The Jeep Wagoneer family, including the range-topping Grand Wagoneer, is one of the automaker’s hallmark vehicles. Aside from the CJ and Wrangler, perhaps no other vehicle is as instantly recognizable as a Jeep as the original Wagoneer (codenamed SJ). We’ve been anticipating the return of the big Jeep for quite some time, and today, the company is finally throwing us a bone.
There’s a caveat, though. The Grand Wagoneer revealed today is technically a concept, meaning we’ve still got a fair bit of road before we reach our dealer-ready destination. But as concepts go, this one sure looks pretty production-friendly, with none of the oversized wheels, unfeasible lighting elements, and miniscule-to-nonexistent side-view mirrors usually seen on design studies. Instead, the Grand Wagoneer concept looks for all the world like the machine we might see in dealer showrooms for the 2022 model year. Whether we like that look or not depends on who you ask, though.
Some of us on staff are absolutely enamored with the seven-seat Jeep Grand Wagoneer concept’s appearance. Its bold front end boasts a newly slim iteration of the brand’s seven-slot grille, bookended by narrow, knife-blade headlights. On the concept, an LED front light bar spans the entire width of the SUV, intersecting with the top of the grille and providing a solid base for the concept’s “WAGONEER” hood badging – the Jeep script found on the Grand Cherokee’s nose is gone, you’ll note.
The chin-like front bumper features two stacked openings, with tow hooks found within the lower intake and attractive fog lights faired into the upper aperture. A generous band of burnished chrome sweeps between the two, and the lower front bumper (along with the rocker panels, lower rear bumper, and roof) is painted metallic gunmetal gray.
That contrast-painted roof is the most compelling styling feature of the side view, recalling the bygone Ford Flex somewhat. The Grand Wagoneer concept incorporates a painted A-pillar, however, modernizing the look. The B-, C-, and D-pillars are body-color, and both the window openings and the contrast roof are rimmed in that same dark chrome. “GRAND WAGONEER” badging, replete with an US flag, appears on the lower front doors, leaving no question as to this vehicle’s heritage or origin. God bless America.
Around back, the license plate opening is incorporated into the tailgate using a surround that recalls the shape of the front grille, an effect that dovetails into the nearly full-width taillight panel. The inset, squared-off rear hatch glass has us wondering if it retracts into the tailgate, à la the original Wagoneer (or the more contemporary Toyota Sequoia and 4Runner) – Jeep’s mention of “open-air freedom” in the press release has us all the more curious. Mercifully free of any faux skid plates, the rear bumper aligns neatly with the vertical rear end.
With all of that said, we wish the Grand Wagoneer concept were a bit more retro-inspired. The upright rear end, contrast-painted roof, high hood, and swept-back windshield remind some of us of the Rivian R1S, while the illuminated and chrome-finished grille looks a bit like that of the forthcoming GMC Hummer EV. Your author, for example, thinks the concept is a fine-looking SUV, but a milquetoast Grand Wagoneer. A flat beltline that sits even with the hood and a triangular D-pillar would work wonders to connect this modern machine with its legendary forebear.
One area in which the Grand Wagoneer concept leaves its old man in the dust is in-cabin technology. The elegantly styled cockpit is dripping with modern touches, including seven, count ‘em seven, information screens that run Uconnect 5, which Jeep says is five times faster than the already excellent Uconnect 4. The driver sits behind a 12.3-inch reconfigurable display, while the passenger gets their own 10.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system right on the dashboard.
A split-screen layout similar to Land Rover’s TouchPro Duo appears in the center stack, with a 12.1-inch upper display serving as the primary infotainment system. A 10.3-inch lower touchscreen mounted near the center console is called a “comfort display,” operatin…