Concept Cars

New Grand Wagoneer Concept drives Jeep deep into premium vehicle territory

The Grand Wagoneer Concept appears to be pretty close to what we'll see IRL from the model when it arrives next year.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The Grand Wagoneer is back! Well, almost. Before the production-ready version of the SUV makes its way to showrooms across the U.S., Jeep is showing off the Grand Wagoneer Concept.

If you were hoping for a completely retro style throwback, prepare to be disappointed. However, there are design nods to the nameplate's heritage throughout the concept that, with any luck, will make it into production.

Born in America in 1962, Wagoneer evolved to Grand Wagoneer in 1984. It left the Jeep lineup in 1991 but has become a hot commodity as buyers appear willing to pay upwards of $100,000 for a used model.

2020 Grand Wagoneer Concept The model features a familiar rectangular backPhoto courtesy of FCA US LLC

"Our new Grand Wagoneer Concept marks the first step in the rebirth of Wagoneer – a true and rare premium American icon," said Christian Meunier, Global President of the Jeep brand – FCA. "With the electrification of each Jeep nameplate coming in the next few years, and the reintroduction of Wagoneer, we are quickly expanding into new segments and more premium space.

Jeep has given the concept a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle powertrain and 4x4 off-road system. Though it's just a concept, Jeep has confirmed that the model will get a Quadra-Lift air suspension, an independent front and rear suspension, "unmatched towing capability", and "powerful performance".

To achieve the "unmatched towing capability", it is likely that the model will have to be able to tow over the 8,500-pound high water mark that the Nissan Armada has set for three-row SUVs.

As shown, the SUV wears an Artic Ice exterior paint color.

2020 Grand Wagoneer Concept - Exterior

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The exterior of the concept is just as luxe as the interior, taking Jeep design in a direction it's never gone. There are Obsidian Black accents across the exterior including the Obsidian Black-accented grille that features the brand's iconic seven slots. Each slot has lightweight latticework. The space above and below each is lit creating a new signature LED design.

The grille is flanked by bi-function LED projector headlamps that are also seen on the current Jeep Grand Cherokee. The lamps are housed in teak wood. Below are LED fog lights and an Obsidian Black aluminum front skid plate and two tow hooks.

The design team created a custom-made font for all of the Concept's exterior lettering. It spells out Wagoneer on the front of the SUV, with the letters glowing in darkness thanks to subtle illumination. Raised aluminum letters with copper-side accents spell out "Grand Wagoneer" on the lower third of each front door. An American flag flanks the aluminum letters.

The Wagoneer has the common profile of a three-row SUV, but with a Jeep design twist at the front and rear. The concept rides on 24-inch multi-spoke Obsidian-finished aluminum wheels featuring 3-D printed elements. A three-piece wheel cap features the Wagoneer logo suspended in acrylic.

At the rear are LED taillamps that wrap around the body of the SUV. A rear diffuser sits below the SUV's power tailgate. At the rear, the concept has a back window reminiscent of that in the original iterations of the Grand Wagoneer, as well as a classic-ish stance.

The concept's taillights are designed to work together to create a welcome sequence illumination that engages when activated via remote.

As a nod to its manufacturing home and the Brand's headquarters, the Grand Wagoneer Concept's full-pane glass roof houses a map showcasing Detroit and the surrounding area. Though this likely won't make it into production, the inclusion in the concept is a fun nod to the Easer eggs in design Jeep has become known for. Flanking the roof are four tie-down hooks, each outlined in teak wood.

"The original Grand Wagoneer was the first premium SUV, and its timeless design combined with the soul of Americana helped it achieve an iconic place in many hearts," said Ralph Gilles, Head of Design – FCA.

2020 Grand Wagoneer Concept - Details

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

"The Grand Wagoneer Concept's interior is spacious and features premium materials that accentuate our team's obsession to detail and celebrates American craftsmanship," Gilles added. "A full digital cockpit takes advantage of leading technologies that are beautifully presented with expansive and easy-to-use screens and limited buttons, allowing the focus to be placed on a pleasant and intuitive experience for the driver and passengers."

This concept design marks the first time Jeep has installed a third row in the Grand Wagoneer. It seats seven with captain's chairs in the first and second rows.

