The Jeep fam just got bigger and better.
Not long ago Jeep revealed these two new 4WD vehicles with a lot of fanfare, albeit not as much as they would have gotten at the New York Auto Show, where the company had planned to roll them out. Yes, we miss auto shows too.
But, not one to be silenced with great new cars to show off, Jeep rolled out the prototypes to journalists at the recent Texas Auto Writers Truck Rodeo (more on that later). Jeep kicked off the event with a non-driving but up-close look at the Jeep Grand Wagoneer and the Jeep Wrangler 4xe. We were invited to sit in them (masked, sanitized and socially distanced, of course), touch them, feel the materials and get a look at these two new vehicles along with new offerings from Dodge, Chrysler and Ram (more that those later, too).
After spending the afternoon poking around the vechiles, this is what I’m most excited about coming from Jeep in the near future, and why.
Related: Jeep Just Dropped Two New Models: The First Electric Jeep and Finally, a 3-row Grand Wagoneer
Jeep Grand Wagoneer, Reimagined and Still the Counter to the Traditional Family Car
Oh, this three-row marvel. This was the first answer to the 7-passenger station wagon. You think SUV vs Minivan is a new debate? Nope. Legions of adventure moms, working moms, refined moms who didn’t want to be stereotyped as simply a suburban mom, who didn’t identify with the pearl-and-skirt set chose this as the family vehicle. There was room for the kids, the camping gear and the dog, and it was refined enough for carpool driving into the city to see a show.
And now it’s back, with three rows, seating for 6 or 7 and more refined and elegant than ever. Telltale signs show the Grand Wagoneer is still all Jeep, from the roof rails ready for your skis to the tow hooks under the front bumper (Jeep calls them ‘recovery hooks’ since that’s what they’re more commonly used for). This is what I discovered when I got a hands-on look:
A side view of the Jeep Grand Wagoneer shows plenty of glass and length for seating for 7 or 8 passengers. We LOVE that Jeep finally has a third row!
The fully panoramic sunroof is etched with a map of Detroit. From here you can see the second and third row, which seats three passengers.
Not only is the front cabin sublime, but the leather seats in the Grand Wagoneer are the softest you’ve ever felt. Because it’s vegan leather – made from recycled materials. And seriously, the softest interior I’ve ever felt. I was hugely surprised!
Also notice the screens: each passenger in the front and center rows gets a screen of their own; there are 7 in all.
Sublime details can be see on the door panels, including hand-carved heat treated wood trim giving an elegant, yet rustic look; vegan leather, contrast stitching and the MacIntosh heritage sound system.
The infotainment controller is a highly sculpted bit of Jeep jewelry. The hefty carved stainless dial is topped with crystal. You can’t wait to touch it.
Wood supports under the roof rails are another heritage detail that harken to the original Grand Wagoneer’s wood paneling; you’ll also find wood accents in the headlights and throughout the cabin.
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Fun day seeing the @Jeep #GrandWagoneer up close and in person. It goes into production in 2021 and among the highlights? The first #3rdrow from Jeep in forever, screens everywhere and absolutely the softest most luxe #vegan #leather seats ever. I was stunned at how awesome the seats are. The tech and style just upped the game in the luxe full sized #SUV category. #Jeepgrandwagoneer #familysuv #luxurySUV #Luxelife #worldcarawards #wcoty #femaledriven #girlsdrive #drivelikeagirl #agirlsguidetocars
But this might be the most fun of all: the Grand Wagoneer’s logo and grille puts on a light show when powered up. A constant reminder of how much fun and elegance is at hand inside this beauty!
Jeep Wrangler 4xe: The First Plug-in Hybrid Electric (PHEV) Jeep Will Make Electric Off Roading a Thing
Here’s why electric vehicles are great for off road driving: they are powerful. Pound for pound more powerful than their gas-powered brethren, the Wrangler 4xe has 375 horsepower and instant torque even with the engine speed is low: hello dune crawling and creek forging. And, if you can drive with zero emissions over those dunes and through those creeks, all the better, right? This is what the Jeep Wrangler 4xe promises: you can use the 25 miles of battery range where you choose, so drive on hybrid power to the beach and then get out to the barrier island under silent, fume-free electric power. You can also take off the roof, the doors, the windows and fold the windshield down, just like any Wrangler.
Other than the plug in capability, the Wrangler 4xe is virtually indistinguishable from other Wranglers. Telltale signs to look for include the charge port door next to the driver’s side door, blue tow hooks, blue badging and blue Jeep lettering, letting you know for certain this an electric Jeep.
Jeep is not sitting still when it comes to evolving vehicles for how its customers live and drive. You can put a deposit down on the the Wrangler 4xe which is expected to be in dealerships in December. Just in time for mud season!