Jeep introduced it’s first-ever hybrid SUV concept this year at 2017 Shanghai auto show. Except it is using electric power, the interesting high-riding vehicle features a third row of seats. Now, even though the carmaker desperately needs this kind of vehicle in U.S., they said that the 2019 Jeep Yuntu won’t be available home at all. Instead, it’s intended for the Chinese market only. Our photographers caught a camouflaged crossover with a footprint suitable for three rows, which irresistibly resemble the Yuntu. The most interesting thing is that they spotted the prototype near FCA’s headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan, which is a reason more to believe that either the plug-in hybrid crossover is actually coming in U.S., or we are looking at the prototype of the next Wagoneer. We will place our bets on the all-new Yuntu, because we expect the new Woody to be, well, totally different from what we see here.
The 2019 Jeep Yuntu sports pretty much the same footprint as the current Dodge Durango, which makes it big enough for a seven-seat arrangement. The camouflaged SUV features Jeep’s distinctive details, but it’s somehow different from everything we used to see. There is an interesting seven-slat grille right below the hood, and a pair of pretty aggressive headlights, which are definitely LEDs. The overall bodywork is actually very robust and this is what like the most here, while the rear end gets fake exhaust pipes. If you look closer, you will see two small tips inside of the oversized fakes.
Chrysler Pacifica under the hood
Jeep hasn’t released any information regarding the powertrain of the concept SUV, so we can’t really know what’s powering the prototype. As far as we think, the 2019 Jeep Yuntu might use the same drivetrain as the Chrysler Pacifica. The amazing minivan is paired with a 3.6-liter V-6 engine that runs with an ultra-efficient Atkinson Cycle. The unit is mated to a hybrid transmission and two motor generators, which together totally replace the gearbox. The overall system produces 260 horsepower, while the 16-kWh battery enables an electric range of 33 miles. The biggest flaw of the powertrain is charging without any doubt. By using a regular 120-volt plug, the system needs all 13 hours to fill the battery, though the same job will be done in two hours on a 240-volt charger.
Price and release
The prototype seems almost finished, so we expect to see the U.S. 2019 Jeep Yuntu next year, most likely in spring. The price is unknown at the moment, but we think that the plug-in hybrid SUV must start over $40K.