5 things to know about the Jeep Grand Wagoneer concept

The Jeep Grand Wagoneer full-size SUV is an eyeful. In our first real-life walkaround, removed from the sheen of the virtual world, the opulent interior of the new flagship luxury SUV impressed more than the cinder block exterior disappointed. 

Resurrected after a near 30-year absence and slated for the 2022 model year, the Grand Wagoneer concept starred in a Chicago suburb on Thursday as part of a regional roadshow of new FCA products. It’s cabin was decked out in the finest materials and had more than a few whimsical flourishes, such as a map of Detroit etched into the glass roof that stretches overhead in one long pane. But this concept is near production ready, and even though it would tip $100,000 as equipped, Jeep is confident there is a well-heeled market for it.   

Here are five other things we learned in checking out the Wagoneer and speaking with Scott Tallon, director of the Jeep brand for FCA North America. 

1. The lack of Jeep

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer concept

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer concept

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer concept

Jeep Grand Wagoneer Concept

Jeep Grand Wagoneer Concept

Jeep Grand Wagoneer Concept

Jeep Grand Wagoneer Concept

For all the big, bold styling of the Wagoneer, there is one conspicuous absence: It lacks a single Jeep badge anywhere inside or out. More than a dozen “Grand Wagoneer” scripts are found front and back, on sills and seats, and even etched in aluminum on the lacewood trim above the glovebox. 

Aside from the small but illuminated seven-slot grille, Jeep is missing. By design.

“We wanted Grand Wagoneer front and center, and not necessarily the Jeep brand,” Tallon said. “This is a way to change perception. We’ve seen premium customers leave for more premium vehicles with three rows.”

That puts the GMC Yukon Denali, Cadillac Escalade, and Lincoln Navigator on notice. Like those truck-based SUVs, the 2022 Grand Wagoneer will be built on the Ram 1500 pickup truck platform, which makes it Jeep by heritage but FCA by product. It also suggests the “Wagoneer” name could make for a new line of luxury-leaning SUVs currently missing from the FCA lineup. 

“We’ve played upper trim levels of the Grand Cherokee,” Tallon said. “We envisioned Wagoneer to become a family or portfolio of premium vehicles.” 

2. Geometric greenhouse

Big and blocky, the Grand Wagoneer borrows more from other brands than from Jeep. The front end takes on the sophisticated confidence of the Lincoln Navigator, while the rear carries the proportions of the GMC Yukon or Chevy Tahoe. But the lower ends share more familiar FCA attributes, such as Jeep’s twin tow hooks up front plated in chrome, or a lower rear bumper and single strip LED taillight reminiscent of the Dodge Durango.

Then there are the trapezoids. Trapezoidal wheel arches house giant 24-inch wheels, and the liftgate is home to a massive trapezoidal rear window. The rear represents the biggest departure from other full-size SUVs. Jeep intentionally avoided blacking out the C- and D-pillars in the popular floating roof style. The pillars match the rest of the body color as a nod to the previous Wagoneer offered from the early 1960s into the early ’90s. Yet the roof is blacked out, giving it a two-tone Oreo cookie look that inflates from Megastuf to colossal stuf.  

The three rear windows—the two on the side and the one in the liftgate—conspire with the single-pane glass roof to let in all the light and should allow for better outward vision, if not for the driver, then at least the rear seat riders.  

3. Tons of room

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer concept

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer concept

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer concept

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer concept

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer concept

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer concept

The blocky greenhouse results in a ton of room inside. I sat in the middle seat in the third row, and an adult could fit on both sides of me. Head room and leg room are plentiful, the seat has a power recline function, and Jeep provides a cupholder and USB-A and USB-C ports for the outboard positions. The middle row of the concept features captain’s chairs, but a third seat could easily replace the center console to seat eight passengers in comfort. GM’s lineup of full-size SUVs just grew by nearly a foot on average to accommodate a more functional third row with adequate cargo room. The Grand Wagoneer is already there, though final specs won’t be released until summer of 2021. 

4. Seven screens

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer concept

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer concept

Jeep Grand Wagoneer Concept

Jeep Grand Wagoneer Concept

Jeep Grand Wagoneer Concept

Jeep Grand Wagoneer Concept

For the demonstration, FCA lit up six of the seven available screens with a fireplace image (it wasn’t available on the front climate control screen). The second row has two 10.1-inch touchscreens mounted in the seats, and a 10.3-inch climate control screen in the center console. Front seat riders get that same climate screen stacked below a 12.1-inch infotainment screen. The driver and front passenger get their own screens, too. The driver’s is a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. The front passenger has a 10.3-inch screen above the glovebox and an aluminum Grand Wagoneer badge, and it’s canted so the driver can’t see it or be distracted by it. Everyone can Netflix and chill, in relative isolation. 

5. There’s wood on the outside

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer concept

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer concept

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer concept

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer concept

When it was revealed in early in September, the lack of wood trim panels like those of the original Grand Wagoneer sparked an outcry on social media. A classic woody would go over like a lead zeppelin on a modern SUV. Yet Jeep honors its past, however modestly, with teak bezels around the headlights and teak covers on the roof rail mounts.

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