Update: This article originally said these photos were of the new full-size Jeep Wagoneer, but upon closer examination, they appear more likely to be photos of the upcoming Jeep Grand Cherokee redesign. The text has been updated to reflect this.
Jeep’s three-row aspirations appear to be nearing reality. As shown by new spy photos sent to Autoblog Monday, what we believe to be the three-row variant of its Grand Cherokee is inching closer and closer to production.
While mules and early prototypes of Jeep’s new three-row SUV have been spotted in the wild multiple times in the past year, they wore thick, bulky, black camouflage that hid most of the truck’s form, to the point where telling it apart from the full-size Wagoneer has made it tricky — tricky enough even to throw us for a loop.
While quite a bit of this remains on this new prototype’s flanks and rear end, the elaborate coverings on the front end and roof have given way to more form-fitting disguises. Some of the most prominent changes on this example are the new, sleeker side-view mirrors and what appear to be production-style cargo rails, and we can see what appears to be a production-style grille and headlights in the front end now that the extra layer of camo has been removed. Elsewhere, not much has changed. The side body panels and doors still appear to be either pre-production placeholders or elaborately disguised production parts.
While they wear very similar camouflage, there are two items we’ve seen differentiating the Grand Cherokee from the larger Wagoneer on these early prototypes. The first is the six-lug pattern wheels spotted on early Wagoneer prototypes; the second is the extra body length behind the rear door. Both of these can be seen in the side-by-side image above.
We’re not sure what to expect under the hood of the new Grand Cherokee. We’ve heard rumors and now seen a patent drawing of an inline-six engine that is expected to replace the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 in most (or perhaps all) of its current applications. While GM’s full-size SUVs are offered with multiple V8s, crosstown rival Ford has eliminated them from its body-on-frame models, opting instead for variants of its EcoBoost V6. The larger Wagoneer will likely offer V8 power, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see it as an option on the Grand Cherokee too, even if it is only in SRT-engineered halo models.
Last we heard, both the redesigned Grand Cherokee and the Wagoneer were expected to bow later this year. It’s unclear at this point what impact the coronavirus production shutdowns will have on Jeep’s development timeline, but we have our ears to the ground for new developments.