Jeep Grand Wagoneer Concept Revealed Looking Very Production-Ready
The Jeep Wagoneer family, including the premium Grand Wagoneer, is one of the automaker’s flagship vehicles. Other than the CJ and Wrangler, perhaps no other vehicle is as instantly recognizable as a Jeep than the original Wagoneer (codename SJ). We’ve been anticipating the big Jeep’s return for some time, and today the company is finally throwing a bone at us.
There is a caveat, however. The Grand Wagoneer revealed today is technically a concept, which means we still have a fair bit of road ahead to reach our dealer-ready destination. But as concepts evolve, this one feels quite production-friendly, without the oversized wheels, impractical lighting elements, and tiny to non-existent side mirrors typically seen in design studies. Instead, the Grand Wagoneer Concept looks everyone like the machine we might see in dealer showrooms for the 2022 model year. Whether we like this look or not depends on who you ask, though.
Some of us staff members are absolutely in love with the look of the seven-seat Jeep Grand Wagoneer concept. Its bold front end features a new slim take on the brand’s seven-slot grille, topped with narrow knife-blade headlights. On the concept, a front LED light bar spans the entire width of the SUV, intersecting with the top of the grille and providing a solid basis for the concept’s ‘WAGONEER’ hood logo – the Jeep script found on the nose of the Grand Cherokee is missing, you will notice.
The chin-shaped front bumper features two stacked openings, with tow hooks located in the lower intake and attractive fog lights shrouded in the upper opening. A generous strip of burnished chrome sweeps through both, and the lower front bumper (with rocker panels, lower rear bumper, and roof) is painted in Bronze Gray Metallic.
This contrast painted roof is the most compelling styling feature of the side view, somewhat reminiscent of the old Ford Flex. The Grand Wagoneer Concept incorporates a painted A-pillar, however, modernizing the look. The B, C, and D-pillars are body color, and the window openings and the contrast roof are edged in that same dark chrome. The “GRAND WAGONEER” badge, filled with an American flag, appears on the lower front doors, leaving no doubt as to the heritage or origin of this vehicle. God bless America.
At the rear, the license plate opening is incorporated into the tailgate using an outline that recalls the shape of the front grille, an effect that fits into the nearly full tail light panel width. The square, recessed tailgate window makes us wonder if it retracts into the tailgate, much like the original Wagoneer (or the more contemporary Toyota Sequoia and 4Runner) – Jeep’s mention of ‘open-air freedom’ in the press release made us all the more curious. Fortunately free of false skid plates, the rear bumper lines up perfectly with the vertical rear end.
That said, we wish the Grand Wagoneer concept was a bit more retro-inspired. The right rear, contrast painted roof, high bonnet and rear windshield remind some of us of the Rivian R1S, while the illuminated, chrome grille looks a bit like that of the upcoming GMC Hummer EV. Your author, for example, thinks the concept is a handsome SUV, but a milquetoast Grand Wagoneer. A flat belt line that even sits with the hood and a triangular D-pillar would do wonders to connect this modern machine to its legendary ancestor.
One area where the Grand Wagoneer concept leaves its old man in the dust is cabin technology. The sleekly styled cockpit is packed with modern touches, including seven, count them seven, information displays that run Uconnect 5, which Jeep says is five times faster than the already excellent Uconnect 4. The driver sits behind a reconfigurable screen. 12.3-inch, while the passenger receives their own 10.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system directly on the dashboard.
A split-screen layout similar to Land Rover’s TouchPro Duo appears in the center console, with a 12.1-inch top screen serving as the primary infotainment system. A lower 10.3-inch touchscreen mounted near the center console is called a “comfort display,” with operating features like seat massage and lumbar adjustments. A few stiff climate controls join with a volume control and knob, providing a few logical analog inputs to accompany the heavy digital front cabin.
In the rear, rear passengers get their own 10.3-inch center console screen. Jeep hasn’t explained what this feature does, but we think it probably handles the air conditioning and seat controls. Additionally, a 10.1-inch touchscreen appears on each front seatback for the rear entertainment system. McIntosh Lab audio appears in the Grand Wagoneer concept, which represents a rare foray into in-car audio for the company.
Made in a sustainable way
A lavishly styled interior houses all this extended technology. Jeep placed particular emphasis on renewable luxury for the interior of the Grand Wagoneer. For example, the seats, dashboard and door panels are not made of leather, but of PUR, a synthetic material that is produced in a sustainable manner. Dinamica recyclable suede appears on the headliner, while premium carpets are made from Thrive fiber with recycled content.
The distinctive shape of the dashboard fender is carved from structural aluminum and inlaid with 3D surface lace wood, the latter also appearing on the door panels and center console. Jeep claims to have chosen the material to recall the iconic wooden exterior panels of the vintage SUV, telling “a new chapter in the original story of the Grand Wagoneer in a modern way.”
Whichever way you spin it, the interior seems like a fabulous place to hang out. Clever details abound, such as an aluminum wordmark inscribed directly on the passenger-side wood trim and an engraved “East”. 1963 ”on the dashboard caps – hidden when the doors are closed – recalling the model year of the first Wag. A steering wheel bearing the Grand Wagoneer badge looks appropriately chic and is also reminiscent of the original SUV with its two-spoke design.
Electrified for the future
Jeep has already promised an electrified variant of each of its models – including the legendary Wrangler – in the next few years, and it makes sense that the Wagoneer will be part of that plan. The concept, for example, includes a plug-in hybrid powertrain, although details are scarce. FCA’s only current plug-in is the Pacifica Hybrid, although we doubt the vehicle’s 3.6-liter V6 and continuously variable transmission are under the Wag. Instead, the concept could feature a 5.7-liter V8 with plug-in technology, producing somewhere in the neighborhood of 450 horsepower and 500 pound-feet (336 kilowatts and 678 newton-meters).
The production Grand Wagoneer will likely only offer an optional rechargeable powertrain. It’s possible that a long-talked-about inline-six will make its FCA debut on the Wagoneer, and given that the SUV is expected to share much of its structure with the Ram 1500, we think the eTorque mild hybrid V8 5.7-liter will be available as an intermediate option. The rechargeable powertrain will likely be the flagship engine for the Jeep brand.
Almost any Jeep short of an SRT has reasonable off-road capability, and we see no reason to expect less from the Grand Wagoneer. The company promises three available four-wheel drive systems, Quadra-Lift air suspension on independent front and rear axles, and unmatched towing capacity. Given that the Grand Wagoneer is expected to compete with the Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon, Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator, a maximum towing capacity of over 9,000 pounds seems likely.
Concept in name only
Given its proportions and seemingly production-ready specs, we think the Grand Wagoneer seen here is just a slightly hazy glimpse of the new SUV. Additionally, Jeep says Wagoneer will become a premium “vehicle portfolio”, possibly indicating luxury variants of existing models or an entirely new sub-brand of Jeep vehicles.
The company has confirmed that the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will both be built in Warren, Mich., With production beginning next year at the same plant that builds the Ram 1500. Expect the Wagoneer to be built in Warren, Mich. Commodity specifications continue the Chevrolet Tahoe and Ford expeditions, while the more luxurious Grand Wagoneer will target the Lincoln Navigator, Cadillac Escalade and Range Rover. With rivals like this, we think the Wagoneer will start at $ 45,000, with the Grand Wagoneer going for $ 60,000.