We've seen all sorts of fully clad shots of Dodge's new crossover car-based ute, but this is the first time we've seen it disrobed in any way. True, it's just sans black leather chaps on the doors, roof and grille, but it's most assuredly the new "top-secret" crossover. Sources close to the Dodge division have called it the "Crew," but we do know the codename — JC49. After the jump, we've got what we've been told by spy photog Brenda Priddy about the "Crew" spotted in these new Chris Doane-snapped shots:
"The JC49...will be built in Toluca, Mexico. It 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 - or an early 2009.
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.
Size-wise, the new crossover measure in a bit larger than the Honda's CR-V, Hyundai's Santa Fe and the Toyota RAV4 - and hopes to compete directly with Ford's new Edge. But we've spotted it in consumer clinics being compared to Toyota's Highlander, the Honda Pilot, and Nissan's Murano - as well as the Santa Fe.
The car-based crossover will be offered in a FWD configuration, with AWD optional.
We've heard lot's of speculation regarding engines and transmissions (I could provide you with a LONG list!), but 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."