Jeep Grand Wagoneer Concept: Big Things Ahead

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
jeep grand wagoneer concept big things ahead

It’s not the production model, but it’s the closest we’ve gotten so far to Jeep’s returning full-size SUV. Sport-utility family, to be clear, as Jeep plans to offer its body-on-frame rig in a variety of flavors.

Entry-level Wagoneer will give way to the high-zoot Grand Wagoneer — a vehicle Fiat Chrysler claims will redefine “American premium” by offering a plug-in hybrid variant and a host of “ultra-premium leading-edge features and technology.”

Alas, the real thing remains distant. Scheduled to go into production in the second quarter of 2021 at Warren Truck Assembly, the actual Grand Wagoneer is heralded by a “vision of what [the] production vehicle could be.”

Feast your eyes.

Certainly, the production Grand Wagoneer will be packaged similarly to the concept; both are meant to be hulking, three-row SUVs with obvious Jeep heritage splayed across the front end. It remains to be seen whether the unexpectedly slim seven-slot grille keeps its LED accents. The shiny latticework might remain. Inside, the fully digital cockpit, if FCA can pull it off, would serve as a fitting rebuke to Cadillac’s new-for-2021 Escalade and its IMAX-worthy curved dash screen.

Will front-seat passengers really be able to fiddle with their own screen? Time will tell. Between the four screens (driver information display, over-and-under center stack touchscreens, and passenger-side dash), there’s nearly 45 inches of LCD up front. It certainly looks like backseat passengers won’t want for audiovisual distraction, either, what with the twin 10.1-inch touchscreens in the second row. A new Uconnect 5 infotainment system ropes together all of these screens.

Between those cushy front chairs, a jewel-like rotary shift knob looks like it’s been ripped out of a Victorian futurist’s time machine.

As for the full-length glass roof, surely Jeep plans for significant glass acreage up top come production time, but the overlay of a map of Detroit onto the concept’s glass is a gimmicky touch that surely won’t see a showroom. With the concept’s pillars rising like stone columns in a Roman ruin, free of a ceiling to hold up, one wonders if a conventional roof — even with panoramic sunroof — would help the side-on visuals.

Elsewhere, Obsidian black grille accents, as well as an aluminum front skid plate in the same shade, could easily appear on the actual Grand Wagoneer. Those monstrous 24-inch wheels likely will not. The cabin, furnished in rich leather with raw aluminum and onyx glass trim and highlighted by ambient lighting, seems to be chasing the Lincoln Navigator Black Label. It’s a level of refinement one wouldn’t normally associate with the Jeep brand.

There’s even teak to be found outside the cabin, surrounding the LED headlamps and making up part of the roof rails. You don’t want for a yacht with this concept.

“We strived to create an elegant design with a timeless silhouette, featuring countless beautifully crafted details that come together to give it an undeniable presence,” said FCA design boss Ralph Gilles in a statement.

Viewed from the rear, the Grand Wagoneer Concept’s LED taillamps (a strong horizontal line that doesn’t quite touch in the middle, underscored by four lenses on each side, looks understated and modern, but the very upright rear glass and D-pillars seems somewhat out of place. Yes, the original Wagoneer family sported utilitarian styling and upright greenhouses, but the added length here, when coupled with the tall rear and blacked-out roof, seems off. Maybe it’s just this writer’s eyes. After all, GM’s full-size trio aren’t exactly coupe material.

Still… it’s possible to be too minimalist when dealing with this amount of real estate.

Sadly, Jeep wasn’t in the mood to share powertrain details, though it did state that the production vehicle will be able to drive electrically for certain intervals, as all Jeep models will within a few years. As stated before, the pinnacle of Jeep will come in many grades.

“When the production version of the Grand Wagoneer arrives next year, it will boast leading capability courtesy of three available 4×4 systems and the renowned Quadra-Lift air suspension, premium driving dynamics with an independent front and rear suspension, unmatched towing capability, powerful performance, advanced technology, safety and connectivity, a new level of comfort and overall passenger volume – all wrapped in a stunning, elegant new design.”

That’s FCA’s take on it. Now, what’s yours?

[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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  • 17andCounting 17andCounting on Sep 07, 2020

    Expensive, luxurious, tall, not ugly, cleverly disguised minivan. Predict it will sell well. FCA needs it to.

  • 17andCounting 17andCounting on Sep 07, 2020

    Expensive, luxurious, tall, not ugly, cleverly disguised minivan. Predict it will sell well. FCA needs it to.

  • SCE to AUX Probably couldn't afford it - happens all the time.
  • MaintenanceCosts An ugly-a$s Challenger with poor equipment choices and an ugly Dealership Default color combination, not even a manual to redeem it, still no sale.
  • Cha65689852 To drive a car, you need human intelligence, not artificial intelligence.Unfortunately, these days even human brains are turning into mush thanks to addiction to smartphones and social media.
  • Mike1041 A nasty uncomfortable little car. Test drove in 2019 in a search for a single car that would appease two drivers. The compromise was not much better but at least it had decent rear vision and cargo capacity. The 2019 Honda HRV simply was too unforgiving and we ditched after 4 years. Enter the 23 HRV and we have a comfy size.
  • SCE to AUX I wonder who really cares about this. "Slave labor" is a useful term for the agendas of both right and left."UAW Wants Auto Industry to Stop Using Slave Labor"... but what will the UAW actually do if nothing changes?With unrelenting downward pressure on costs in every industry - coupled with labor shortages - expect to see more of this.Perhaps it's my fault when I choose the $259 cell phone over the $299 model, or the cheaper parts at RockAuto, or the lower-priced jacket at the store.Do I care about an ethical supply chain? Not really, I just want the product to work - and that's how most consumers are. We'd rather not know.Perhaps the 1990s notion of conflict-free, blood-free, ethically-sourced diamonds will find its way into the auto industry. That would be a good thing.
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