New Grand Wagoneer Concept drives Jeep deep into premium vehicle territory
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.