The interior of the model features sustainable materials, helping to further advance FCA's continued work to make their models, manufacturing, and design process more sustainable. An onyx glass mid-bolster runs the length of the instrument panel. The glass is a fully recyclable material that is made of an abundant natural raw material.

It appears to float as the eye moves halfway down the console thanks to a bolster made of raw aluminum, which was also chosen as the key material for creating the door speakers, shift knob, and vent surroundings.

2020 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Concept Interior Seats

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Additionally, the SUV's headliner is made of Dinamica — a recyclable premium microfiber suede. The concept's carpets are made from Thrive fiber, which is comprised of recycled content using pre- and post-consumer materials. PUR, a sustainable synthetic material, was chosen to upholster all of the seating, console, door and instrument panel surfaces.

Many of the interior elements were designed to bring back memories of the Grand Wagoneer of yesteryear. The two-spoke steering wheel and "EST. 1963" inscription on the outer edge of the instrument panel just inside the front driver's-side door are two such elements.

Customizable ambient lighting enhances the SUV's interior.

Wood abounds in the cabin. The instrument panel features heat-treated lacewood while the entire panel features a raw edge design.

In front of the driver is a 12.3-inch driver's information screen. In the center of the vehicle is a 12.1-inch horizontal infotainment touch screen with a 10.25-inch horizontal comfort control touch screen below. The concept features a 10.25-innch screen in front of the passenger as well as twin 10.1-inch entertainment screens on the front seatbacks for second-row occupants to enjoy.

2020 Grand Wagoneer Concept - Interior

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The infotainment system runs on FCA"s latest version of Uconnect – Uconnect5

The Grand Wagoneer Concept is the only vehicle audio system in the world powered by McIntosh. The system features 23 custom-designed speakers connected to a 24-channel amplifier. Audio elements are designed in aluminum and Gloss Black.

Jeep's plans for the Wagoneer don't end with just one model. The company plans to deliver Wagoneer as a portfolio of products that they say "redefines 'American Premium' and delivers a unique customer experience".

Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer production vehicles to be built in Warren, Michigan next year.

Expect to hear more from Jeep regarding the Wagoneer brand soon.

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The Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo brings an adventurous spirit to the table.

Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

Imagine a Porsche 911 with a long, wagon-like back end and you end up with something like the Porsche Panamera. Make the 911 a Taycan, Porsche's fully-electric sports sedan, give it a wagon-like back end and increased ground clearance, and you have the 2022 Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo.

Porsche says that the new model "draws on the strengths of its sport sedan sibling" giving buyers an idea of what to expect - a performance-focused driving style, sure-footedness, and a refined interior. The increased ground clearance via a standard air suspension and added cargo capacity make the Taycan Cross Turismo more adventure-ready.

The fresh body style give rear seat occupants 0.35 inches more legroom and 3.62 inches more headroom. With the rear seats folded, there's 42.8 cubic feet of cargo space, about 10 cubic feet less than what's in the 2021 Porsche Macan. With the seats erect, the differential is in the Macan's favor by just under two cubic feet (15.7 vs. 17.6). The Taycan Cross Turismo has 2.9 cubic feet of cargo space in the front, something the Macan doesn't have (because that's where its engine is).

2022 Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo

Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

Roof rails are standard. A roof transport system and rear-mounted bike rack are available via Telequipment. The Off Road Design Package adds additional body cladding and raises the ride height an additional 10 millimeters (0.39 inches).

The boutique automaker will launch the model in four grades: Taycan 4 Cross Turismo, Taycan 4S Cross Turismo, Taycan Turbo Cross Turismo, and Taycan Turbo S Cross Turismo. All models will features dual-motor all-wheel drive, a two-speed rear transmission, Porsche Adaptive Suspension Management in conjunction with air suspension, Performance Battery Plus and its 800-volt battery architecture, adaptive aerodynamics, a panoramic glass roof.

The Taycan Cross Turismo will come standard with a Gravel drive model, meant for driving situations that need more traction than most. But, in no way should the car be considered anything more than dirt-path ready. The car is quipped with more cladding than the traditional Taycan in order to prevent paint chips and body damage.

Porsche says that Taycan Turbo S Cross Turismo can accelerate from a stop to 60 miles per hour in 2.7 seconds while the Taycan Turbo Cross Turismo can make the sprint to 60 mph in just 3.1 seconds. The Taycan 4S Cross Turismo and Taycan 4 Cross Turismo can get to 60 mph in 3.9 and 4.8 seconds respectively.

