DETROIT — Jeep’s Grand Cherokee will offer a third-row option by midyear, broadening the SUV’s reach into a competitive segment.
The three-row model, scheduled to be revealed Thursday, will be known as the Grand Cherokee L. Jeep said production will start this quarter and that the vehicles will begin reaching dealerships in the second quarter.
By adding optional third-row seating to its top seller, Jeep is expected to shake up the large crossover market now dominated by the Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander, Chevrolet Traverse and Volkswagen Atlas, and newer entries such as the Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride. The large utility segment shrank 0.6 percent last year but still generated U.S. sales of just over 1 million.
A redesigned two-row Grand Cherokee and “4xe” electrified version are scheduled to be launched later this year, Jeep said. The automaker has said previously the smaller version would arrive in the third quarter.
The Grand Cherokee nameplate, launched nearly 30 years ago and with cumulative global sales of nearly 7 million, has become a profitable cornerstone of Jeep’s lineup.
The Grand Cherokee L is built on an all-new architecture with independent front and rear suspensions. The refined interior has been designed to create spaciousness, the automaker said, and the center stack houses a 10.1-inch screen to operate a new Uconnect 5 infotainment system.
“When you set out to reimagine an SUV as beloved as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, building on its nearly 30-year legacy as an overachiever is paramount to every decision that is made,” Christian Meunier, Jeep’s global president, said in a statement.