By on July 24, 2014

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What’s obvious to us isn’t always clear to the rest of the automotive world. To anyone who frequents TTAC, the upcoming Chrysler three-row CUV was destined to be built off of the minivan platform, but some other corners of the auto world didn’t seem to get the memo. Chrysler brand boss Al Gardner took the time to clear that up.

Speaking to Motor Trend, Gardner all-but confirmed that the front-drive crossover will share the next-gen front-drive architecture that will be utilized by the next-generation vans. A close reading of FCA’s 5-year plan, as well as Chrysler’s overall product portfolio suggests that the three-row crossover is a great way to help lower their CAFE rating, especially with a plug-in hybrid variant – which the new minvan will have from the get-go. You can bet that the CUV will get this technology as well.

According to MT, the Dodge Durango was ruled out because “simply isn’t large enough for many customers in the segment and is too aggressive”. I can’t say I agree with the former, but even so, it’s a moot point. Leveraging the front-drive architecture, with its superior fuel economy, regulatory and packaging characteristics is a no-brainer for a company that badly needs to put a dent in its CAFE ratings.

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48 Comments on “Chrysler’s Crossover Will Share Minivan Architecture...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Are we sure they aren’t talking about a Journey replacement? The Journey currently occupies (in FiatChrysler’s mind) the spot the short wheelbase minivans used to occupy. It is available with 3 rows but the third row is small.

    Besides the Durango is selling well, unless the intent is to make the RWD/AWD platform that the Durango is on a Jeep exclusive with a large above the Grand Cherokee vehicle we keep hearing rumors about.

    • 0 avatar
      Mike N.

      I could have sworn reading on this site that the Durango would die soon to make way for (I’ll just call it) the Grand Wagoneer. I mean, why not charge more for the same thing by making it into a Jeep?

    • 0 avatar
      billfrombuckhead

      RIGHT NOW VIRTUALLY EVERYTHING MOPAR IS HOT! DURANGO IS REALLY HOT! TTAC favorite Cherokee is going quasar. Customers are fighting over remaining 2014 Grand Cherokee Laredos and base Wranglers on the lots. Don’t even talk about Eco Diesel Rams

      JULY SALES PROJECTIONS FOR MOPAR ARE HUGE! Up 22%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Best in industry yet again!

      Pacifica was ahead of it’s time. Imagine what it would have done with a a Pentastar and a 9 speed ZF? I bet we see the the Durango, a minivan based Chrysler Pacifica replacement, a new Journey and a Grand Wagoneer, all rolling at the same time.

      The haters can hate but July will belong to Chrysler! Many of TRDyota’s best salespeople are switching and leaving minimum commissions behind, boring obsolete products behind and nasty ignorant TRDyotabot customers behind while bringing their good book of business customers with them. July is a glorious month for Team Marchionne. Screw Jim (Joe Isuzu) Lentz, the rest of the JapanInc Borg and their America hating Confederate allies like Rick Perry and Mitch McConnell.

      Mopar Uber Alles indeed!

    • 0 avatar

      The Journey successor will apparently share a platform with the Dart. The new Chrysler crossover is a different beast.

  • avatar
    th009

    Sounds like the 2016 Chrysler Pacifica …

    • 0 avatar

      Another product which was killed RIGHT BEFORE it could benefit from Uconnect, 8-speed, Pentastar, or the 5.7-L HEmi.

      Before the Pentastar and 8-speed became available, I’ll admit, the 2.7-L and 3.5-L weren’t great choices – especially when coupled to the W5A580 – which really demanded a 5.7-L to be “good”.

      Now they’ve got all the components they need to mix and match into a good vehicle.

      Pacifica or Magnum.

      If they bring EITHER back, they’ll have a hit – thanks to the new technology.

      Even the new material colors I’ve seen in the Jeeps and Chrysler 200 would help move Magnums or Pacificas.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I am SO TIRED OF hearing you say the Pacifica needed more of a chance. It wasn’t a good car. The Pacifica was a car for nobody, which sacrified too many things and was not good at anything in particular.

        • 0 avatar

          CoreyDL

          I’m tired of saying it. They need to simply LISTEN and BUILD IT.

        • 0 avatar
          psarhjinian

          So, basically, the Pacifica was a crossover?

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Yeah, The Pacifica was a crossover, but with lousy driving dynamics, an anemic powertrain, terrible build quality and zero charisma.

            Which, despite BTSR’s support, failed in the marketplace, just like the Magnum.

          • 0 avatar

            VOGO

            Chrysler basically STARTED the “crossover” segment with the Pacifica and due to lack of support, it failed.

