Is Jeep reviving the past?

Fiat Goes Old-School with the Grand Wagoneer

by Torsten 1mak Schmidt
– 2858 Readers

In August Fiat are inviting thousands of its dealers and top managers to Las Vegas for a sneak peek at the new and improved Grand Wagoneer. It's likely the Wagoneer will sport a modern re-invention of the 70's style Jeep Cherokee.

The three-row luxury SUV will make its VIP behind the scenes debut on August 25, but unfortunately for journalists and consumers this peep show is highly exclusive. Mobile phones and cameras will be taken at the door, so only a lucky few will be able to briefly glimpse the new Wagnoneer.

For those of us who didn't score an invite to Vegas, here are some clues as to what it might look like:

Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne told reporters the Grand Wagoneer will share a common platform with the next generation of the two-row Jeep Grand Cherokee. This means that for the first time since 1991, the Wagoneer will be unibody, rather than a body-on-frame, truck-based SUV like the Chevrolet Suburban or Cadillac Escalade. In terms of styling, the Wagoneer will be a modern take on the classic 70s style

Jeep Cherokee, but it's not just going to look good: it'll be more powerful and fuel efficient than ever before. There will likely be an eight-speed, rear-wheel-drive automatic transmission mated to upgraded V-6 and V-8 engines, as well as a diesel variant. Fiat Chrysler are working to improve the fuel efficiency of both of those engines.

In terms of weight, the Wagoneer should be relatively light. Marchionne has hinted that, unlike the next-generation Wrangler in 2017, the Wagoneer will boast an all-aluminium body. So, when the curtain gets pulled back in Las Vegas this August, what are people likely to see? It seems safe to bet that the Grand Wagoneer will be a three-row, all-aluminium luxury SUV with retro exterior styling that re-imagines the classic 1970s Jeep Cherokee.

It will have independent front and rear suspension, with solid off-road performance and powertrain options similar to the Grand Cherokee. The cabin will be luxuriously fitted out, and, never fear: it will have a seven-slot grill and trapezoidal wheel openings.

Update: To clear up possible confusions. The Jeep in the picture is one of Jeeps 2015 Concept Cars series. The Chief is "Surf Rated" is a surf-themed, with Hawaiian-pattern fabric, lots of dark wood, and a tiki head shift knob concept. Outside, it's all 1970s: slot mags, Cherokee styling while underneath hides a Wrangler Unlimited with a Pentastar engine and a 6-speed manual.