Jeep has gone from hunter to hunted.
The American brand is synonymous with building rugged off-roaders, but its most compact offering, the Renegade, has been discontinued in Australia and in its place the Suzuki Jimny has filled the gap for adventurers looking for a city-friendly off-roader.
That looks set to change, though, with Jeep seemingly prepping to add an all-new model that will take direct aim at the Jimny. And if that’s not enough, it will likely be all-electric too.
As reported, Jeep teased a pair of new models as part of Stellantis’ EV Day presentation. Speaking to Australian media to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the brand, Jeep CEO Christian Meunier and design chief Mark Allen didn’t want to reveal any specifics of the new models, but did let slip on some key information.
Mr Allen said the switch to electrification is an exciting one for him and his design team, as it allows more freedom to create new shapes.
While he insisted all Jeep models have to retain key design elements to maintain a family look, future EV models will be able to have new design traits. Specifically, Mr Allen mentioned lower, shorter bonnets and wheels pushed out to the corners even more so than now.
Those are some of the noticeable elements of one of the teased new model shown here. The stubby bonnet and front wheel right at the corner of the silhouette, as well as the straight roofline and short rear end, create a Jimny-like shape.
Asked for any more details of this potential Suzuki rival, Mr Meunier didn’t want to give anything away.
“These silhouettes give you a few hints at what Mark is working on, but I won’t tell you which is which and when it’s coming,” he said.
It’s expected this new model will be built on the new STLA Small platform, which will be capable of full electrification but should also accommodate plug-in hybrid powertrains, such as the one already available in the Renegade and Compass.
As confirmed by the 4xe branding on the silhouette, the baby Jeep will maintain Jeep’s four-wheel-drive capability that will help it take on the off-road capable Jimny.
Jeep has confirmed it will have an electric option for every model in its range by 2025, as it pushes to have 70 per cent of its global sales be electrified by the same year.