And which didn't?
It's been a great period in time for automakers reviving classic nameplates. Last year, Jeep announced it would be getting in on the action by bringing back the Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer. The Grand Wagoneer first showed its face in September last year as a wildly luxurious concept with plenty of homages to the original. Now it's here with a price tag to match its position in the Jeep lineup and its intent to go up against segment heavyweights like the Cadillac Escalade and Mercedes-Benz GLS. As we watched the live review and poured through the press releases, we started to notice what features made it from the concept and what didn't. Here are the most important ones.
When we heard that the Jeep Grand Wagoneer concept was a plug-in-hybrid model, we knew our comments sections would light up. However, the production model features just a 6.4-liter V8 piston engine making 471 horsepower and 455 lb-ft of torque. Power is laid down by all four wheels and managed by a TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission, and along with a ton of off-road ability, the Grand Wagoneer will pull 10,000 pounds happily.
The regular Wagoneer features a 48-volt hybrid system, but Jeep has pledged to make every model electrified by 2022, so expect electrification in the Grand Wagoneer to show up soon.
The Grand Wagoneer's chunky two-spoke steering wheel is a direct nod to the original. The leather-wrapped wheel with wood trim and aluminum accents is a cut above the original model's offerings, though. The original certainly didn't feature a little button with a steering wheel icon replacing cruise control and the ability to activate the Stellantis Level 2 active driving assist hands-on cruise control ability. We can't wait to get our hands on this wheel; it looks like a beautifully crafted piece of ergonomic wizardry, and we're thankful that it gives a nod to the original in such an elegant fashion.
We're actually a little relieved this one didn't make the cut as it is over the top, and in real life could easily be chintzy looking. Of course, the likes of the Volkswagen ID.4 show that it can be classy and stylish, but perhaps it would have been too much here. Instead, Jeep, a brand not known for its highbrow designs, has come up with a classic front end that balances nicely between being respectful to its elders and offering a clean, sharp, and relatively modern design. Jeep is entering into the Germans' territory as well as Cadillac's, and in doing so, needs to keep things as classy as possible.
You can't have a high-end luxury vehicle without a high-end tailored audio system. McIntosh Laboratory is an American creator of handcrafted high-end audio equipment but hasn't been featured as OEM equipment in a car since the 2006 Ford GT. The McIntosh MX1375 Reference Entertainment System (RES) is exclusive to the Grand Wagoneer and uses 23 specifically tuned speakers including a 12-inch subwoofer. It's powered by a 24-channel 1375-watt amplifier and also features "unique Adaptive 3D Surround Processing capabilities for an immersive listening experience."
For some idea of how well regarded McIntosh is, the company points out it's been responsible for "powering some of the most important moments in music history and pop culture. From President Lyndon Johnson's inauguration speech to Woodstock to the famous Grateful Dead 'Wall of Sound.'"
We can only imagine how much it would have added to the cost to have each full-length panoramic roof for the Jeep Grand Wagoneer etched with a map of Detroit. However, an un-etched glass roof is an option to turn the Grand Wagoneer into a bonafide greenhouse. The Grand Wagoneer already has a lot of glass and should make the interior feel even bigger and airier, even without the panoramic roof. Still, it's a cool detail that would have been nice to see, but we do understand the rationale behind leaving certain concept details off of final production versions of new cars.
Jeep promised the next level of user-friendly tech, and it looks like the brand is delivering. There's a whopping 75 inches of total screen display area available for the Grand Wagoneer. That includes nearly 45 inches of screens along with the front instrument panel: a 12.3-inch digital driver display, a 12-inch horizontal infotainment touchscreen, a 10.25-inch horizontal comfort touchscreen, and an optional 10.25-inch touchscreen for the front passenger. In the back, more than 30 inches of display area are available thanks to a 10.25-inch comfort display for climate between the two captain's chairs and the option of two rear-seat entertainment touchscreens each measuring 10.1 inches. The Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are the first vehicles to feature Fire TV for Auto integration with Alexa, so there's plenty to watch on all that screen space.
The backlit badging on the concept might have been a step beyond a step too far for Jeep, but it was still pretty cool. Jeep's designers had a custom font that conveys the Grand Wagoneer's heft and style developed, and initially added the raised lettering illumination as we saw on the concept pics. It is a little gauche for our tastes outside of a concept, and thankfully, good taste appears to have won, with Jeep opting to keep the new font but ditching the illumination in the raised letters. That said, we're not convinced that it was indeed good taste that resulted in this change but rather cost efficacy.
As promised, the new Jeep Grand Wagoneer is the first of its name to feature three rows of seating, and it looks incredibly comfortable. It's backed by a serious list of promises from Jeep, including "best-in-class overall passenger volume, total volume, best-in-class third-row headroom, and second- and third-row legroom with the most cargo volume behind the third row." As standard, the Grand Wagoneer is an eight-seater with three rows, but you can spec second-row captain's chairs for more luxury and one less passenger.
When we first saw the 24-inch aluminum wheels with dark gray inlays within each set of trident spokes, we hoped like hell that they would make it to production. Sadly, cooler heads have prevailed at Jeep, and 22-inch wheels will be the largest available, at least for now. The smaller wheels will be much better for ride quality and much less likely to be damaged by potholes. Tires will also be cheaper, but that would likely be a negligible maintenance cost for anyone dropping between $88,995 and $111,000 on a V8-powered SUV. Also, it would have been really awesome to see that crazy original design make it to the production line.
Along with Grand Wagoneer being printed on the dash in front of the passenger in the new font, you'll also find the "EST. 1963" etching on the side of the air vent. It has a cool little silhouette of the Grand Wagoneer concept and references the original Wagoneer's first model year. We're not sure we would quite call it an Easter egg, but it's a lovely little touch.
One final thing of note missing from the production model that the concept featured is the teak wood inlays under the projectors in the headlight units. Likely, they were never intended for production as the heat then cold would destroy the wood in a short period of time, but they're a wonderful idea, as are the teak inlays in the tie-down areas of the roof bars. Regardless, the end product is fascinating and lovely. Not too shabby, Jeep, not too shabby.