One hell of a way to take on the Land Rover Discovery, Chevy Suburban, and Cadillac Escalade with a single body style.
Like a dog that likes to scavenge and bring whatever it finds, dead or alive, to your doorstep to show its appreciation, Auto Guide has dug up new patent images, posted them on the Internet, and left the world wide web of auto enthusiasts to figure out what they are. Not like that’s an onerous task, that big seven slat grin and signature FCA cyclops radar sensor on the bottom of the vehicle clearly depicts a Jeep. Things get interesting, however, when flipping over to an elevation view of the Jeep’s port and starboard sides.
We're not exactly sold on the fact that its silhouette mimics the Chrysler Pacifica from these angles, or that of any other minivan for that matter, but the stretched portion on the rear seems to be large enough to accommodate a third row. Now’s when those synapses need need to start firing because there’s some figuring out to do. Recent history and wishful thinking will immediately label this Jeep as the range-topping Wagoneer that’s been in and out of the rumor mill for years. Despite being FCA’s SUV wing, Jeep has been notoriously absent in the full-size SUV segment that has contenders from GM, Ford, and an ever increasing pool of luxury automakers.
Originally slated to ride on a stretched version of the Grand Cherokee’s unibody architecture, plans seem to have shifted in favor of Ram underpinnings, essentially a ladder frame chassis that its American counterparts use. Jeep CEO Mike Manley claims that no expense will be spared on this Jeep, and that will be passed on to the customer with prices ranging from $60,000 to the hundred grand mark. That indicates a new direction for Jeep, positioning this three-row SUV to take on the Chevy Suburban, Ford Expedition, Cadillac Escalade, and Lincoln Navigator. If that’s the case, American buyers looking for alternatives to these two full-size SUVs can expect to see the Wagoneer as early as 2018.
A more likely scenario is that Jeep will hold back and pull off the wraps in 2020. There is, however, one other alternative that paints a darker pictures for US fans: that this Jeep is actually a production version of the Yuntu SUV that was shown off at the Shanghai Auto Show this past April. If that’s the case, there’s a slim chance it makes it to America, but solace can be found in the fact that FCA registered this patent with the European Union Intellectual Property Office, an organization that’s very much not in China. If the Wagoneer does make it to Europe, there’s little doubt that it will come to the SUV-loving Red, White, and Blue as well. Send out that good juju, yeah?