In 2021 the Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will return as the brand’s new competitor to the full size SUVs from Ford, Lincoln, the GM triplets and even higher end brands like Range Rover and Mercedes Benz. Revealed this month, the Grand Wagoneer Concept is all but the very production vehicle that goes on sale early next year.
Based loosely on the full-size RAM 1500 light truck architecture, the new Wagoneers roll large on six-lug wheels up to 24-inches in diameter and will reach up into $100,000 price levels on fully loaded models. Specs weren’t given but I expect both the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer to size in closely along with both short and long versions of its American competitors.
This puts the new SUVs up against long standing American made stalwarts like the Ford Expedition, Lincoln Navigator, GM’s Tahoe, Yukon and the Cadillac Escalade but will also credibly catch the eye of the Mercedes-Benz GL, Range Rover and BMW X7 customers looking for luxury but perhaps a bit more a rugged whip.
Styling pulls some retro touches from the original Jeep Wagoneer and Grand from the sixties and later into the eighties with its distinctive chrome grille work but the similarity ends there. Those who had seen concepts from Jeep in the past decade harkening back a bit more directly to the old hat may be a bit disappointed.
That said however the new Wagoneers are a handsome upscale piece with a decidedly bulky profile and a broad shouldered stance that looks much more engaging than Ford’s boring twins even a bit more buff than the all-new GM triplets. Though clearly penned by the same creative souls who inked the latest RAM pickups, I think it’s got a convincing sharp style and swagger that’s needed to sell high-end SUVs.
The Concept features a lot of shiny things, eye-catching flourishes like teak-wood accents and a boatload of LED lighting details – most of which won’t make it to production but the basic styling bones are set. Expect LED headlights, fog lights, tail lights and lots of chrome. Will there be fake wood siding like in the old days? Don’t be surprised if the aftermarket bites on that one.
The interior will for the first time feature three rows of seating with what Jeeps says will be a best-in-class passenger volume which means it’s really big inside. Plenty of technology will abound, showcased in the Concept with a shipping container full of high-end detail and appeal. Notable is a screen in the dash just for your passenger among the others.
Being a concept vehicle, finely stitched leather covers every square inch of the interior, and glass spans the rest along with top-end switchgear and infotainment systems. Experience with Jeep and Ram of late is that the production version won’t be that far off as these brands have gotten very proficient at pulling off top-grade cabins for production.
What I was most curious about is what you can’t see which is what’s under the hood and all this fresh new body work. No specifications were given but the Concept is powered by a new plug-in battery electric hybrid drivetrain which is expected also to be available in the RAM 1500 that utilizes a new hybrid automatic transmission with an electric motor built-in.
What gasoline engine will be part of the hybrid system is not yet announced, though revealed at the same time as this Concept, Jeep showed off the new Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid which features a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and electrified transmission. With 375 horsepower and an astounding 470 pound-feet of torque this is powerful enough but I’m holding out for the possibility of a variant with a larger gas engine in something this large and heavy.
Traditional powertrains are expected to mirror the choices available in higher-end variations of the RAM 1500 including the 5.7-liter V8 and most likely the 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel at least. Jeep says the Wagoneers will have three available 4×4 systems and have standout towing capacity. Though its body-on-frame chassis is based on the RAM 1500, it will have a unique independent rear suspension and the Quadra-Lift air suspension will also be available.
The production version of the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will arrive next year likely as 2022 models and will be built in Warren, Michigan.