This is the new Jeep Grand Cherokee, which will go into production in 2010.
The fact it has been spotted running at all is significant, as it underlines that Jeep is continuing with its new model development plans while parent company Chrysler awaits news of whether it will receive a cash bailout from the US government.
The new Grand Cherokee will be based on an all-new, car-based platform and be available in five- and seven-seat configurations.
It will be made with less emphasis on off-road capability than the present Grand Cherokee, and the use of lightweight construction materials, plus more modern engines, are expected to dramatically increase fuel efficiency.
The car, which will be offered in two- and four-wheel-drive, bears some resemblance to the Jeep Trailhawk concept car, including the seven-slat grille and door designs.
Engines are expected to include the company’s new ‘Phoenix’ 3.3- and 3.6-litre unitss, plus a 4.7-litre V8 and 5.7-litre HEMI. A hybrid model is also said to be under development.
Jeep has promised the new Grand Cherokee will have a much improved interior, with its Advanced Interior Design Studio at Chrysler’s Auburn Hills headquarters taking responsibility for raising standards.
Production is scheduled to begin in the US in early to mid 2010, with UK sales beginning six to eight months later.
The US government is expected to announce whether it will provide cash to rescue GM and Chrysler next Tuesday.