- Jeep plans to market an SUV that can accommodate seven adults comfortably, Edmunds has learned.
- Grand Wagoneer is the likely name for the new SUV that is expected to debut in the 2016 model year.
- The SUV will not have any of the shortcomings of the Jeep Commander, Jeep's previous seven-passenger vehicle that was discontinued in 2010.
CHICAGO — Jeep plans to expand its line in the 2016 model year with an SUV that accommodates seven adults comfortably, Edmunds has learned.
The model, which is expected to carry the Grand Wagoneer name, will be aimed at current Jeep owners and SUV owners who still require seven-passenger seating but no longer need a full-size SUV.
"We have a lot of people who own Jeeps who say 'I'm looking for seven seats. I like to stay in the Jeep family,'" Jeep CEO Mike Manley told Edmunds at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show. "Many people who purchase the really big full-sized SUVs are looking for an alternative."
Although Manley did not provide the model year for the Grand Wagoneer, industry sources expect the SUV to arrive in the 2015 calendar year as a 2016 model. The Grand Cherokee's vehicle platform will be stretched to create the new Jeep. Manley did not say how many inches longer it will be stretched compared to today's Grand Cherokee.
This is not Jeep's first attempt to market a seven-passenger model. Jeep offered the seven-passenger Jeep Commander during the 2006-'10 model years. The Commander was based on the platform for the previous-generation Grand Cherokee. However, exterior styling was much more boxy.
But the Commander had a short life due to poor sales. The reason was vehicle size. The Commander and Grand Cherokee were essentially the same length. Specifically, the Commander was 4 inches taller and only 2 inches longer. The end result was that the Commander's third-row seating area was essentially designed to accommodate children.
In addition, the Commander is a gas-guzzler. The 2010 Commander in two-wheel-drive configuration with a 3.7-liter V6 engine returns 15 mpg in city driving and 20 mpg on the highway, according to the EPA.
"We do know because of the (Commander's) third-row configuration that the stadium seating in the backseat suited some families but certainly did not suit every family," Manley said. "What I am looking for is a vehicle that provides accommodation for adults."
He added that Grand Wagoneer "certainly is going to be more premium" than the Commander. "It will be a very, very different vehicle to the Commander."
Edmunds says: A properly executed seven-passenger SUV will give Jeep a credible model to potentially attract buyers from such full-size SUVs as the Cadillac Escalade, GMC Yukon and Lincoln Navigator.