Good News for the Not-Quite-Eco Crowd: The Jeep Wagoneer Lives

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

We’ve talked an awful lot about fuel-sipping hybrids and virtuous electric vehicles in recent days; so much so, one could forget that a great number of buyers want nothing more than to take home the biggest, most spacious SUV on the road today. Ford sells plenty of Expeditions and Lincoln Navigators, and General Motors decided the time was right for an even larger Chevrolet Suburban, GMC Yukon, and Cadillac Escalade.

Big still sells, so it’s no wonder that Fiat Chrysler wants a piece of the action. It’s frankly bizarre that the automaker went the past decade without a full-size SUV.

Well, that streak will soon end, as there’s now rolling proof of the Jeep Wagoneer’s looming return.

Spy photos that hit the web Monday (see the Motor Authority-published pics here) shows a hulking, camo-clad behemoth stopped alongside a road, tilted somewhat alarmingly into a ditch. Seems a tow truck arrived to put the thing back on level ground. (No word on what that apparent drama was about).

Large and mostly in charge, the three-row vehicle’s FCA origins are clear, despite the layer of bulky clothes. FCA’s plan is to stage a two-pronged assault on the full-size SUV segment, fielding both the Wagoneer and ultra-lux Grand Wagoneer in a bid to battle both its mainstream and premium domestic competition. The vehicle is based off the new-for-2019 Ram 1500, though its role as plush family hauler means the rear suspension swaps to an independent setup (this can clearly be seen in the butt shots).

We can also see that the Ram’s 12-inch vertical infotainment screen makes an appearance in this vehicle, too.

As for what’s under the hood, it’s anyone’s guess, as the duo will be able to field whatever’s found in the 1500, surely mated to an eight-speed automatic. Jeep might even end up offering the automaker’s EcoDiesel V6 to counter the availability of a light-duty diesel inline-six in GM’s big boys. Standard mild hybrid power will be a must for the gasoline powerplants, as this vehicle will undoubtedly boast a significant curb weight — and FCA’s already in the EPA’s bad books.

The automaker claims “electrified” versions of both will see the light of day. This environmental offset could allow room for even brawnier variants to exist, but there’s no official word on that.

Construction of the Grand Wagoneer and its dressed-down sibling will take place at Warren Truck Assembly, recent recipient of $1.5 billion in retooling and modernization costs. Expect to see it appear sometime in 2021, possibly as a 2022 model. While the automaker originally slated the Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer’s launch for early 2021, the lengthy pandemic shutdown likely saw that timetable pushed back.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Superdessucke Superdessucke on Jun 08, 2020

    Wow. Where are the white wall tires? Grand Wagoneer has always had white wall tires and chrome or silver rims. The rims on the spy photo are wannabe sports truck wheels. I hope that's just for the spy picture

    • See 2 previous
    • Superdessucke Superdessucke on Jun 09, 2020

      @Superdessucke I mean, can you just imagine this luscious paint scheme on a huge Explorer? So choice! It would almost make these huge vehicles' presence tolerable. I'd never buy one, of course, but it'd be fun for the rest of us to look at.

  • White Shadow White Shadow on Jun 08, 2020

    I'm on my third Grand Cherokee in a row (currently have a 2019 Trailhawk) and none of them have given me a single problem, in warranty or out. Before switching to Jeep, I had two 4Runners in a row (3rd gen, then 4th gen and both of them had issues even while still under warranty. Keeps are fantastic winter vehicles with amazing capability for people like me who can't get to my winter cabin with a lesser vehicle. I also ski, kayak, and mountain bike regularly, so it fits my lifestyle very well. No need to bash people who choose utility vehicle, especially when they are as good as a Grand Cherokee. Oh, and for the record,I also own a daily drive manual transmission sports car too.

    • Lie2me Lie2me on Jun 09, 2020

      I had three Grand Cherokees myself, my second one needed a trans at 130K, but the other two were problem free

  • Bd2 Probably too late to do anything about it for the launch, but Kia should plan on doing an extensive refresh of the front fascia (the earlier, the better) as the design looks really ungainly.
  • Namesakeone Since I include SUVs and minivans as trucks, I really cannot think of a brand that is truly truckless. MG maybe?
  • Sobhuza Trooper Subaru, they were almost there with the BRAT. --On a lighter note, where the hell is my Cooper Works Mini truck?
  • Mike Evs do suck, though. I mean, they really do.
  • Steve Biro I don’t care what brand but it needs to be a compact two-door with an ICE, traditional parallel hybrid or both. A manual transmission option would be nice but I don’t expect it - especially with a hybrid. Don’t show me an EV.