Just a few short hours ago, we captured GM benchmarking the Jeep Wrangler at its Milford Proving Grounds in Michigan, marking the first time that GM has tested Jeep’s free-spirited SUV in the past decade.
What we spotted was a pair of Wrangler Unlimited four-door models prowling GM’s test grounds, both decked out in a bevy of sensors and other data-collecting equipment. So we are going to cautiously, yet optimistically reach the following conclusion: a GM Jeep Wrangler fighter might finally be coming.
The idea that GM could produce a Wrangler fighter has been a topic of discussion for quite a while now. But now, just a few years ago, we reported that it was unlikely based on comments made by GMC boss Duncan Aldred. But with a pair of new Wrangler models out and about in Milford, perhaps The General’s thinking has changed.
So then – what would a GM Jeep Wrangler fighter actually look like?
Prior to its debut in June 2018, we believed the new Chevy Blazer could possibly fit the Wrangler fighter bill. But we’re tossing that option out the window, since the all-new Blazer is a crossover built on the GM C1XX platform, the same platform as the GMC Acadia. In that regard, it targets the ever-lucrative and highly-important (for the bottom-line) midsize crossover segment, but doesn’t pretend to touch on Wrangler territory.
As any off-road enthusiast will tell you, a GM Jeep Wrangler fighter would have to be a body-on-frame SUV to have the right stuff in the rough. As such, we think a pair of brand new Chevrolet and/or GMC entries with brand new nameplates unriddled by any historic baggage would be perfect. The duo could feature substantially different sheet metal while riding on GM’s upcoming VSS-T architecture, which is meant to consolidate all of GM’s body-on-frame vehicles on a single vehicle set.
Either way, a GM Jeep Wrangler fighter would face some stout competition. The Wrangler is obviously the dominant force in the mainstream off-road SUV segment, and the name carries legendary status. But Ford is working on a rival of its own with the upcoming Ford Bronco, which will be loosely derived from its midsize pickup truck – the Ford Ranger.
Here’s to hoping that this sighting of the Jeep Wrangler being benchmarked by GM at its Milford Proving Ground is a true indication that The General will create a true off-road-oriented SUV of its own. Rest assured, we’ll follow this story as it develops. In the meantime, be sure to subscribe to GM Authority for more around-the-clock GM news coverage.