Report: Chrysler Seven-Passenger Crossover to be Based on Minivan

When Chrysler launches a new seven-passenger crossover in 2017, it will be based on the next-generation of the Chrysler Town & Country minivan. Our colleagues at Motor Trend report that Chrysler brand president and CEO Al Gardner says the seven-passenger crossover will rival popular models like the Chevrolet Traverse and Toyota Highlander.

We already knew such a model would debut soon. In Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' five-year plan, a new "full-size crossover" is penciled in for a 2017 debut. Until now, however, it wasn't clear what platform would be used for the vehicle. One possibility was that an enlarged version of the Dodge Durango could be used, but Gardner told MT that wouldn't give the crossover the space families need.

Instead, Gardner told MT the Chrysler seven-passenger crossover will be front-wheel drive with V-6 power, meaning it will likely be based on the next-generation Chrysler Town & Country minivan that's due one year sooner, in 2016. The logic makes sense: according to the Fiat Chrysler slides, the next Chrysler Town & Country will be offered with traditional and plug-in hybrid powertrains, and the crossover due a year later will likewise feature both traditional gas and plug-in engine choices.

We reported in May that the crossover and minivan will share a new platform that offers both front- and all-wheel drive. That platform will likely also underpin the next-generation Chrysler 300, meaning the large sedan will ditch its rear-drive layout by 2018.

The last time Chrysler offered a large crossover, it was the Aspen that was based on the Dodge Durango. Gardner didn't divulge to MT whether or not that name might return for the new seven-passenger crossover. Incidentally, Fiat Chrysler plans call for the Dodge Grand Caravan to be phased out, meaning the Chrysler Town & Country and crossover will be the company's primary large people-movers.

The current Chrysler Town & Country is pictured.

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It seems pretty clear that Chrysler/Fiat plans to kill off the Dodge car division within the next five years. By moving the best selling Dodge vehicles to Chrysler means Dodge, now lacking RAM trucks will only be a niche vehicle builder.Whether Dodge customers will buy into this is the question. Losing the Plymouth division did not seem to help the old Chrysler corporation in any way shape or form as Chrysler lost many Plymouth buyers to the big two.Perhaps they should ask GM how many Saturn, Pontiac, and Oldsmobile owners still buy GM products.

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