to 4.0-liter V-6 lineup. Pentastar is "protected" for downsizing to smaller displacements, especially important for Fiat. The engine can make 280 horses and 260 pound-feet and has a cast-aluminum block, dual-continuously variable cam phasing, and a variable-displacement oil pump.
Fiat is preparing a diesel Multijet II engine for Chrysler products beginning with the Jeep Wrangler, although North American sales remain questionable.
Fiat's dual dry clutch transmission will see its first duty in 2011 sedans. A three-shaft design with six speeds, it can handle up to 260 pound-feet of torque.
Hybrid Ram 1500 is due this year. Chrysler/Dodge hybrid minivan arrives in 2011 and an electric light-commercial vehicle is scheduled for 2012.
Chrysler SRT 6.1-liter Hemi V-8 gets a displacement bump to 6.4 liters.
Ram 1500: Hybrid launches.
Dodge Grand Caravan, Chrysler Town & Country, Jeep Liberty, Patriot, and Compass: All get mild facelifts and upgraded interiors.
2012 Jeeps: Full line gets 70th-anniversary special-edition treatment.
Dodge Grand Caravan/Chrysler Town & Country: Hybrid models launch.
Ram delivery vans: A small Fiat-based panel van will compete with the Ford Transit Connect, while a larger Fiat-based van will replace the Ram Sprinter.
Dodge Journey/Chrysler variant: All-new Fiat-based '14 models.
Jeep Liberty: All-new. A next-generation Dodge Nitro version is under consideration.
Jeep Patriot/Compass: Replaced by one C-segment crossover on a Fiat platform.
Dodge Hornet: Chrysler's answer to the Mini finally makes its debut on the Fiat Punto platform.
Chrysler Hornet variant: Probably sharing styling with the next Lancia Ypsilon.
Jeep B-segment crossover: Also on the Hornet's Fiat platform.
Dodge Dakota: Unlikely. Chrysler was considering a Fiat-based, unibody Ram replacement, but the latest intelligence suggests American truck makers see no future expansion of the Honda Ridgeline's segment.
Dodge Grand Caravan/Chrysler Town & Country: All-new.