Reports have recently surfaced that General Motors has acquired a small fleet of JL Jeep Wrangler SUVs, and have begun benchmark testing them. This, of course, raised speculation that GM might very well be going after the iconic sport utility vehicle, after perpetually sitting on the sidelines.
Even as GM has taken ownership of a new JL Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and immediately began probing it with sensor equipment in its Milford, Michigan laboratories, it doesn’t outright imply that we might soon see a Chevrolet (or GMC) answer to the iconic SUV. Or even the upcoming Ford Bronco, for that matter. Yet that won’t stop GM from testing certain attributes of the Wrangler, such as its various off-road hardware.
We need to consider that General Motors benchmark tests just about every competitive vehicle under the sun, including exotic vehicles from Porsche, Ferrari, and McLaren. Even back before the mid-engine C8 Corvette was a thing, GM testers were seen driving these vehicles alongside various C7 Corvette prototypes. Other times, GM buys cars to reverse engineer them, just to see how they work. This kind of R&D is commonplace across the entire auto industry.
Currently our sources are mum that GM is at work at offering an answer to the Jeep Wrangler. Though if it wanted to, the automaker could use its existing 31xx platform underpinning the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, which was developed largely by the off-road team behind the late Hummer brand. That would make things more in line with what we’ve come to learn about the Ford Bronco, or perhaps even the formidable Toyota 4Runner.
Maybe GM is trying see if it can get away with creating some kind of off-road oriented crossover with unibody design. But with its body-on-frame platforms equally at the ready, that decision would be wildly disappointing. More disappointing than a 320 horsepower Cadillac V-Series sedan.