            As for the Magnum, Ralph Giles stated in a tweet to me that the plans for a Magnum successor were uncertain but that the Magnum had been cancelled by someone “who is no longer with the company”.

            It was one of those knee-jerk reactions to streamline the product during the bailout.

            You remember – like when Ford dropped Aston Martin, Rover and Jaguar.

            Canadians are going GAGA over the Journey. It’s got ground clearance, a RIDICULOUSLY good ride over bumps (look up my video “Dodge Journey Loves potholes” where I drive one through horrible pavement) and it’s CHEAPER than everyone else for what you get.

            Chrysler has EXCELLENT “components” and all they have to do is shuffle them around to get their next great car.

            The 300 /Charger are selling nicely because of the new technology and interior.

            Put me on that design team and we’ll put out Magnums that TAKE DOWN Nissan GT-R’s for half the price.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The Pacifica did not start the crossover segment. Stop it. Stop it now.

            Even if it was the first crossover (which it wasn’t), it was terrible and no one cared about it anyway. The only reason anyone ever remebers the Pacifica is because you bring it up or they owned one and couldn’t completely block out that horrible memories of it being in the shop all the time.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            In no way did the Pacifica start the Crossover thing. The Volvo XC70 came years before, and is a crossover. Also see the Audi Allroad. Also the Mercedes ML. Also the Lexus RX.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            OK, back to reality.
            As bball, Corey and Danio said, the Pacifica didn’t launch the crossover market. The Lexus RX came out in 1998, vs. 2004 for the Pacifica.

            The Journey is the bottom of the barrel of today’s crossovers. It sells on price and to fleets. Don’t take my word for it, read reviews.

            Giles can lay the blame on whomever he pleases, but at the end of the day, Chrysler acted rationally in killing both the Pacifica and Magnum. Both reached for a market that just wasn’t there.

            The 300/Charger are NOT selling well. The entire segment is down, but the 300 especially is sucking wind. Apparently, people figured out that copying the styling of a RR does not mean it’s a RR.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            ” In no way did the Pacifica start the Crossover thing. The Volvo XC70 came years before, and is a crossover. Also see the Audi Allroad. Also the Mercedes ML. Also the Lexus RX.”

            The AMC Eagle had all those beat by at least a decade and a half.

          • 0 avatar

            Actually, the first M-Class (1998-2005) was a body-on-frame SUV. They didn’t go to unibody until the second-generation (MY2006). Now, the first X5 debuted in late 1999 as a 2000 model…so it did beat the Pacifica to market. But it was still rugged and somewhat emulated a truck, as does the current one. Really, the Pacifica was an early example of a large truly-car-like crossover and perhaps one of the very first vehicles to wear that term, but it was still beat by the Highlander (2001), MDX(2001), Pilot (2003) and XC90 (2003).

          • 0 avatar
            TrailerTrash

            danio3834

            wow…you remembered one of my all time favs!
            It still looks good today and was way ahead of my ability to afford.
            It did set the tone.

          • 0 avatar
            SC5door

            The Volvo XC70 came years before, and is a crossover. Also see the Audi Allroad. Also the Mercedes ML. Also the Lexus RX.

            If we’re defining “crossover” as something that’s unibody then the Grand Cherokee and Cherokee were before all those you’ve listed.

        • 0 avatar
          Mike N.

          Not to mention pretty much every Pacifica I’ve ever encountered was driven by a complete tool. I’ve been passed on the shoulder of a 4 lane highway by one, fercryinoutloud, and I wasn’t going slow.

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        2.7L was not available in the Pacifica, nor was the W5A580.

        3.5L only at launch then when the 4.0 came out the 3.8L became the “base” engine.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Though the Pacifica is completely unloved I see many of the 4.0 AWD models still running around. With economic conditions in my area any car that suffers epic depreciation is going to be popular on the used market. I still see Colorado/Canyon based Isuzu pickups running around.

      • 0 avatar
        williambwarren

        BTSR -

        Often I gloss over your comments, but I have to say, I completely agree. It sounds just like a revived Pacifica…which my dad loves. He’s had his ’04 since day one (bought in Feb. of ’04) and while it has its problems (overly complex to replace third-brake light, the $75 magnet to reset the TPMS of the early ’04s), it’s a VERY comfortable cruising car, thanks to the Daimler engineering (I believe it used the old E-class architecture with some of the suspension components?).

        The 4-speed and 3.5L though, really do kill it – since it’s an almost 3 ton vehicle with only 250 lb. ft. to move it around, so he’s lucky to get 18-20 MPG in mixed driving.

        Throw in a pentastar and 8-speed, and make some aluminum replacements to bring the weight down, and they would have an MKX/Enclave killer…as long as they bring back some of those beautiful metallics like Butane Blue, and that awesome sage green that came with the forest green accents.

