Jeep to climb up-market with new flagship SUV

By now you’ve heard Sergio Marchionne’s battle cry against Range Rover, and know FCA has plans to revive the old Grand Wagoneer name for its upcoming ultra plush SUV, intended to compete with Land Rover’s finest. Well here is your first look at what we think FCA might build. Meet the 2017 Jeep Grand Wagoneer.

While Marchionne’s intent is well-known, details about styling and engineering are not. That left our artist to guess on many of the design cues, including the all-important seven-slot grille and iconic Grand Wagoneer hood. Behind the A-pillar, the SUV gets Suburban-sized dimensions with three rows of seats. Sadly, FCA isn’t likely to dive so deep in the retro styling that it nails on the woody sides from the original.

Under the skin, the Grand Wagoneer is sure to get big power. Expect FCA to offer its popular EcoDiesel option, along with a Hemi V-8. The usual ZF eight-speed auto will likely make its appearance as well.

In order to compete with Range Rover, Jeep will have to outdo itself with interior quality. Current models like the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee have surpassed anything Jeep has ever done in the past in terms of fit and finish, but the Grand Wagoneer will have to push the bar even further. Expect open-pore wood trim, supple leather on nearly ever surface, and plenty of high-end technology, from entertainment to safety systems.

Jeep is expected to have the Grand Wagoneer ready to display by the middle of 2016 and headed to dealerships for the 2017 model year. Pricing is also said to surpass everything Jeep has ever produced, with a starting MSRP somewhere in the $80,000 range.

Update 06/27/2016: Jeep head Mike Manley told Automotive News the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer shouldn’t be though of as separate vehicles, but rather a different trim levels. This suggests the two will share many mechanical and structural components, while unique looks and luxury amenities could distinguish the two apart.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Jeep Grand Wagoneer.

  • 2017 Jeep Grand Wagoneer
  • Year:
    2017
  • Make:
  • Engine:
    V6(Est.)
  • Transmission:
    eight-speed auto (Est.)
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    240 (Est.)
  • Torque @ RPM:
    420 (Est.)
  • Energy:
    turbodiesel
  • Displacement:
    3.0 L (Est.)
  • 0-60 time:
    8 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    130 mph (Est.)
  • Layout:
    Front Engine, AWD w/ Low Range (Est.)
  • Price:
    80000 (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Wagoneer & Grand Wagoneer

During an interview with Automotive News at FCA’s annual “What’s New” event, Jeep CEO Mike Manley divulged details regarding the Wagoneer and its even-more-luxurious counterpart, the Grand Wagoneer. Manley is quoted, saying,

“The Wagoneer name represents, historically, the pinnacle of premium for the Jeep world. But in the same way as you may have an Overland and a Summit, you have different trim levels, so you could imagine the use of Wagoneer to denote a really premium vehicle, and Grand Wagoneer takes it to the very next level, so if you were to use that as your naming strategy, that’s exactly how I would use the trims.”

How different these two vehicles will be is still unknown. Jeep could pull a trick from General Motors’ full-size SUV lineup. The same chassis and powertrain is found in the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban; GMC Yukon and Yukon XL; Yukon Denali models; and the two Cadillac Escalade models. These SUVs are essentially the same, yet offer four levels of luxury and prestige.

We’ll keep you updated as details emerge.

Exterior

2017 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Exterior Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
- image 634650

The exterior really starts with what’s underneath. To that point, the Grand Wagoneer is expected to ride on an all-new unibody chassis that will also underpin the next-generation Grand Cherokee and Durango – provided Dodge keeps the three-row SUV alive past the current generation. The chassis will have to be a semi-modular design that’s capable of hosting both two and three rows of seats with varying lengths of wheelbase. Expect the chassis to be extremely ridged for good on-road driving dynamics and solid off-road capability.

The Grand Wagoneer of yore had a very distinctive appearance that carried throughout each model year.

