India-bound 7 seat Jeep SUV spied testing for the first time: Toyota Fortuner challenger

Jeep India will launch a Toyota Fortuner rival in 2021. It’ll be a 7 seater, and has just been spotted testing by AutoEsporte in Brazil, which is a key market for the new SUV along with India. Contrary to expectations, the 7 seat Jeep may not be an extended version of the Compass but a totally new design that will use the same platform (Small Wide) as the Compass. It’s likely to share its mechanicals with the Compass as well, and these measures will help Jeep price it competitively in price sensitive emerging markets such as India and Brazil.

7 Seat Jeep Suv Spyshot 1

The new 7 seat Jeep is said to sit on a 2.8 meter wheelbase, which should allow designers to package plenty of space in the cabin. A monocoque body will allow the vehicle to drive like a car, and offer better refinement levels than body-on-ladder SUVs. A spacious, genuine 7 seat Jeep is just what the brand needs to take on the likes of the Toyota Fortuner and Ford Endeavour.

Delving into the mechanicals that the 7 seat Jeep is expected to pack in, the 2 liter Fiat Multijet turbocharged diesel engine is likely to be carried over from the Compass. It remains to be seen whether the 170 Bhp-350 Nm state of tune will be carried over, or if it’ll get a power and torque boost to handle the additional weight. 6 speed manual and 9 speed torque converter automatic gearboxes are likely to be offered.

Jeep Grand Commander Render
Jeep Grand Commander concept used to illustrate

As for the petrol engine, a turbocharged 1.3 liter-4 cylinder unit could be offered. Power and torque figures remain unclear for now. It’ll be interesting to see how such a small turbo petrol engine copes with a 7 seat SUV. Like the diesel, expect the turbo petrol engine to get manual and automatic gearbox options. The petrol engined variants are expected to be front wheel driven.

The diesel powered models could get an all wheel drive layout on specific trims. It remains to be seen whether Jeep offers a TrailHawk, off road-ready version of the new SUV. We won’t be surprised if Jeep decides to skip the TrailHawk trim from the 7 seater as the SUV seems aimed mainly at carrying more people for city rides and highway trips rather than going off the road. The 7 seat Jeep will be built at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ (FCA) Ranjangaon factory, alongside the Compass, which will get a facelift next year. Jeep India is also planning a sub-4 meter SUV to compete with the likes of the Maruti Brezza and Hyundai Venue.