It’s no secret that Jeep has been planning to revive the Grand Wagoneer nameplate, but now there’s something beyond rumors to discuss. Today Jeep took the wraps off the Grand Wagoneer Concept, a massive SUV dressed in what Jeep calls, “American Premium.”
Throughout today’s virtual press conference Jeep made references to the original Grand Wagoneer and how it pioneered the premium SUV segment in its time. While the talking points and abundant Easter eggs sprinkled all over this concept–down to a map of Detroit on the glass roof–suggest this revived Grand Wagoneer is as much about heritage as the Wrangler, the content says otherwise.
In reality, the revived Grand Wagoneer is more about getting FCA into the lucrative full-size SUV field, of which it has been curiously absent and watching General Motors and Ford Motor Company both get rich from selling Chevrolet Tahoes and Ford Expeditions. The Grand Wagoneer is, after all, a familiar recipe: it’s a truck-based large SUV.
And it’s not just any other large SUV. If the Grand Wagoneer Concept tells us anything, it’s that the production version is going all-in on this notion of “American Premium” with loads of luxury goodies that FCA feverishly hopes will differentiate the Wagoneer lineup from cross-town rivals’ options.
The concept features 45 inches of screens just on the instrument panel. There’s another 30 inches of screen for the backseat passengers. Jeep is taking the screen size race so seriously they’ve thrown in a 10-inch touchscreen in front of the front passenger, because reaching over to the massive touchscreen in the center stack may be too difficult for a premium buyer.
All three rows of seats (a Wagoneer first) feature customizable ambient lighting, while there’s extensive use of heat-treated lacewood to pay a small homage to the original “woody” Wagoneers of the 1960’s. Jeep says many of the materials found inside the Grand Wagoneer Concept are also sustainable, including the glass.
Speaking of sustainability, this massive SUV isn’t powered exclusively by a massive V-8 (shocking from the makers of HEMI). Instead the concept features a plug-in hybrid powertrain, which Jeep will offer on all of its lineup at some point. Unfortunately, details of the powertrain were not discussed at today’s reveal.
Even factoring in some of the fancy, concept-only bits, it is clear the Grand Wagoneer is aiming for the top of the full-size SUV pile. In fact, there’s a strong argument that the top-end Grand Wagoneer will be playing in the same sandbox as the likes of the Cadillac Escalade and Range Rover. Given it’s price tag is expected to crest over $100,000, that seems quite fair.
The question here isn’t whether FCA’s objective of entering the high-margin full-size SUV segment is achieved with the Grand Wagoneer. The question will be wether or not this Grand Wagoneer is really all about reviving a storied nameplate as much as the talking points tried to convey it; or is this another glamazon SUV with a staggering price tag?