Mean and Possibly Green: Jeep Grand Wagoneer Hybrid
The Jeep Grand Wagoneer was the first luxury SUV on the market, reigning until its ultimate demise in 1991 as Chrysler pushed for more fuel-efficient cars. Many credit the Grand Wagoneer as paving the way for brands like Range Rover to enter the industry, and fans and collectors have mourned the Grand Wagoneer’s absence.
However, “woody” fans can fear no more; Jeep announced in 2015 that the Grand Wagoneer would make a comeback for the 2019 model year, with the iconic vehicle being rejuvenated for a release in late 2018. Since that announcement, discussions about the car and glimpses of its early stages have been ongoing, and more news has come forth.
According to Car and Driver, Jeep brand chief Mike Manley stressed that “some level of electrification will be a ‘required’ part of the lineup” whenever the Grand Wagoneer finally arrives, alluding to the use of a plug-in hybrid powertrain.
Auto writer Joseph Capparella points out that incorporating a hybrid into the Grand Wagoneer lineup will be a smart move, considering that other luxury SUVs on the market, such as the Volvo XC90, BMW X5 and Porsche Cayenne, all offer one.
“It’s possible that the Jeep hybrids could use elements of the Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid’s drivetrain, too,” writes Capparella. “Some changes will be necessary, however, considering that the Pacifica rides on a front-wheel-drive platform and the Jeeps will be rear-drive based, with four-wheel drive a necessity.”
Refreshed and ready to go
Other speculation suggests that the Grand Wagoneer will use architecture similar to the next Grand Cherokee, which would arrive for the same model year. Of course, the Grand Wagoneer would be much longer than the Grand Cherokee, as it would offer an additional row of seating to really pack in the family. Capparella additionally expects to see standard four-wheel drive and the option for a V8 engine, not to mention a resurrection of the classic wood-paneled touches. Others are even more adventurous, with writers hoping for diesel or Hellcat-powered versions as well.
“Only 10 years ago, the thought of Jeep competing with Range Rover would have seemed far-fetched,” says the speculator. “The brand’s recent growth spurt, however, has already taken it into newly upscale territory, and the Wagoneer now seems like a logical next step.”
That next step could push into six figure prices, according to Manley, but rest assured the first generation Grand Wagoneer will be more affordable as the vehicle works to reestablish its place on dealership floors. And based on the leaked spy shots of an aggressively styled Grand Wagoneer, those of us at Pilson Chrysler Jeep Dodge and Ram have no worries about the SUV reclaiming its spot.