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Jeep Grand Cherokee 2010 SRT-8 

Automakers are certainly rethinking their current SUV offerings due to rising fuel costs, but Jeep appears to be pressing ahead full speed with an update to its Grand Cherokee SRT-8. Engineers at Chrysler haven't decided exactly what will need to be changed for the 425 horsepower monster SUV, although it does appear that the front end will be restyled with multiple optional additions. 

Pretty significant changes abound and are obvious even without a decent look at the back (the engineers are being quite secretive). The exhaust has been moved from the center and is now integrated into the rear bumper on each side. That, and the fact that this prototype is pulling a trailer, leads us to believe that the SRT8 Grand Cherokee will be offered  for the first time--with a towing package.


Once considered the sports car of the SUV segment, the 2010 Grand Cherokee will likely have a noticeably longer wheelbase, longer rear overhang and likely third-row seating to accommodate the spied towing package. The project was likely started while under Daimler's wing. Thusly the new Grand Cherokee is anticipated to borrow architecture from Mercedes SUVs like the ML and GL. 

Multiple updates to 2009's Grand Cherokee are already public. This just makes us unsure whether or not the SRT8 version will be available in the fall, or if it will begin rolling midway through the model year. Given that engineers tried so hard to prevent our photographers from snapping photos, we suspect there are some pretty significant changes in store for the SRT model. 

As part of its viability plan submitted to Congress, Chrysler included an illustration of the all-new 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee in its submission. The new unibody-based model will be built alongside the all-new Dodge Durango at Chrysler's Jefferson North plant.  

Code-named 'WL,' the Grand Cherokee will have an all-new platform to ride on, which will be shared with several other vehicles, including the next-generation Dodge Durango. 

While the Jeep Commander was originally slated to move to this new chassis, the Commander has now been killed outright. However, this new chassis has enough flexibility so that the 2010 Grand Cherokee will be offered in 5 passenger and 7 passenger configurations. 

A Futuristic Design

In design, the new SUV looks a lot like the Trailhawk concept, but with somewhat sharper lines. As indicated by the spy photos and CGI image, there is a seven-slat grill that reminds us of the Trailhawk's nose. Moreover, the doors have a similar stamping to the Trailhawk concept.

Chrysler's new Phoenix V6 motor will be available in the Grand Cherokee in 3.3L and 3.6L displacements. A 4.7L V8 and 5.7L HEMI are likely also in the cards, as well the GM/Chrysler/BMW hybrid powertrain, used in the short-lived Chrysler Aspen Hybrid and Dodge Durango Hybrid.  

Watch for production of this new Jeep to start at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit in January of 2010.

Based on the latest spy shots and reports, the 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee looks prone to grow a bit grander. For a look back, see a review of the original Grand Cherokee SRT-8.  Although Chrysler apparently killed off the diesel option on the current model for the new year, it may return for the new model, joining the same range of V6 and HEMI V8 engines that may expand to include a HEMI hybrid. Meanwhile, the design will still include such trademark styling cues as the seven-slat grille, four round headlights and squared-off wheel arches; expect the overall shape to borrow from the Trailhawk concept from the Detroit Auto Show of two years ago.

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