- Ready or not, here comes a six-figure Jeep.
- Does it make any sense? Let's discuss.
When the Jeep Grand Wagoneer Concept debuted last month, it represented a bold new direction for the brand. It was notable not only because Jeep was finally making a large, truck-based SUV, but also because the interior was a clear step above anything else in the Jeep/Ram/Chrysler family.
The sticker shock was equally impressive, however, with the range-topping Grand Wagoneer estimated to carry a price tag north of $100,000. That's a hundred grand. For a Jeep.
So we got to thinking: Could a Jeep really be worth six figures? After much debate, here are our arguments for and against.
Are You Out of Your Mind?
The thought of a $100,000 Jeep is preposterous. Look, Lincoln and Cadillac can get away with selling six-figure versions of the Navigator and Escalade — two truck-based SUVs that the Grand Wagoneer will compete with — because those models have been equated with luxury from day one. Just as importantly, the brands themselves have always been luxury-oriented, leaving Ford and Chevrolet to cover mainstream vehicle segments. There's a sense of exclusivity around both the Navigator and Escalade that makes their workaday pickup-truck roots go down a lot easier.
By contrast, Jeep is a mainstream brand that's primarily associated with off-roading. The Mercedes-Benz G-Class and Land Rover Range Rover are luxe off-roaders, sure, but we're doubtful the same buyers would line up for a vehicle with a less prestigious badge — especially one based on a big truck (in the Grand Wagoneer's case, the admittedly excellent Ram 1500). Unless you're a Jeep diehard who refuses to buy a vehicle without a seven-slat grille, what does the Grand Wagoneer offer that you can't find in any number of excellent luxury SUVs at this price?
You'd Be a Fool Not to Buy One
We don't know what the moron above has been smoking, but we'd like it delivered 'round back, where our snoopy neighbors can't see. One look at the Grand Wagoneer Concept's interior is all you need to feel confident that your money was well-spent. Every inch of the cabin is draped in wood, leather, glass or raw aluminum, while details like the knurling on the shifter knob and tasteful ambient lighting show that Jeep is sweating the small stuff. It's also a tech nerd's dream, with a whopping four screens up front, including one in front of the passenger.
But the thing we're most excited about? McIntosh speakers. McIntosh! Quite possibly the most revered home audio system manufacturer in the world — its audiophile products can extend into six-figure territory on their own — is making its triumphant return to the car audio space. Bowers & Wilkins, Bang & Olufsen and Naim are quaking in their subs. And no, you shouldn't read anything into the fact that McIntosh's strongest automotive alliance to date was arguably with the second-generation Subaru Outback.