It’s been almost a decade since then-Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne announced in 2011 that Jeep’s venerable Grand Wagoneer nameplate would make a return for the 2013 model year as a premium full-size SUV. That 2013 timeline came and went, and sadly, so did Marchionne, who passed away unexpectedly in the summer of 2018, the Grand Wagoneer still just a gathering of ideas and sketches. Now, FCA (or is that Stellantis?) has given us some details on what the Jeep Grand Wagoneer Concept is (and isn’t) ahead of a scheduled production vehicle debut in summer 2021—or, to hear Jeep boss Christian Meunier say it, “the return of a premier American icon.” Just don’t get too nostalgic; we’ll tell you up front that this is most definitely not your grandfather’s Jeep Grand Wagoneer, in so many ways.
What the Jeep Grand Wagoneer Concept Is
The Grand Wagoneer Concept previews Jeep’s future flagship Wagoneer product line, with the Grand Wagoneer being a three-row, plug-in hybrid-electric full-size SUV that mixes luxurious, old-world artisan touches with class-leading interior space and towing capacity, more digital displays that you can shake a finger at, and lots of technology built in. When the Grand Wagoneer goes from concept to reality next year, Jeep promises three different four-wheel-drive systems to choose from, along with its Quadra-Lift air suspension to keep passengers comfortable over the type of terrain you’d hope to see a Grand Wagoneer tackle.
Though Jeep is keeping its cards close to its chest for now, the Wagoneer name will ultimately be applied to a whole range of Jeep vehicles, varying in wheelbase length and overall size, built on the Ram 1500 platform. “Full coverage” is promised in the premium space, and in fact, Jeep didn’t rule out a two-door Wagoneer variant in a recent virtual media-only event. Key competitors Jeep is targeting for the Wagoneer line include the Range Rover model range and the soon-to-arrive 2021 Cadillac Escalade, which will be available in two wheelbase lengths with a rumored plug-in hybrid variant on the way.
No details were offered on what the Wagoneer’s exact plug-in hybrid powertrain will look like, but it’s likely to be a next-gen evolution of the Atkinson-cycle Pentastar V-6/twin-electric motor combo found in the current Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid. Will the “Grand” in Grand Wagoneer denote a top trim level or a long-wheelbase version? All we know is that it will be more expensive. Plan on the base Wagoneer starting around $60,000 and the Grand Wagoneer cresting the $100,000 mark, Jeep says.
Jeep Grand Wagoneer Exterior Design
Think of the classic Jeep Grand Wagoneers from the 1960s through the early 1990s and you’re likely to recall the elegant wood-grain sides, the chrome seven-slot grille, the inimitable stance of the rough-and-rugged go-anywhere suspension, wheels, and tires, and a broad expanse of front hood packing plenty of pep. It’s tough to see much of that classic Grand Wagoneer shining through in the new Jeep Grand Wagoneer Concept, but some of the details attempt to grab hold of the old magic. That seven-slot front grille remains, now highlighted in Obsidian Black, backlit with LED bulbs, and detailed with minute latticework in a play to craftsmanship. The Obsidian Black Treatment is also found on the massive 24-inch aluminum wheels and front skid plate, contrasting nicely with the Grand Wagoneer Concept’s Arctic Ice white paint. Token tow hooks flank the front bumper to add a modicum of functional style.
Small details continue in the LED projector headlights which have genuine teak wood inside the housings, as do the tie-down rails which straddle the Grand Wagoneer Concept’s full-pane glass roof. On the front doors, aluminum Grand Wagoneer badging identifies the large SUV with an American flag playing to the patriot. The Grand Wagoneer Concept’s LED tail lights sit above what is said to be a functional rear diffuser, with a backlit Grand Wagoneer emblem on the electrically operated tailgate. Clearly, quite a lot of small detail work has gone into the concept’s design (and yes, it’s tough to pull off wood-grain side panels these days, so Jeep was probably right to not even try) but taken as a whole, there’s not much to visually link this rather staid concept with its forebears.
