Jeep brings back the Grand Wagoneer and it's absolutely epic!
Reviving a classic name means you have to serve it justice. Will Jeep succeed in doing so?
Classic Jeep, classic size. Wonderful.
The Jeep Wagoneer was a luxury SUV produced between 1962-1991. In fact, it was the third longest-produced single generation car in US automotive history. That's a long time making a car and it being pretty much unchanged. Either way, it was an important car. Why? Well, it sort of pioneered the luxury 4x4 niche. It became known as a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV). It was a four-wheel drive vehicle with an aesthetic that remained largely unchanged for decades.
This Jeep was more car-like than any other 4x4 on the market at the time. Since it began life in the 1963 model year, the Wagoneer was clearly a luxurious option. It came long before the Range Rover was even an idea and transcended the roads with it's luxury. Where other cars such as GMs, Fords and Land Rovers were work horses which were extremely spartan and bare inside, the Jeep was truly pleasant. It was still pretty capable when the going got tough, but it was also a nice place to be. It beat the Range Rover by seven years, in fact. Eventually, though, it was replaced by the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Wagoneer name disappeared. Until now.
FCA AND THE REVIVAL OF THE WAGONEER
FCA has basically apologised for leaving the Wagoneer name out of the Jeep lineup for so long. They simply weren't ready for it. According to the design chief, Ralph Gilles, FCA simply wasn't ready to make a luxury SUV. Tackling a luxury SUV was a challenge for FCA. The Wagoneer had to be a flagship model (as it was in the past) so a great deal of R&D had to go into the new car. Gilles explained that the model couldn't have happened because the company still had a great deal to learn about the formation and design of a luxury SUV.
Chrysler was part of Daimler - Some folks who know a thing or two about luxury. But, the Auto Industry was in a shambles at the time and Chrysler was on the verge of bankrupcy and barely surviving. So, a three-row luxury SUV worth a great deal of money probably wasn't the best idea or viable. Gilles has said that many concepts were put forward since the mid-90s. But, they were always too ambitious or incorrect. They were either far too retro or too futuristic, they didn't hit the spot. But, apparently, this Grand Wagoneer is the sweet spot.
I think it looks absolutely incredible. The exterior is just fantastic. It reminds me of a highly revolutionised Jeep Commander. Shape wise. The Commander had incredible road presence and was very dominant, just like it's name suggested. It was an incredible car and, to me, a true flagship. This, while called the Grand Wagoneer, is just like that Commander. The grille has so much attention to detail. From the LED strip that extends across it's width to the advanced pattern and quality chrome. It's just beautiful. I particularly love the individual LED lights beside each of the seven chrome grille elements. Just stunning attention to detail. Detail deserving of a flagship, anyway.
The headlights are quite simple. Oval and without much fuss, but the surroundings are just so elegant and the general vibe I get from this car is ''powerful elegance''. It's incredible. The variety in shapes and design ques works. It's incredibly classy and I'm sure that I would love it even more in person. The front is just so handsome. Well done, Jeep. If this thing goes into production looking exactly like this, they'll have a winner. This is absolutely spectacular.
The rear end reminds me heavily of the Lincoln Navigator. It's different, but also similar. The rounded taillights reflect the simplicity of the headlights and the long LED bar in the rear end is just something I love in any car. The massive 'GRAND WAGONEER' font at the rear adds a touch of class and luxury and the lack of clear exhausts highlights that the car values sophistication over performance. It's just incredible.
Finally, the wheels. Again, the attention to detail is beautiful. They're large wheels but they're very classy. The design isn't overdone, but it isn't exactly simple. The variety in colours, shapes and patterns is simply profound. The car isn't the sharpest in terms of design, but it has plenty of large lines across the body. There are defining lines where they need to be - For example around the wheel arches and in the bonnet. They give a view of power and size while also being very understated and retaining a classy look.
What a place to be. It inspires a great deal from other cars. Firstly, the logo on the steering wheel. It's very Range Rover with the model name inscription. The gear selector is very Jaguar/Ford due to the rotary dial nature of it all. The screen reminds me of Hyundai's latest system and the lower climate control screen reminds me of Audi's system. The screen on the passenger side reminds me of the Taycan's system. It seems, then, that Jeep took a great deal of inspiration from the very best and put it all into one. That said, it looks the part.
