As for its off-road chops, well, look for much of that to be mildly upgraded versions of what will be used in the next-generation Grand Cherokee. That means independent front and rear suspension, but limited abilities in some fashion by what will be the Grand Wagoneer’s sheer size and weight. This won’t be a three-row Wrangler Rubicon, after all.
And speaking of Grand Wagoneer’s weight, it’s likely to be relatively light, thanks to this little nugget from the CEO: As Marchionne was talking about the decision to stick with steel for the next-generation Wrangler in 2017, he said, “I think we can do almost as well without doing it all-aluminum.”
“That is untrue, by the way, of the Wagoneer,” Marchionne said.
If the Grand Wagoneer is going to be all aluminum, that means that the next Grand Cherokee will be as well, since they’ll share a platform, and in all likelihood, a factory.
The Grand Wagoneer’s interior is likely to be a tastefully crafted explosion of fine leathers, brushed metals and electronic conveniences.
FCA’s car and light-truck interiors now rival or exceed those of competitors in key segments, even some luxury brands, so it’s likely to be no holds barred for those designing the highest priced vehicle for its hottest brand.
We can, in fact, also weed out what Grand Wagoneer won’t be, given Marchionne’s frequent exercise of immense personal power when it comes to product decisions.
What Grand Wagoneer won’t be is anything like the Jeep Commander -- the brand’s last attempt at a three-row SUV. Of course, referring to the Commander as a “three-row SUV” is probably overly generous, given that even toddlers would have trouble sitting in its fold-up third row for more than a few minutes.
Soon after taking over Chrysler after its 2009 bankruptcy, Marchionne called the Commander “unfit for human consumption” while it was still for sale on dealer lots. In 2010, he killed the Commander, which he had inherited from the wreckage of DaimlerChrysler.
“I don’t know why people bought them,” he said at the time.
FCA rectified most of the Commander’s design flaws in the third (and current) generation Dodge Durango in 2010.
Like the Grand Wagoneer will, the current Durango shares a platform and powertrain options with the Grand Cherokee. Its third-row seats are functional and comfortable and its interior is on par with and exceeds most of its higher-priced competitors.
So let’s sum up with this question: What is the Jeep Grand Wagoneer going to look like when dealers see it on August 25th?
Well, it will be a three-row, all-aluminum luxury SUV with exterior styling that emulates the look of a 1970s Jeep Cherokee. It will have independent front and rear suspension with respectable off-road performance and powertrain options very similar to the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Inside the cabin, it will be dressed to the nines. In fact, in every way Jeep and FCA designers and executives can imagine -- including price -- the Grand Wagoneer will compete directly with the Range Rover.
Oh -- and rest assured -- it will have a seven-slot grill and trapezoidal wheel openings.