The Jeep brand has always been synonymous with big family cars. They’re big, spacious and as time went on, they became increasingly luxurious, too.
There is one thing, however, that is somewhat puzzling in the context of the modern family-car marketplace, and that is the absence of 7-seater options for Jeep buyers.
5 Seater Paradise
If you needed a sizeable, comfortable, and reliable 5-seater SUV, then the Jeep range has always been one to which you can reliably turn. From the Jeep Compass to the Renegade, from the Cherokee to the Grand Cherokee, there seemed to be no end to the number of fantastic 5-seater cars that Jeep was offering.
But what about 7-seater models? With so many competitors offering family-friendly mini-vans and SUVs with a third seating row, why is it that Jeep has resisted the tide for so long?
In fact, once upon a time, Jeep did have a three-row option — the Grand Wagoneer. The full-size model dates back to 1984 and offered seating for 7.
You might recall the enormous, muscular frame with a huge front grille and wood-panel sides like a big station wagon. It had a good production run up to 1993 and was a very popular choice in its day.
But what happened? Suddenly, the Wagoneer, one of Jeep’s flagship models, suddenly disappeared without a trace as the age of the Grand Cherokee dawned.
Is that It for 7 Seater Jeeps?
It seems an abrupt story with a sad ending for those looking for 7 seats in a Jeep, but the reality is a little more complex.
In fact, there is a 7-seater Jeep returning to us and it’s finally visible on the horizon. Yes, the Jeep Grand Wagoneer is returning to the US market, most likely for the 2022 model year.
In September 2020, the concept for the new Grand Wagoneer was unveiled. This was no ordinary concept car though, it looks very close to production-ready, which might explain why we can expect availability as early as 2022.
Some highlights of the Grand Wagoneer preview included the 3 seating rows, of course, but also what strikes viewers first is undoubtedly the sheer number of screens this thing has.
2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer – North America
Jeep’s new offering for the 7-seater market is the Grand Commander, which is being developed as a successor to the previous Jeep Commander XK models from 2006-2010.
It seats up to 7 people and has displayed a number of other exciting features that have got the community buzzing. The first such feature is 7 screens, 4 in the front and 3 more in the second row.
This will certainly help keep much of the family entertained on long journeys, as well as on-track to the destination thanks to the clarity with which navigation data can be displayed.
Passengers can also use their own screens to search for destinations and then forward them to the driver to start the journey, meaning the driver needn’t ever have to fiddle with touchscreens while on the road.
Other features on display were a plush interior with soft-touch materials, a full suede headliner, metallic trim finishes, leather seats, and contrast white stitching throughout, as well as ambient lighting and enlarged windows for a better view when you’re out on the road. It’s set to be built as a plug-in hybrid, making it well suited to both city and highway driving.
2018 Jeep Grand Commander – China
Hang on a moment, how could we forget? Since 2018, Jeep has had a 7-seater on the market. The only trouble is that it is exclusive to the Chinese marketplace, so unless you’re living and working in Beijing, you’ve likely never seen it.
This model is called the Jeep Grand Commander, and despite the similarity in name, it is marked as an independent model and has no relationship with the Grand Wagoneer described above.
The Grand Commander features a somewhat small 2.0L gasoline engine paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission. The smaller engine size reflects the purpose of this car, which is for family city driving.
The Chinese market loves big cars, and with most of the population now living and driving in cities, horsepower is not a primary concern.
The vehicle features 3 seating rows, as well as 4-wheel drive, LED front and rear lights, a large central infotainment touchscreen similar to that you’d find on the Grand Cherokee or Wrangler models, and a 2-3-2 seating arrangement row to row.
Conclusion on 7 passenger jeep
While there were some rumors that the Chinese Jeep Grand Commander might make its way into the American market, these soon proved to be false.
The North American driver will have to await the arrival of the production-ready Jeep Grand Wagoneer to get their hands on a 7-seater Jeep.
Of course, they could also trawl the used and classic car markets to see if there’s an old 1992 Grand Wagoneer going spare! I think it’s more likely they’ll wait for the new model. Roll on, 2022.