Is The Wagoneer S Trailhawk Concept A Preview Of The Next Cherokee?

There Is A Lot Of Details Showing That It Could Just Be...

Jeep® has always been synonymous with rugged off-road capability and innovative design. The unveiling of the all-new Jeep Wagoneer S Trailhawk Concept, the brand’s first fully electric Trailhawk, has sparked quite a bit of conversation about a future electric Jeep “Trail-Rated” off-roader.

The Trailhawk Concept, revealed at the Wagoneer S (KX) launch, showcases the American adventure brand’s commitment to merging electric technology with its legendary off-road prowess. But what if this new Trailhawk Concept is also hinting at what we can expect from the next-generation Jeep Cherokee (KM), set to debut late next year?

Shared DNA: Platform and Powertrain –

Jeep® Wagoneer S Trailhawk Concept. (Jeep).

While the Wagoneer S Trailhawk Concept is the very first Wagoneer vehicle to feature the Trailhawk’s Trail-Rated branding, the Wagoneer lineup has always been a more luxurious and premium offering of the Jeep brand. While the Trailhawk Concept ditches some of those luxurious appointments in favor of more mainstream Jeep ruggedness, it makes sense that this is simply a tease at what Jeep has in store for the next Cherokee.

The Wagoneer S and the next-generation Cherokee will be built on the versatile STLA Large architecture, which is expected to underpin many future Jeep products. The architecture is designed to accommodate internal combustion engine (ICE), hybrid electric (HEV), and battery-electric (BEV) powertrains. While the new Wagoneer S will only offer a BEV option, the next-generation Cherokee is rumored to be both HEV and BEV-powered.

Jeep® Wagoneer S Trailhawk Concept. (Jeep).

The Trailhawk Concept is powered by dual electric-drive modules (EDMs), delivering 600 horsepower and 617 lb.-ft. of torque. While the standard Wagoneer S can go from 0 to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds and has a range of 300 miles, the more off-road-oriented model will likely differ due to its different suspension settings and all-terrain tires. Sharing the same EDMs, an electric Cherokee Trailhawk could likely deliver equal performance.

Off-Road Prowess and Advanced Features –

Jeep® Wagoneer S Trailhawk Concept. (Jeep).

Following in the footsteps of the last Cherokee Trailhawk, the Wagoneer S features the Jeep® Selec-Terrain® system, which includes modes like Auto, Sand, Snow, Eco, Sport, and an added Rock mode. It also features a driver-selectable electronic rear-axle locker. The concept is built to tackle a variety of terrains.

The concept also features under-body protection with several skid plates protecting the SUV from off-road obstacles, such as the battery pack, integral suspension parts, and front and rear overhangs.

Jeep® Wagoneer S Trailhawk Concept. (Jeep).

Interestingly, unlike the 2023 Cherokee Trailhawk, which wore Firestone Destination A/T tires, the concept wears a much more aggressive and larger 31.5-inch Falken Wildpeak A/T AT3W rubber. If the 2026 Cherokee Trailhawk incorporates these off-road features, it’s already off to a good start.

Design and Innovation –

Jeep® Wagoneer S Trailhawk Concept. (Jeep).

The exterior design of the Wagoneer S Trailhawk Concept blends functional ruggedness with modern aesthetics. Key design elements include a lifted suspension, heavy-duty tow hooks, functional air extractors, and Jeep’s iconic seven-slot illuminated grille. The concept also features unique front and rear fascias, further hinting at a departure from the production Wagoneer S.

The concept’s Banner exterior color, anti-glare hood decal, and unique 18-inch wheels add to the vehicle’s distinctive look. These design cues are likely to influence the styling of the next Cherokee. Expect to see a blend of rugged functionality and sleek, modern lines, making the Cherokee both a capable off-roader and an appealing urban vehicle.

Interior Comfort and Utility – 

Jeep® Wagoneer S Trailhawk Concept. (Jeep).

Inside, the Wagoneer S Trailhawk Concept showcases a blend of comfort, technology, and practicality. The interior features Mantis Green non-leather synthetic materials, meteorite-inspired real stone veneer accents, and Radical Red anodizing. The octagonal steering wheel with a tactical grip, functional cross-car grab bar, and modular cargo management system highlight the vehicle’s adventurous spirit.

The concept tones down the luxurious aspect of the Wagoneer S and moves to more conventional materials. Subtle hints show a possible Cherokee influence with an instrument panel (I/P) without a passenger screen; there is a Jeep steering wheel instead of the two-spoke Wagoneer unit, a redesigned center console that looks more mainstream with a simple rotary shift, a more basic Selec-Terrain® selector, and different bezels.

Jeep® Wagoneer S Trailhawk Concept. (Jeep).

The 2026 Cherokee could adopt a similar approach, combining durable and eco-friendly materials with practical design elements. For instance, the modular cargo management system could become a standard feature, providing customizable storage options for active lifestyles.

A Vision of the Future –

Jeep® Wagoneer S Trailhawk Concept. (Jeep).

The Wagoneer S Trailhawk Concept is more than just a showcase of Jeep’s latest technology and design. It is a statement of intent, signaling the brand’s direction for future models as Jeep transitions to an electric future, whether hybrid or electric. The features and capabilities demonstrated in the Wagoneer S Trailhawk Concept will likely be incorporated into the next-generation Cherokee.

Robert S. Miller

Robert S. Miller is a diehard Mopar enthusiast who lives and breathes all that is Mopar. The Michigander is not only the Editor for MoparInsiders.com, 5thGenRams.com, and HDRams.com but an automotive photographer. He is an avid fan of offshore powerboat racing, which he travels the country to take part in.

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