NEW YORK — After a foray into the countryside to test the off-road prowess of the Jeep Wagoneer, I was on a freeway heading back to Manhattan in its swankier counterpart, the Grand Wagoneer.
The massaging seats were hard at work, the McIntosh sound system was blaring, and the tri-pane sunroof let plenty of natural light into the expansive interior as I maneuvered through a construction zone that temporarily cut traffic to one lane.
The hefty Grand Wagoneer, with a smooth ride that belied its size, felt like a rolling living room. And it happened to be driving itself.
My hands were on the wheel, but the active driving-assist technology was doing all of the work. The vehicle features Level 2 automation that combines lane-centering with adaptive cruise control. The system, which uses sensors, radar and cameras, "dictates the appropriate roads for the technology" to engage on, Jeep says.
Jeep eventually plans to offer a hands-free version.
The vehicle was cruising at 55 mph and adeptly slowed on its own to stay with the flow of the cars ahead.
The episode made me recall a conversation with Jeep North America Vice President Jim Morrison, who rode alongside me earlier in the day.
Morrison didn't think he ever would want to give up control of the vehicle, but he got addicted to the assist technology after a recent trip to Kentucky.