Jeep Grand Wagoneer Concept Interior Design
The picture gets a little rosier on the inside of the Jeep Grand Wagoneer Concept, where Jeep pledges class-leading interior volume, and possibly the widest cabin on the road today. This sheer width is accentuated by an aluminum trim piece, said to be structural, that runs the full length of the dashboard and contains inlaid heat-treated lacewood accents. The same raw aluminum trim can be found on the shift knob, ventilation surrounds, and door-mounted speaker grilles. Meanwhile, more wood and onyx glass highlight the dash, as does an aluminum Grand Wagoneer emblem on the passenger side.
At the end of the dashboard, visible only with the front doors open, an aluminum plate is inscribed with “1963”, the first Wagoneer model year, and a concept vehicle silhouette. The two-spoke steering wheel also subtly pays homage to the original Wagoneer design. The broad center console is fitted with ample-looking storage compartments and separate armrests for driver and front passenger.
If you’re interacting with the Jeep Grand Wagoneer Concept from inside the cabin, it’s mostly through an array of screens—some 45 inches’ worth on the dashboard alone. These displays break down like this: There’s a 12.3-inch instrument panel for the driver, a central 12.1 inch horizontal touchscreen at the top of the center stack for entertainment, navigation, and most other functions, a 10.25-inch display ahead of the passenger, and a 10.25-inch touchscreen at the base of the center stack for climate and seat comfort settings. The climate display rotates out of the way to reveal a storage compartment behind it.
An additional three screens populate the second row, with a 10.1-inch screen between the front seats, with individual 10.1-inch touchscreens for entertainment directly ahead of each second-row captain’s chair. Sadly, third-row occupants are out of luck, despite Jeep claiming room for full-grown adults in the rearmost seats. The main display screens run FCA’s new Uconnect 5 infotainment software, which the automaker claims runs five times quicker than Uconnect 4 and allows for greater user customization. There’s even a mode we were shown in which all infotainment displays show a crackling fireplace. Gimmicky, but unique.
Other interesting interior touches include a starter button housed in a leather and aluminum surround, and a McIntosh premium stereo system with 23 speakers and 24 channels. Virtual replicas of McIntosh’s famous cool-blue illuminated analog level indicators can be toggled via the display, though the system is not tube-driven as the brand’s most famous audiophile-grade stereos are. The gear selector is an aluminum rotary dial on the rather broad center console with drive mode settings to either side. As head of FCA design Ralph Gilles puts it, the Grand Wagoneer Concept, “is a level of premium execution that we’ve never done before.”
What the Jeep Grand Wagoneer Isn’t
Jeep reps are careful to note that the Jeep Grand Wagoneer Concept is just that: a concept. As such, Jeep is reluctant to tell us how much of what we see here will be found on the production version next year. Many of the more interesting touches like the finely detailed starter button and the teak inlays on the roof racks and headlamps are still not confirmed for prime time. Likewise, Jeep says no deal has yet been inked with McIntosh to supply a stereo to the production Jeep Grand Wagoneer. (Incidentally, the last time we recall a McIntosh stereo in an automotive application was as an optional extra in the original 2005-2006 Ford GT.) We’ll be sure to bring you more on the upcoming 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer production vehicle, to be produced at FCA’s Warren, Michigan plant, as it becomes available.
2020 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Concept Summary
- Current 2020 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Concept is not production-ready; expect to see a production model in summer 2021 as a 2022 model.
- Production will be in Warren, MI alongside Ram 1500, which shares its platform.
- The Wagoneer name will be applied to a full range of premium Jeep products in time, all with some degree of electrification.
- The production Grand Wagoneer will be a plug-in hybrid, possibly using an up-rated version of the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid’s V-6/twin electric motor powertrain.
- Jeep says to expect best-in-class interior space and towing capability along with a premium driving experience and plenty of fresh technology.
- The Jeep Grand Wagoneer Concept has a total of six digital displays, with three each in the first and second of its three rows.
- Real teak wood and aluminum accent elements are used in the concept, but it’s unclear if these will make it to production.
- The traditional Jeep seven-slot grille is backlit on the concept, as are the “Grand Wagoneer” badges.
- A premium stereo option by McIntosh is shown on the concept, but again is not yet approved for production.
- Jeep sees its primary competitors in this premium SUV space as Range Rover and Cadillac.
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