The whole cabin looks like a quality item and the material choices appear to be absolutely sublime. The leather looks impeccable and the stitching is great. The variation in patterns and material look isn't overdone. And, even though there's a great many different textures, it's aesthetically pleasing. It looks like a well thought out and well executed interior. Quality? We'll have to see when it's released. But, right now, it looks incredible. The rear entertainment appears to be in a four-seat executive sort of specification for the CEO's of the world. The tablet screens on the backs of the front seats look tidy and the general material choices all around look premium, as though Jeep didn't hold back on quality and threw the top drawer at everything. Good.
The switches all appear to be unique and not the sort from Jeep's like the Renegade which are straight out of a Fiat or Alfa. Meaning, it isn't cheap. It really does look like a quality item and a proper bit of kit. Very deserving of a flagship model, then. The ambient lighting probably has a few colour options or packages that vary with driver mood selection. Who knows. We'll have to see when it arrives or nearer to it's release. But, right now, it's safe to say that the Wagonner is coming back strong on the inside.
From the images, we can tell a few things. Firstly, that there's a great deal of screens and digital technology. The driver gets a 12.3-inch instrument cluster behind the wonderfully executred two-spoke wheel. The central display is 12.1-inches and the passenger gets a 10.3-inch screen for themselves. The front passenger can do many things and even cast content from their phone, all without interrupring the driver's screens. The climate control screen is another 10.3-inch display. I wish these controls were manual but, I guess digital climate control is the way it's going. My fathers 2006 Honda Accord Euro has this! Pioneer? I guess so. Well done Honda. Anyway, it's silly and it distracts. It shouldn't be digital. Physical controls for climate, please. Jeep say there's a total of nearly 75-inches of just screens in the Grand Wagoneer. That's quite a lot. I didn't even mention the rear-entertainment screens.
McIntosh's audio system features in the Grand Wagoneer, with 23 speakers and a 24-channel amplifier. Have no doubt, this thing will sound extremely good. Especially if the NVH (Noise, Vibrations and Harshness) is well executed and eliminated. The infotainment system is FCA's latest Uconnect 5 system which debuted on the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica minivan. Good. From the images, we can tell that the Grand Wagoneer is keeping up with the times. The ambient lightin phenomenal and doesn't look like some cheap chinese LED lighting. The drivers display seems to be very high resolution and the graphics all-round look sharp. LED technology surrounds this Jeep. Headlights, grille, taillights, interior and more. It's everywhere and all the better for it.
As this is a flagship model, have no doubt that driver assistance features and safety will be top notch. I suspect an adaptive cruise control and steering assist will be standard with many pre-collision systems and advanced parking cameras in the mix, too. None of this is confirmed but, it has to be present for the Grand Wagoneer to compete with things like the BMW X7 and Land Rover Range Rover.
ENGINES AND DRIVETRAINS
Whatever powers this thing, this absolutely stunning starter button will be the thing that brings the powertrain to life.
The Grand Wagoneer is a plug-in hybrid concept. No details about the engine or electric gubbins have been released, but Jeep has a plan to make all models offered with hybrids or plug-ins by 2022. This, then, makes the Grand Wagoneer in line with company ambitions. Jeep say that the Wagoneer will share engine and transmission options with the Ram 1500. This means that the base model will probably feature a 3.6l V6 engine with a hybrid system called eTorque. A V8 Hemi option (Probably the 5.7l) can be expected and, if this thing comes to Europe, it could well also feature the 3.0l V6 diesel. Perhaps it'll even be available in North America since you can get that diesel on the Ram. I suspect all will have the eTorque technology as standard, making the Grand Wagoneer a hybrid no matter which one you go for.
Because it's a Jeep, it still has to do some hard stuff. So, Jeep say that the Grand Wagoneer will offer ''unmatched'' towing capabilities meaning that this will will be able to pull many jetskis and probably a very large caravan. Three different all-wheel drive systems will be available as well as an air suspension option for the most oppulent demands.
PRICE AND RELEASE
Expect the Grand Wagoneer to waft into the world in 2021. Prices will probably start at around $60/70,000 and top trims will probably surge past $100,000. But, it seems you'll be getting a quality product with a heap of technology and driving capabilities for the money. I can't wait for the reviews and for this thing to greet the streets.