Now for the looks. The Grand Wagoneer of yore had a very distinctive appearance that carried throughout each model year. That forward-sloping, seven-slot grille and the vented hood with its raised power dome are now icons. There’s nothing else that even comes close to looking like the old-school Grand Wagoneer, except of course, the Jeep Pickup, or as it was otherwise called, the J10 and J20. That’s thanks to the Jeep Pickup sharing the same platform, powertrain, and several body panels with the Wagoneer. Just don’t expect Jeep to revive the pickup version of the Wagoneer anytime soon.

In order to squarely compete with the Range Rover, the Grand Wagoneer must match its high-class appearance. That means tight body gaps, sparkling paint, chrome trim, HID and LED lights, large wheels, and enough ground clearance to traverse the roughest of terrain.

Speaking of ground clearance, it’s very likely the Grand Wagoneer would come with an upgraded version of the Grand Cherokee’s air suspension. This system would allow for variable ride heights that include access height and full-tilt off-road height. The air suspension would also allow for auto load-leveling, for those interested in towing trailers or hauling heavy loads.

Thick underbody skid plates will be necessary for protecting drivetrain components from off-road damage. Jeep is likely to make these skid plates double as a belly pan for added aerodynamics in the name of increased fuel efficiency. Though the Grand Wagoneer will sport large wheels like the Range Rover, expect it to carry some moderately aggressive all-season tires for good grip in slippery environments.

All told, the Grand Wagoneer’s exterior looks will likely hark back to the past without being too retro.

First Glimpse!

2017 Jeep Grand Wagoneer
- image 692299

This is the first look at the upcoming Grand Wagoneer. This rendering is reported by Autoblog as being part of a poster shown at a closed Jeep Dealership meeting. However, a quick capture by an insider’s cell phone has revealed Jeep’s plans for its Range Rover competitor.

The front clearly shows its close ties with the Grand Cherokee, but offers a more muscular and angular appearance. The headlights feature seven lighting elements that appear to be LEDs. The number matches the seven-slotted grille, Jeep’s iconic symbol. The lower fog lights carry the same look. Out back, the taillights have the same features and chrome accents abound. We love how the front tow hooks match up with the dual exhaust, as well. For the full run-down on these images, read our full report here.

Interior

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee High Resolution Interior
- image 513934

Note: Jeep Grand Cherokee interior shown.

Competing against the Range Rover won’t be an easy task, especially when it comes to the interior appointments. Land Rover spares little expense in high-end materials – a list that includes aluminum and real wood trim, real leather coverings, high-pile carpet, and enough technology to make the average consumer feel like he’s driving the automotive version of BestBuy. Heated, cooled, and massaging seats are available in the Range Rover, so expect such amenities in the Jeep.

Since the Grand Wagoneer will be a three-row SUV, expect the second row to come with captains chairs, perhaps with an optional center console.

The then-latest version of Chrysler’s Uconnect infotainment system will surely grace the large touchscreen in the dash, while a large TFT display will stand in place of traditional analog gauges. A panoramic sunroof with a power-folding shade is a likely option, as is a rear seat entertainment system with dual screens mounted in the headrests.

FCA will also include all its latest active and passive safety systems, including active lane keeping, adaptive cruise control, automatic collision avoidance, front and rear proximity sensors, automatic wipers and headlights with auto high beam assist, and copious airbags.

Since the Grand Wagoneer will be a three-row SUV, expect the second row to come with captains chairs, perhaps with an optional center console. Both the second-row chairs and the third-row bench will be power-operated, allowing owners to fold flat all five seats for hauling cargo.

Finally, the Grand Wagoneer will undoubtedly come equipped with Jeep’s most capable 4WD system. The current Grand Cherokee offers Jeep’s Selec-Terrain system, which allows the driver to dial in the specific terrain he’s driving over. Expect that to carry over. The system includes snow, sand, auto, mud, and rock-crawl modes. Low range gears will come standard. Also included will be Jeep’s four-corner air suspension system. With the push of a button, the Grand Wagoneer will raise and lower to adapt to changing terrains.

