The new Jeep Grand Cherokee will be equipped with a ZF-equipped eight-speed gearbox next year

Jeep has confirmed plans to equip the new Grand Cherokee with a ZF-supplied eight-speed gearbox – and has also revealed it is investigating using a nine-speed ZF gearbox in its future models.

The new Grand Cherokee 3.0 V6 CRD that’s recently gone on sale in the UK is currently only available with a five-speed Mercedes-supplied automatic that’s been carried over from its forgettable predecessor.

The new eight-speed offering will be launched next year across the Grand Cherokee’s entire V6 and V8 engine range, with Jeep Europe chief Joe Veltri confirming that the gearbox could handle the torque outputs of all engines in the line-up.

The gearbox will help Jeep lower its CO2 emissions and it’s also available with hybrid applications, something Jeep is looking into, as disclosed to Autocar by CEO Mike Manley.

“Our approach to lowering CO2 is a deployment of lots of different technologies,” he said. “Hybrids, improved aerodynamics, more diesels, eight-speed gearboxes and nine-speed gearboxes for front-wheel-drive cars will all help us improve economy and CO2.”

Veltri was cautious about committing to a hybrid Jeep, however, pointing to disappointing sales of hybrids in the US. “Hybrid sales are down three to four per cent in the US and still only make up two per cent of the market. People are not seeing a return on their investment with fuel saving.”

An all-electric Jeep would be on-sale in 2012, confirmed Manley, with the Wrangler the most likely candidate for the Jeep EV after a concept version was shown at the 2009 Detroit motor show.

Manley also said early sales of the two-wheel drive Compass had been positive, and the firm could offer two-wheel drive across more of its models.

“The SUV market has moved on,” he said. “People want SUV attributes but not always four-wheel drive capability. In the past, everyone had to pay the weight, fuel economy and CO2 penalty for cars like the Compass just so those that needed to go off-road in it could.”

Manley added that each Jeep model range would get a special ‘Trail Rated’ version, designed especially for off-road use. This, he said, allows the firm to offer more fuel-efficient, road-biased Jeeps for customers who do not need off-road capabilities.

Mark Tisshaw

See all the latest Jeep reviews, news and video

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka
  •  Maserati Ghibli Diesel
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    Maserati releases another range of updates for its range best seller, the Ghibli. We've driven the diesel version, but there's little improvement on before
  • Tipo Front
    First Drive
    21 September 2016
    New Fiat Tipo offers impressive space and practicality for a reasonable price. We try the 1.6 diesel on the demanding roads of North Wales
  • Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150
    First Drive
    20 September 2016
    The Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150 makes perfect sense: it's spacious, tidy to drive for an SUV and cheap to run