After a wait that stretched several years, and a story that had more twists and turns then a Tom Clancy novel, the Jeep Grand Wagoneer Concept is finally here. It revives an iconic Jeep nameplate, and promises to be a serious attempt at giving Jeep a contender against rivals such as the Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator and even the legendary Range Rover SUV.
It aims to do this with an interior that doubles down on providing heritage-filled luxury to buyers, while having modern exterior styling that is a welcome blend of the past and the present.
The Grand Wagoneer certainly has the tools to be a formidable contender, but there’s actually a lot going on under the skin that will make it the most technologically advanced Jeep ever made.
Here are the five most important things to know about the Jeep Grand Wagoneer Concept.
While the Grand Wagoneer is the latest attempt by Jeep to produce a three-row SUV entry, it’s far from being the first. The brand’s last attempt was the Jeep Commander, which was produced for the bulk of the 2000s. Conceived on a shoe-string budget and featuring compromised styling, the Commander failed to impress and was unceremoniously axed a few years later.
Unlike that model, the Grand Wagoneer was obviously created with FCA throwing everything short of the kitchen sink into the table in an all out bet to try and impress buyers. The front fascia does share much of its basic shape with the smaller Grand Cherokee, but it brings a number of premium touches to make it stand out from the crowd. Jeep’s familiar seven-slot grille is still present, but each of the spaces in between the slots is illuminated with LED lighting to help create a distinct pattern at night. Jeep claims that it also helps emphasize the width of the Grand Wagoneer.
This is even more apparent when one looks at the sides and rear of the concept. Unlike the fore-mentioned Commander, the look is much more unified, and allows the Grand Wagoneer to have an elegant profile that is unified and distinctive. This will be key, since the Grand Wagoneer will be charging into a crowded segment filled with some big names, and having a way to stand out from the crowd will give it a distinct advantage.
A key thing that will make the Grand Wagoneer stand out from the rest of the Jeep lineup is the incredible amount of detail that went into its cabin design. The world swooned when the Lincoln Navigator set the bar on what an elegant luxury SUV interior should be a few years ago, and it appears that the Grand Wagoneer not only surpassed that measuring stick but also outright crushed it.
The seven-passenger cabin oozes luxury, and Jeep designers added splashes of teak wood accents to help project a durable but elegant motif. Some of the materials themselves are also environmentally friendly, with the glass for the sunroof being made from a fully recyclable material. As for the upholstery, that’s made out of PUR a sustainable synthetic material that further pushes the concept’s ultra luxury intentions to the fore-front.
But all these nods to the environment would not have much sizzle if the cabin didn’t have the technology to match its rivals punch for punch. A key feature will be the abundance of screens, with Jeep claiming that nearly 45-inches of screen was used from one end of the instrument panel to the other.
While other offerings have included things such as a fully digital instrument cluster and a massive infotainment screen, the Wagoneer does something unusual and gives front passengers a screen of their own to use. The 10.25-inch screen is supposed to give front passengers the ability to control a wide range of functions, including seat adjustments and climate functions.
Second row passengers also get screens of their own, with a 10.25-inch comfort display nestled in a console between the two captain’s chairs, and separate 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment screens on each seatback. With the original Grand Wagoneer being known for having a distinctively analog cabin, the revived model’s attempts at fully digitizing it are certainly a welcome departure from form — and an experiment that few others in the segment are even doing with their current offerings.
Look for Uconnect 5 to also play a key role in the Grand Wagoneer experience. This system is the first of its kind to be designed around Android sourced software, and as a result, it should offer a far more seamless operating experience when paired with Android Auto and other Google based software.
It wasn’t too long ago that FCA was known for being behind the curve when it came to electrification and green vehicle technology, but the Grand Wagoneer Concept appears to show after a long slumber, FCA is finally ready to play with the established brands in this regard. The concept comes equipped with a plug-in hybrid powertrain, and will be the latest example of Jeep’s broader initiative of electrifying the bulk of its model lineup over the next few years.
In the case of the Grand Wagoneer, it’s also a case of figuratively going full circle in this regard, with its ancestor struggling to go more 10 mpg in city and freeway driving when equipped with the 5.9-liter V-8. It’s unknown what kind of driving range the concept packs, but we suspect it’s far above those rather paltry figures.
In addition to embracing electrification, look for the production Grand Wagoneer to still offer buyers plenty of traditional performance options, with a base V-6 being joined by an optional V-8 engine to help bring the fight to some of its rivals.
It’s no secret that Jeep likes to pay tribute to its heritage when it comes to some of the Easter eggs that it adds to all of its models, and the Grand Wagoneer concept appears to show that things will not only continue in this regard, but also elevate things to new innovative levels.
The large panoramic sunroof, for example, contains a map of the Detroit area, and the “Grand Wagoneer” lettering on each side features a prominent American flag emblem that helps pay tribute to the Grand Wagoneer’s home country.
This heritage helps connect the Grand Wagoneer with some of its customers, and is also a nod to the iconic past that the Grand Wagoneer has. With the bulk of its rivals often sacrificing some of there roots to achieve a sleeker styling statement, it’s good to see that the Jeep is still paying proper homage to the brand’s history, while also soldiering the Grand Wagoneer into a new age.
While the Grand Wagoneer Concept previews the finer side of life, it’s only one part of the story, with a lesser Wagoneer model being available for those that either want a value-focused three-row offering, or something to take out on the trail. Jeep has not released any images of this particular version, but look for the styling to be largely similar to the concept, though it will make do without some of the more elegant adornments that define its ritizer “Grand” badge sibling.
This will also allow the Wagoneer to be the volume seller of the lineup, with the variant doing battle with mainstream rivals such as the Toyota Sequoia, Chevrolet Suburban and lower grades of Ford Expedition. The Wagoneer could also serve as a compelling platform for future special edition models, especially those that are distinctively more focused towards busting through rough trails.
The Jeep Grand Wagoneer concept certainly hits all the right notes for SUV buyers. While it’s not quite ready for full production just yet — it’s slated for production in the 2022 model year — the concept does show Jeep is willing to take the full-size SUV segment very seriously, especially in providing buyers a unique ownership experience. With the sales race heating up in the large SUV segment, the Wagoneer family has the potential to be a very potent disrupting force, especially in regards to some of the interior innovations that it brings to the table.
With the Grand Wagoneer being a near production but still a concept, we will have to wait a bit to find out things such as fuel economy, pricing and final engine lineup. But it’s known that the Wagoneer lineup will be built at FCA’s new plant in Detroit. The facility is currently under construction on Mack Avenue, but when it’s completed, the SUV will share production space with the next generation Grand Cherokee, as well as some of the brand’s upcoming PHEV models.
Be sure to visit our full photo gallery of every photo we got from Jeep on the Grand Wagoneer Concept. But here’s a few more shots to whet your appetite.