Jeep Wagoneer S Trailhawk concept returns to brand's roots

For a brand so intrinsically linked with off-road capability, it's a little unusual that Jeep's first all-electric offering would be the decidedly street-oriented and high-performance Wagoneer S Launch Edition. According to Bill Peffer, senior vice president and head of Jeep for North America, that's mainly a result of that model having been developed and planned just a bit ahead of the also-upcoming Jeep Recon. But at the Wagoneer S reveal, Jeep also showed that it still has off-roading in mind with its Wagoneer S Trailhawk concept, which seems much more classically Jeep.

Much of it is the same Wagoneer S that we now know, though no specifications were given. It's entirely possible it isn't quite as powerful or as lavishly equipped with convenience technology as the Launch Edition. This is evident by the lack of a passenger infotainment screen on the inside. But what it might potentially lack in outright power and gadgets, it gains in practicality on rough terrain.

It has an additional 3 inches of ground clearance, bringing it up to 9.4 compared to the Launch Edition. This is partly due to the 2 inches of suspension lift, and another inch from the 31.5-inch all-terrain tires fitted. Those tires are mounted to 18-inch multipiece wheels that, while not beadlock-capable, do have an extra ridge on the rim to help prevent the bead from unseating at low tire pressure.

Approach and departure angles are improved with steeper front and rear bumpers, and the Selec-Terrain traction system has an additional "Rock" mode that the Launch Edition lacks. It looks the rugged part with more scratch-resistant black plastic trim along the fenders, bumpers and rocker panels, as well as bright red-orange tow hooks and a fancy aluminum roof rack. Badging is flush, apparently just for looks, and the hood features a matte-black anti-glare decal. It even gets "Desert-Rated" badging on the sides like the Jeep Gladiator Mojave, indicating that Jeep has some confidence in the Wagoneer S Trailhawk not just off-road, but fast desert off-roading.

The interior also gets an off-road makeover. We mentioned that it lacks the screen count of the Launch Edition, and the main reason for that is the addition of a massive grab bar in front of the passenger. This also has threaded inserts that allows owners to mount various equipment. There are extra grab handles in the center console, too. Upholstery is faux leather in a Mantis Green color with Ultraviolet purple contrast stitching. That's not the wildest part, though. It also has granite veneer trim, selected for its similarity to bits of meteorites. And in the doors, there are storage straps that can be moved and reconfigured as needed for handling whatever gear you want. Ralph Gilles, chief design officer for Stellantis, noted that these straps would be coming soon to other future Jeep models.

As for the Trailhawk, Jeep didn't say for sure whether it would reach production. It seems the brand is looking for feedback on it and whether people would buy it. To us, it seems even more like what we would imagine from Jeep and in a hot outdoorsy vehicle for people with active lifestyles. We'd say it'd be a slam dunk for Jeep. We also love that green interior.

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