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Design Boss Says Jeep ‘Will Remain Boxy’ With EVs on the Horizon

Jeep's European design boss prefers to stick with boxy designs, even if it means giving up efficiency in return.
Jeep

In the quest to give EVs greater range, automakers have focused heavily on streamlining designs to improve efficiency. While many manufacturers are happy to build sleek, slippery lozenges, Jeep is eager to stick to its traditional boxy design language going forward.

Daniele Calonaci, designer of the new Jeep Avenger, recently spoke to Top Gear, discussing the brand’s design goals going forward. He highlighted that the company doesn’t want to compromise its aesthetic by building more rounded crossover designs. “There’s a lot of companies around the world that are going into the crossover world, but Jeep will remain more… boxy world,” said Calonaci. That’s a word you can rely on, too—Calonaci is Jeep’s design head for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

The designer noted that modern tastes call for good ground clearance and a “commanding” seating position, with electrification often on the table, too. However, these priorities can lead to trade-offs elsewhere in a design, such as compromised headroom or storage space.  Calonaci isn’t a fan of this ethos. “Jeep will remain boxy,” he says, adding “Maybe we will lose two kilometers in the range, but in the end we will make our customer happy.”

That isn’t to say the brand will stay rooted in the past. Calonaci is well aware of the benefits of electric drive, with instantly available torque on demand. He’s happy to see the brand embrace electrification, which has been slowly happening over the years with more hybrid models joining the lineup. Jeep has four EVs on the way to the U.S. market by 2025, and early images suggest they will be instantly familiar to fans of the brand.

As a designer, it’s clear Calonaci has a strong understanding of the fundamental things that make a Jeep a Jeep. While brands like Hyundai are free to experiment with new futuristic forms, Jeep is a brand that has to stay rooted to its rugged, hearty fundamentals to a large degree.

Realistically, it’s easier to see customers buying a shorter-range Jeep that’s a little less efficient, rather than some slippery futuristic model that looks nothing like the models that have come before. The automotive industry continues to change, but at heart, some things at Jeep will always stay the same.

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