Drivetrain

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Drivetrain
- image 521971

Note: Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT engine bay shown.

There are several powertrains that make sense for the Grand Wagoneer. First would be the highly-regarded 3.0-liter EcoDiesel. The V-6 powerplant offers up 240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. Where the oil-burner really excels is fuel economy, getting an impressive 29 mpg on the highway in the Ram 1500. Expect fuel economy to be in the low 30 mpg range with the Grand Wagoneer.

For those who want more horsepower, it’s rumored FCA will include the mighty 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 as the primary engine choice.

For those who want more horsepower, it’s rumored FCA will include the mighty 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 as the primary engine choice. The big 392 cubic-inch engine currently makes 485 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque in the Dodge Charger and Challenger. To compete with the Range Rover’s supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 that kicks out 510 horsepower and 461 pound-feet of torque, FCA could up the ante by pushing the 6.4-liter into the 500-horse range.

On a similar note, it’s possible – though not probable – that FCA would resort to a de-tuned version of the 6.2-liter Hellcat engine. Its forced induction, high-flow fuel system, and overbuilt internal assembly would outmatch the Range Rover’s 5.0-liter in every metric. If the Hellcat route is taken, expect the Jeep to offer around 600 horsepower and 550 pound-feet of torque.

Regardless of engine choice, the transmission will be a ZF eight-speed automatic. The electronically controlled gearbox allows for both smooth and hard shifting styles, depending on driver settings and throttle position. Mated behind the transmission will be a full-time transfer case that offers AWD with a low range. Expect that unit to be borrowed from the upcoming Hellcat-powered 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk Hellcat.

Prices

All this luxury, power, and capability will come a high price. Expect the Grand Wagoneer to carry a base MSRP of roughly $80,000 with higher-spec models reaching into the low $100,000 range. These prices directly compete with the Range Rover. But don’t expect Jeep to compete with Range Rover’s SVAutbiography edition. At nearly $200,000, the SVAutobiography is simply too expensive for Jeep’s first foray into the high-end luxury market.

Competition

Land Rover Range Rover

2014 Range Rover Autobiography - Driven High Resolution Exterior
- image 555901

When Marchionne called out the Range Rover – by name, no less – as Jeep’s new rival, it’s hard to mistake what vehicle the Grand Wagoneer is targeting. Land Rover’s Range Rover is nothing short of a technological marvel. Its unibody structure and body are constructed primarily of lightweight aluminum. Its U.S.-spec powertrain consists of a 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 making a respectable 510 horsepower and 461 pound-feet of torque. A ZF eight-speed automatic transmission similar to the one found in FCA products does the shifting, while a full-time AWD system gives the Range Rover its outstanding off-road abilities.

The Range Rover comes in two wheelbases and several trim levels, giving customers a plethora of specifications to choose from. Prices start at $83,495 for the standard wheelbase and $106,995 for the long wheelbase. Check the right option boxes, and the Range Rover will soar to $150,000 in price. Check every box available, including the SVAutobiography box, and the price will rise past $200,000.

Still, the Range Rover offers a jaw-dropping combination of on-road refinement and off-road capability. It’s four-corner air suspension and electronic traction aids give it surprising maneuverability in inhospitable terrain.

Read our full driven review here.

Conclusion

Of course, all this is simply speculation on what FCA boss Sergio Marchionne wants to do and what budget, engineering, and manufacturing constraints stand in his way. There’s little doubt a high-end SUV is coming from Jeep, but how high-end is still a mystery. If FCA does build the Grand Wagoneer in the fashion Marchionne hinted at, it will be a monumental achievement and a likely home run for vehicle sales.

Luxury vehicles have been doing extremely well in the last few years, and it only makes sense for Jeep to join the battle. After all, it was the 1960s-era Grand Wagoneer that pioneered the luxury SUV with features not previously seen on such rough and tumble vehicles.

  • Leave it
    • Will still be expensive
    • Must steal customers from competition
    • Details are all unconfirmed
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