Monday, July 23, 2007

Allpar.Com - The Dodge Crew (JC49) and PT Cruiser (JZ49) Crossovers (Updated 7-20-2007)

Our new Dodge Crew page is at - please visit that page for updates!

Size-wise, the new crossover measure in a bit larger than the CR-V, Santa Fe and the RAV4, but it has been compared in clinics to the Highlander, Pilot, and Murano. The car-based crossover will be offered in a FWD configuration, with AWD optional. The 3.5-liter V6 (from the Sebring) is guaranteed to be one of the several offerings. And, as seen in previous pictures, the base engine will be a 2.4-liter powerplant with 170+ horsepower.

Our new Dodge Crew page is at - please visit that page for updates!

The photo below is from a “blind” drive clinic in Southern California; it shows the JC49 to be built in Toluca, based on the Chrysler Sebring platform. Chrysler may eventually get a version of this vehicle, which might or might not be called the PT Cruiser; it’s scheduled for about 25% of the production total, and would have completely different sheet metal. This vehicle is engineered and styled with Europe in mind.

Brendy Priddy wrote, “Codenamed JC49, this new SUV will be built on the Sebring platform, with production scheduled to start in December of 2007, and an on-sale date of early 2008. Because of the timing, we’re not sure if they’ll choose to call it a 2008 model...the most unexpected (and interesting) feature that stands out in these images is the dual exhaust!” Numerous engines are rumored but the 3.5 liter is almost certain.

An anonymous benefactor wrote, “Too bad no one has interior spy shots as this car has a unique looking interior with the radio located below the HVAC controls, and on models with the back-up camera, the camera too is below the HVAC controls. The nav models have the nav screen up above the HVAC controls (on lesser models this is a storage bin), and the controls for the nav are below the HVAC where the radios would be in lesser models. The cluster has a jeweled look and I'd have to say is very nice. Hopefully the spies can get some pics of this interior as it is worth seeing.”

The new crossover is a little larger than the Honda CR-V, Hyundai Santa Fe, and Toyota RAV-4. In this clinic, the Dodge was being compared with the Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, Nissan Murano, and Santa Fe. It is planned as a front driver with all wheel drive optional. The 3.5 liter V6 with six-speed automatic is an almost certain top-end option; this particular vehicle had dual exhaust.

Chrysler and Dodge crossovers coded JC49 and JZ49 are set to be produced starting in December 2007, with large-scale exports to Europe starting in 2010 (perhaps set to coincide with a new diesel powerplant? Chrysler is working on a four-cylinder diesel even now, though no factory has been announced to produce it yet). The JC49, at least, is planned to be part of Chrysler’s long-delayed serious entry into Europe. One of them might be named PT Cruiser but would not be recognizable to current owners. The Toluca plant is set for a $1 billion upgrade to allow production of the new crossover alongside the PT Cruiser; it built 177,370 PT Cruisers in 2005, not bad for a “fad car” in its fifth year (2007 will be the seventh year, including 2001). A JZ49 version of the Dodge crossover may arrive around 2010.

Brendy Priddy wrote, “In addition to this Dodge, the Chrysler brand may also get a version of this. Referred to as the JZ49, Chrysler’s Sebring-based crossover will likely not arrive before the 2010 model year and may (or may not) replace the retro-styled PT Cruiser. Wearing completely unique sheetmetal, the Chrysler model will only account for 25% of the total units built.”

We now understand the name of the Dodge version will the Dodge Crew, while the Chrysler will indeed take over from the PT Cruiser, albeit having nothing in common with the current model.

DCX reportedly plans to stop PT Cruiser production in 2009, using the newly-found capacity to export 60,000 D-segment crossover vehicles to Northern Europe.

The JC49 will also be built in China for local use

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