While the Jeep Grand Wagoneer concept is certainly a nice looking full-size SUV design, it’s far from the retro design many fans were hoping for. The Grand Wagoneer has the tough job of living up to the cult status and success of the older models, while still moving ahead with a modern design. In a recent interview with Gear Patrol, FCA design chief Ralph Giles opened up about the Grand Wagoneer’s design process, and the decision to avoid an overly retro design.
“We actually had a few themes that were…emulating the last version, from 1991,” Gilles told the publication that there were a few early themes that were perhaps to emulate the 1991 version too closely, but was quickly abandoned on account of being almost “too retro.”
Giles said they were actually considering using the last generation Wagoneer from 1991 as the basis for the new model’s design, but decided, it was too retro. The Wagoneer has the tough job of being both a practical family hauler, but also a world-class luxury vehicle in Grand Wagoneer form. To achieve this, the design team went with a far more modern, fresh look. To the dismay of many, this means no wood paneling.
Giles said they tried even tried the wood paneling theme out on the new Jeep Wagoneer, mostly as a joke, and the idea was quickly killed. It just didn’t fit with the ethos of the final product.
Giles said his favorite part of the Grand Wagoneer’s design is the rear of the car. He loves how the taillights integrate the license plate, and the brightwork around the rear window, which is a rare touch in modern vehicle design.
Another interesting detail, or lack thereof, is the omission of Jeep badging. FCA wants this to be a Wagoneer or Grand Wagoneer first and foremost, an SUV that just so happens to be a Jeep too. Ford does this with some of its icon models, like the Bronco and Mustang. Both models have little Ford badging, but instead focus on the specific model. It seems to work well for them, and we expect nothing different from a brand steeped into our culture as much as Jeep.