        • 0 avatar

          “Often I gloss over your comments, but I have to say, I completely agree. ”

          All I needed to hear!

          Thanks.

          I know what’s best for the product – even if they don’t.

        • 0 avatar
          turboprius

          Exactly. I’d think the Pacifica was an unreliable vehicle as well, just from what I’ve read here and in CR. But my neighbor’s 2006 has well over 200K and is still going strong. Because of her, and the fact that there is still a decent number of these cruising along, I like these.

          Make a modern one, and there’s a good Journey replacement.

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      For a 4+2, it weight a half ton too much. Better luck this time.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      The Pacifica was Chrysler’s Aztek. It looked like a few designers had a contest to see who could sketch out the ugliest minivan that the pinheads in accounting would actually approve for production. Truly a blight on the automotive landscape.

      • 0 avatar

        The Pacifica could never be described as beautiful, but its styling made sense for the time (remember, Chrysler really didn’t find its styling prowess until MY2011, with the logo change)…and the Pacifica in no way compares to the Aztek.

  • avatar

    JESUS CHRIST.

    Just redesign the DODGE MAGNUM and offer a 3rd row – with a fold forward 2nd seat for access.

    -Uconnect 8.4n
    -heated/ventilated seats.
    -Panoramic Roof
    -heated/cooled cup holders

    *Pentastar with 8-speed
    *Pentastar with 8-speed and AWD.
    *Hemi with 8-speed
    *Hemi with 8-speed and AWD.
    *HELLCAT with 8-speed and AWD with Launch Control.

    *RWD or AWD choice.

    *Optional MANUAL (snatched out the Hellcat).

    All built on the tried and tested and proven LX/LY platform.

    THEY are out there WAITING to give you their money…
    …are you gonna take it?

    …are you man enough to take it???

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    According to MT, the Dodge Durango was ruled out because “simply isn’t large enough for many customers in the segment and is too aggressive”.

    What are these people talking about – the Durango is huge! Why would they dump it when they just now put in the effort to make it a unibody and a competitive vehicle?

    I think like Educator Dan said, this is about a Journey replacement. And Lord knows they need one.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Who is the Durango not big enough for? Military troop transport? Large Mormon families?

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Drove V6 three row AWD Journey and then drove a V6 three row AWD Highlander. I went home with the Highlander. The biggest deciding factors were refinement and spaciousness.

      The Journey needs a little more interior room and a little more sound-deadening. I think Chrysler was originally afraid if the Journey were larger it would steal minivan sales. Sorry guys those two groups don’t have a large intersect (minivan buyers vs CUV buyers).

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      Ya…I caught this line as well. The Durango is a giant. I am hoping the newer SUV is not that large…otherwise why even have it?
      And I HOPE you can leave out the third row.
      I don’t want a third row. It takes up useable space.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    What the lineup should look like:

    Dodge:
    Grand Caravan (FWD for Stow and go)
    Durango (as it is)
    Journey-size CUV
    Larger than Durango Ram-based full sizer

    Chrysler:
    Small SUV can be based on Journey sizer, but different sheet metal.
    Extended version of Ram based full sizer, Suburban competitor
    Midsize Durango Size CUV
    Van

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Less functional minivan to be built on minivan platform. Film at 11.

  • avatar

    It wouldn’t be the first time. Most manufacturers’ mid/large crossovers (Kia, Honda, Nissan, Toyota), are related to their minivans, which are themselves related to their mid-sized sedans. In GM’s case, the Lambda crossovers basically *are* minivans with conventional hinged doors, and which have their roots in the mid-sized Epsilon II platform. Really, Chrysler is the odd-man out for having a dedicated minivan platform in the first place.

  • avatar
    burnbomber

    Don’t forget the Dodge Ram ProMaster vans, really Fiat commercial vans. That will take over the full size (large) van market. Ford’s pushing their Transit van and I’m seeing Nissan NV200s too.

    I’d say they’re getting a good market mix together–the small van/crossover, the large euro-van/commercial, traditional trucks and a 4wd/rwd Jeep derivative. Too bad they can’t nail the small mix. I’d love to see a Panda sized AWD hatchback.

  • avatar
    otaku

    C’mon who are we kidding?

    EVERY damn so-called crossover vehicle on the market is nothing but a glorified minivan.

  • avatar
    mcarr

    I for one pray that Chrysler will never fall into the CUV trap that GM and Ford did, and will continue to make a dedicated minivan. Right now, my 2013 T&C is traveling 1,000 miles across the country carrying 3 adults and 4 kids and all their luggage, comfortably, and getting about 29 mpg doing it. There’s no CUV on the market that can do that.


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