GMC is considering adding a new utility vehicle to its lineup, but it probably won’t be a Jeep Wrangler fighter. According to Automotive News, GMC wants a crossover to slot below the Terrain to challenge Jeep’s Compass and Renegade compact utes.
Speaking to AN at the launch of the 2018 GMC Terrain, Buick and GMC chief Duncan Aldred said the small SUV segment is “an obvious place” for GMC to expand. It’s unclear if such a vehicle would arrive in place of the long-rumored GMC Wrangler competitor if greenlit, but at any rate that model is likely off the table now.
“I don’t think it’s worth trying to take on Wrangler,” he told AN in a separate interview. “But I think there’s an opportunity somewhere in that space.”
Aldred has reversed his position from two years ago, when he said a “Wrangler-esque type of vehicle” was a possibility. Given the U.S. auto market’s shift toward crossovers over the last few years, the move isn’t all that surprising. Offering a smaller, lower-priced crossover would help GMC bolster its sales, which have traditionally been upheld by the Sierra full-size pickup but have more recently seen crossovers like the Acadia and Terrain make up a larger percentage.
But even though it’s not looking to challenge the Wrangler anymore, GMC will be a better foil to Jeep if it adds a crossover below the Terrain. The 2018 GMC Terrain starts just below $26,000, so a smaller GMC crossover could start somewhere in the $20,000 range to position itself against the Compass and Renegade.
It sounds like we won’t see a Wrangler competitor from GM anytime soon, but off-road enthusiasts can take comfort in the fact that the upcoming JL Wrangler will probably be a good one. The next-gen Wrangler is expected to offer a diesel engine and a new full-time four-wheel-drive system, among other upgrades.