Despite the struggling economy, the world still has an appetite for luxury vehicles, apparently, with a couple of new models having made their debuts in the past week alone. Jeep is adding to this pile by unveiling the Grand Wagoneer Concept, previewing a sub-brand of premium SUVs – much like the Range Rover lineup.
The company claims that the original Wagoneer was the first-ever premium 4×4, having gone on sale years before the Range Rover. The Wagoneer nameplate, then, is being reborn to define “American Premium” while delivering “a unique and unprecedented customer experience,” it said.
No, this Grand Wagoneer does not feature fake wood panelling on the outside as the original did, but it does have a similarly imposing stance with its straight body lines and upright pillars. The grille is by far the most striking aspect of the design – the seven slots are canted forwards, filled with vertical slats and are illuminated between each slot, following another trend in the luxury segment.
The grille is topped off by a full-width light strip that joins the slim headlights. These lamps feature dual LED projectors on each side that sit in genuine teak wood “cradles”. The clean front bumper design has a broad air intake, a second centre inlet and an aluminium skid plate and tow hooks finished in Obsidian Black.
Prominent trapezoidal wheel arches add a bit of ruggedness to the Grand Wagoneer’s side profile, hiding massive 24-inch multi-spoke wheels with rippled 3D-printed inserts. Unlike on most other cars out there, the pillars are body-coloured, presumably to give an air of solidity. One neat little flourish is the American flag next to the “Grand Wagoneer” badging on the flanks.
The rear end gets a similar LED lighting signature as the front, with tail light strips that reach almost the entire width of the car. The vertical rear windscreen should free up plenty of third-row and luggage space, while the small rear diffuser is claimed to aid the aerodynamics of this hunk of metal. The show car is painted in Arctic Ice white with a black roof and is finished off with illuminated front and rear badges.
Open the door and you’ll find an inscription on the side of the dashboard reading “Est. 1963”, commemorating the first model year of the Wagoneer. The interior itself is no less impressive with four digital displays on the dashboard alone – a 12.3-inch item for the instruments, a 12.1-inch main infotainment touchscreen, a 10.25-inch touchscreen for the climate controls and another 10.25-inch touch display for the front passenger.
That last one takes a page right out of the rulebook of Ferrari, which is, of course, a sister brand in the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) group. These displays are underpinned by the latest Android-based Uconnect 5 operating system, outputting audio through a 23-speaker McIntosh sound system.
High-end materials can be found throughout, including onyx glass dash panels, an aluminium “wing” and lots of heat-treated lacewood, inlaid with the aluminium “Grand Wagoneer” script. Surprisingly, however, the seats and interior panels are upholstered not in leather, but in polyurethane – it’s all part of the drive towards sustainable materials, which also explains the Dinamica microfibre headlining and Thrive fibre carpets.
For the first time, the Grand Wagoneer comes with seating for up to seven occupants, with the second row of this concept featuring captain’s chairs, its own 10.1-inch centre control display and a second pair of 10.1-inch seatback-mounted touchscreens. Jeep claims that the large windows offer a good view out, as does a panoramic glass roof inscribed with a map of Detroit.
Jeep is envisioning a plug-in hybrid powertrain for the concept. No details have been released as yet, but don’t be surprised if it’s related to the one in the also recently-revealed Wrangler 4xe, which uses a 2.0 turbocharged four-cylinder engine, an integrated starter/generator, a high-voltage motor and a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission. All this delivers a total output of 375 hp and 637 Nm of torque, plus an electric range of up to 40 km thanks to the 17 kWh lithium-ion battery.
When it enters production next year, the Grand Wagoneer will be offered with three four-wheel-drive systems, front and rear independent suspension and Quadra-Lift air suspension. Jeep is claiming best-in-class interior volume and towing capacity. The Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will be built at a new plant in Warren, Michigan, near downtown Detroit.