Long-Wheelbase Wagoneers Stretch Jeep’s Ambitions
- New stretched Wagoneers, arriving later this year as 2023 models, are 12 inches longer overall, with an extra 7 inches in wheelbase. Eight-passenger seating is available.
- Power comes from all-new Hurricane six-cylinder twin-turbo engines rated at 420 hp and 468 lb-ft of torque (for Wagoneer L) and 510 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque (for Grand Wagoneer L).
- Also debuting in New York is the Wagoneer Carbide trim, which integrates blacked-out accents such as the wheels, panoramic tri-pane sunroof, and Black Onyx grille rings.
In the span of a year, Jeep has redefined its portfolio with an intense focus on three-row spaciousness, comfort, and utility. The Grand Cherokee L launched a year ago, marking Jeep’s first three-row vehicle since the Commander was discontinued in 2010.
The revived Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer—larger than Grand Cherokee L—came to market a few months later as the icing on the SUV cake that many Jeep loyalists had been craving for so long.
The brand could have stopped there. But no, that’s not the Jeep way, and corporate bosses at Stellantis saw room for yet another money-making mega-hauler: a long-wheelbase variant to be known as the Wagoneer L and Grand Wagoneer L, debuting this week at the New York auto show and going on sale later this year as 2023 models.
To accommodate an extra 12 inches in overall length and 7 inches in wheelbase relative to standard Wagoneers, engineers designed a body-on-frame structure that uses high-strength steel, as well as lightweight, high-strength aluminum closures, such as on the hood, doors, and composite liftgate.
The long-wheelbase Wagoneers get lots of all-new content: body-in-white rear floor and rear ladder structure, seat brackets and reinforcements, rear tub, and load floors. The front suspension is independent double wishbone, while the rear independent multi-link, coil-spring suspension was chosen for a superior on-road ride and better articulation over obstacles.
The Wagoneer L comes standard with a coil spring suspension, while an air suspension with electronically controlled semi-active damping is optional on Wagoneer L and standard on Grand Wagoneer L.
Mark Allen, head of Jeep Design, says upsizing the Wagoneers by a foot overall made for quite a challenge, and the team focused on achieving the correct proportions. “If they get out of control here, you end up making a school bus,” Allen said at a recent media briefing about the new vehicles.
In the flesh, these vehicles are enormous, but he’s pleased with how the vehicles turned out. “It takes a vehicle this big to make a 22-inch wheel look normal, doesn’t it?” Allen said with a chuckle. “Once your life demands you need a vehicle this big for the kids and whatever you’re taking up north, there really is no alternative.”
Power for these extended-wheelbase models will come from an all-new Stellantis engine we just wrote about a few weeks ago, nicknamed “Hurricane.” The 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six-cylinder engine family will find its way into several Stellantis group vehicles, but the stretch Jeeps have the honor of being first.
The Hurricane engine family—with standard and high output—provides a certain amount of coverage as the parent company stretches to cut its carbon footprint by 50% in the next eight years, then achieve Net Carbon Zero emissions eight years later. Ironically, these massive Jeeps are taking the company in the wrong direction with regard to carbon footprint, but the new Hurricane engines are 1- to 2-mpg more efficient than the Hemi V8s in the ‘22 Wagoneer, the automaker says.
Product planners have such confidence in the Hurricanes that these much smaller engines are going in the much larger ‘23 Wagoneers: The standard-output Hurricane in the Wagoneer L is rated at 420 hp and 468 lb-ft of torque, compared with 392 hp and 404 lb-ft from the 5.7-liter Hemi in the standard-length ‘22 Wagoneer.
Likewise, the high-output Hurricane in the Grand Wagoneer L generates 510 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque, surpassing the 471 hp and 455 lb-ft with the 6.4-liter Hemi V8 standard in the regular-wheelbase ‘22 Grand Wagoneer. For the 2022 model year, a special run of the “Hurricane Twin Turbo 510” will be available on Grand Wagoneer, with ordering now available at dealers.
A TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission is standard with both Hurricane engines.
While the 5.7-liter Hemi pairs with a 48-Volt mild hybrid system to save fuel in the Wagoneer, the 6.4-liter Hemi does not have that capability in the Grand Wagoneer. In this first application of the Hurricane, there’s no talk of this 48-Volt hybrid system in play for the stretched variants, but the powertrain team has made it clear the Hurricane engine family is compatible with electrification.
As Stellantis draws closer to its emissions targets in coming years, it’s possible the Hemi V8s are phased out and replaced by the Hurricane engines, while battery-electric vehicles continue taking the company down the zero-emission path.
Inside, the long-wheelbase Wagoneers were designed to “delight the senses” with a rich mixture of colors, textures, and materials, says Chris Benjamin, Stellantis’ director of Interior Design-North America.
The Wagoneer L features a one-piece instrument panel, while the more upscale Grand Wagoneer L employs a two-piece design that integrates sculpted Satin American Walnut wood with “Grand Wagoneer” inlaid in metal on the passenger side of the dash (pictured below).
Oh, and there’s a lot of glass, too: in all, 70 inches of screens, including the 12-inch digital cluster, 12-inch center display, 10-inch passenger-side screen, and a 10-inch lower touchscreen for adjusting comfort settings. Running much of the content on these screens is the latest-generation Uconnect 5 infotainment system.
Leather-trimmed seats are standard in both stretched Wagoneers, and trim levels extend from Series 1 with eight-way power front seats up to Series III models with opulent Palermo leather with quilted stitching and leather on the doors, instrument panel and consoles. A particularly striking color combination is the new soft, pale Blue Agave with brown accent stitching.
Both models can be configured for eight-passenger seating with a second-row bench, or for seven passengers with captain’s chairs.
Also debuting in New York is the Wagoneer Carbide trim, which integrates blacked-out accents such as the wheels, panoramic tri-pane sunroof, Black Onyx grille rings, unique dash trim, and a black headliner. The Carbide package will be available on ‘22 Wagoneer starting this spring and on all ‘23 Wagoneer and Wagoneer L models later this year.
Allen says the design team expected the trend toward blacked-out trim packages would fizzle out five years ago, but it hasn’t happened. “It continues to be hot,” he says. “People keep asking for it.”