Three years of free Electrify America charging is also included with every model.

Buyers will be able to order theres in a number of color ways, interior schemes, and Cross Turismo specific items such as the Off Road Design Package and 20-inch Off Road Design or 21-inch Cross Turismo Design wheels. There are 21,000 total combinations based solely on variant, wheel choice, exterior color, and interior selection.

Porsche's PCM infotainment and navigation system are standard. Wireless Apple CarPlay, Function on Demand, Plug and Charge capabilities, Apple Music, over-the-air updates for three years. Bose and Burmester audio systems and 14-way power-adjustable seats with massage functionality are available.

Adaptive cruise control, park assist, a head-up display, and lane keep assist will also be available.

The Taycan Cross Turismo models start at $90,900, not including the $1,350 destination charge. The Taycan Cross Turismo is expected to arrive at U.S. dealerships in summer 2021. EPA range figures will be announced closer to market launch.

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San Jose Hotel engineering manager Rocky Ontiveros, 60, wears a Texas mask on March 3, 2021 in Austin, Texas. Gov. Greg Abbott announced a new executive order that will end the statewide mask mandate and allow businesses to reopen at 100 percent capacity on March 10, 2021.

Photo by Montinique Monroe/Getty Images

Reporting by Automotive News indicates that despite Texas Governor Greg Abbott's executive order lifting the mask mandate statewide and allowing businesses to begin operating at 100-percent capacity again, automakers aren't changing their tune.

This executive order rescinds most of the Governor's earlier executive orders related to COVID-19. The original orders were put in place as a response to rising COVID-19 cases, and related hospitalizations and deaths, in 2020.

The new order removes state regulations and allows private businesses and individuals to decide on their mask wearing protocol and habits. There are currently mask mandates in 35 states and the District of Columbia.

There are fallbacks in place. A release from the Governor's office states, "If COVID-19 hospitalizations in any of the 22 hospital regions in Texas get above 15% of the hospital bed capacity in that region for seven straight days, a County Judge in that region may use COVID-19 mitigation strategies. However, County Judges may not impose jail time for not following COVID-19 orders nor may any penalties be imposed for failing to wear a face mask. If restrictions are imposed at a County level, those restrictions may not include reducing capacity to less than 50% for any type of entity."

Toyota

Toyota, which has a factory in San Antonio, Texas told a reporter with Automotive News that they are looking into the move but don't anticipate any immediate changes to their mask-wearing protocol. Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas, Inc. employs 2,542 people and makes the midsize Tacoma and full-size Tundra pickup trucks.

The automaker as has its North American headquarters in Plano, Texas, a northern suburb of Dallas. That facility employs around 4,400 people, most of whom have been working remotely for the better part of a year.

"The early read is – no change for us," said Scott Vazin, Group Vice President and Chief Communications Officer for Toyota Motor North America, when approached for comment by Automotive News.

Toyota assembly plants traditionally offers tours of its facility to the general public. Due to COVID-19, plant tours have been suspended at all Toyota manufacturing facilities including those in San Antonio; Jackson, Tennessee; Blue Spring, Mississippi; and Troy, Missouri.

General Motors

General Motors (GM) has a big footprint in Texas. The company employs 8,133 people in the Lone Star State and works with 297 suppliers in the state across 13 facilities. Additionally, as of 2020, there are 588 GM dealership franchises in Texas.

The company's Arlington Assembly plant is home to every new full-size SUV in GM's product lineup sold globally: the Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Yukon XL, and the Cadillac Escalade. GM Financial is headquartered in Fort Worth and one of GM's IT Innovation Centers is located in Austin. Assembly plants get much of their power from wind energy harvested from Cactus Flats and Hidalgo wind farms.

There are GM Financial centers in San Antonio, Arlington, and Sugar Land; a customer service center in Austin; a parts distribution site in Fort Worth; GM Financial headquarters in Fort Worth; a commercial lending office and the South Central Regional Office are in Irving.

Patrick Morrissey, Director, Corporate News Relations at GM, told Automotive News, "We'll keep our COVID safety protocols in place to ensure we continue to protect our employees."

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