Jeep is planning to add a seven-seat SUV to its range, although the company’s UK chiefs haven’t yet decided whether it will reach these shores.
Buoyed by encouraging sales growth, the American manufacturer is currently expanding its model range, which currently lacks a seven-seat 4x4 to rival cars such as the Audi Q7.
The new vehicle could be branded as ‘Grand Wagoneer’, reviving an iconic nameplate that was last used in the 1990s. The idea of using the Grand Wagoneer name was raised at the Geneva motor show in 2012, when Jeep chiefs conceded that they were looking at growing the brand with an ‘über SUV’ that would be in keeping with the current global popularity for upmarket 4x4s.
The last seven-seat Jeep was the Commander, which was discontinued three years ago. Sister brand Dodge, though, does make a three-row SUV called the Durango, which is built on an extended version of the Grand Cherokee's platform at Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit.
It is likely that a new seven-seat Jeep could be based on a similar platform, which would make it about five metres long. The size might be a factor that precludes it going on sale in right-hand-drive format in the UK.
“When you look at the packaging of larger SUVs, about 40cm is added for the extra row of seats. We would have to consider whether that would become too large for UK roads,” said Jeep’s UK brand director Nigel Land.
Although the new vehicle has yet to be officially confirmed and wouldn’t arrive until 2015 or 2016, a car that is certainly part of Jeep’s range expansion is a new small B-segment SUV. It will become the brand’s entry-level model and is due to be introduced in late 2014.