Home » What It Was Like Using The 2023 Jeep Wagoneer To Tow Its Predecessor 2,500 Miles Across The Country

What It Was Like Using The 2023 Jeep Wagoneer To Tow Its Predecessor 2,500 Miles Across The Country

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The 1979 Jeep Cherokee you see on the trailer in the photo above is built on the same platform as the very first Jeep Wagoneer “SJ.” The Cherokee weighs over 4,300 pounds, has the aerodynamics of a barn, and is filled with hundreds of pounds of junk that David wanted to transport from his old home in Detroit to his new home in LA. Here’s what it was like using the modern Jeep Wagoneer — a body-on-frame, twin-turbo, inline-six-powered luxury behemoth — to yank that heavy load from The Motor City to The City of Angels.

[Editor’s Note: Hi, it’s David, here. Back in December, I began “wave one” of my multi-part move from Detroit to LA — a move complicated by the fact that, well, I’m a car-hoarder. As such, I needed something that could tow Jeeps, and what better vehicle for the job than the towing-king in Jeep’s lineup, the Wagoneer? Jeep kindly lent us one for a full week, and we absolutely punished it. Here I am using it to pick Jason up at the Detroit airport before our big trip — it’s a classy-looking machine with lots of presence:

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Before long, the machine was loaded to the brim with heavy boxes and towing an also-loaded-to-the-brim 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle, then it saw a bit of snow, a bit of mud, a lot of traffic, and the wrath of a messy 12 year-old. Here’s how it fared. -DT] 

Torch’s Take On Driving The Wagoneer All The Way Across America

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I’ll be honest: In many ways, this is the most narrow sort of review I’ve done, because I really only drove the new Wagoneer in one lone, solitary context: filled to the brim with David’s crap, and towing one of his cars. Almost all of the driving was done on highways, at highway speeds of between 55 and 75, with lower speeds happening earlier in the trip, as per the sticker applied to the fenders of the U-Haul car-trailer we were using.

As time stretched on, as the Road Madness set in, and America’s interminable stretches of highway loomed longer and more and more cruel in their refusal to not end, I found myself pushing the rig faster and faster, and I am pleased to say that the Wagoneer was up to the challenge. Really, for the highly specific task I demanded of the Wagoneer, it performed that task remarkably well, and with only a few things I may choose to gripe about.

Luckily for Jeep, this particular task – long, high-speed road trip, possible towing something – is one that has fairly high demand here in America, land of long, long roads that many people would like to glide down, in comfort, hauling both ass and crap.

What Makes It Tick?

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The Jeep Wagoneer and its fancier sibling, the Grand Wagoneer, are Jeep’s towing kings, in part, because they’re the size of full-size trucks, and they’re built on a truck-like ladder frame (see below). The only other Jeeps that are set up for towing are the Grand Cherokee and Gladiator, the first of which is smaller and a unibody design, and the latter of which is a mid-size truck.

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The Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are big, they can tow about 10,000 pounds, and they have presence. The two are the most imposing, baddest Jeeps in existence — the top of the Jeep totem pole — with curb weights of over 6,000 pounds, and three absurdly powerful engine options: a 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six, a 5.7-liter Hemi, and a 6.4-liter Hemi. The hybrid 5.7 is actually the least powerful motor, making 392 ponies; next up is the base 3.0-liter straight six, which pumps out 420; from there, a naturally aspirated 6.4-liter V8 offers 471 horses while a hotted-up version of the straight-six squeezes out 510. All engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic.

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Suspension for the body-on-frame beast is a short-and-long-arm independent setup in the front and a five-link independent suspension out back. Our 420 horsepower 3.0-liter Wagoneer was outfitted with Quadra Lift air suspension in place of the standard coils (the cylindrical tank shown in the image above).

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Our Jeep, and all inline-six and 6.4-liter V8-powered Wagoneers, came with a two-speed “Quadra Drive II” transfer case (which features a full-time mode for those who like to set and forget) with a 2.64:1 low range gear ratio. There’s a limited slip diff out back in the 3.92-geared differential, which, along with the 4.71:1 first-gear ratio and 2.64:1 low range ratio offers a crawl ratio of 48.7 — more than respectable figures that will work with the 3.0-liter’s tremendous 468 lb-ft of torque (at 3,500 RPM) to get the Wagoneer up and over damn near anything, in theory.

Approach, breakover, and departure angles are decent at 25, 22, and 24 respectively. This is a big beast, so its geometry will limit its capability compared to a vehicle with smaller overhangs and a smaller wheelbase.

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Ground clearance is good thanks to air suspension — 10 inches. And when the vehicle runs out of it, there’s lots of underbody protection in the form of stamped steel skid plates under the front diff, transfer case, and fuel tank:

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Our Wagoneer, equipped with the Advanced All-Terrain Group, came equipped with 275/65R18 Firestone Destination AT2 all-terrain tires — those are about 32-inches in diameter.

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Basically, the Wagoneer is what a Grand Cherokee would be if it were on a Ram “DT” body-on-frame platform. In fact, here’s the Wagoneer beside a new Grand Cherokee L:

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This shot really shows the difference — that body-on-frame architecture really lifts the Wagoneer up high:

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The biggest Jeep in the lineup is compelling on paper; it’s got Stellantis’s most modern engine in that straight six hooked to the company’s best automatic in the eight-speed, it’s got air suspension to give it enough ground clearance to get that huge body well away from the ground, it’s reasonably large got all-terrain tires, a low-range-equipped four-wheel drive system, a limited slip diff out back, skid plates, tow hooks, and just enough to let you have fun out in the sticks. In theory, that is. We didn’t put the Wagoneer to the test off-road; we just needed it to tug some iron.

How Does It Drive?

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This is one of those times where my evaluation of how a car drives will actually be quite different from, say, what you may experience on a test drive, because nearly all of the time I drove this SUV it was pulling about 3,000 pounds of ancestor Jeep. That means I’m not really sure if I can tell you how it turns, if it carves corners like a weasel on rollerblades or anything like that, because I was going in straight lines with a caboose for 99% of this trip.

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But, in that context, well, it does great! There’s a substantial and very old-school AMC-like straight-six under that chonky hood, and it makes over 420 horsepower and 468 pound-feet of torque, the combination of which provided surprisingly good acceleration even with the substantial load.

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It’s a very comfortable ride, quiet and solid-feeling, and the steering is, well, very assisted, as you’d expect. It’s a very easy SUV to drive, really, once you get used to its bulk. Sure, the huge trailer, which frankly had too much weight clustered at the rear thanks to the whole spare engine David had shoved in the back of his Golden Eagle, was pretty susceptible to crosswinds and some alarming serpentine motions, but I can hardly blame that on the Wagoneer. If anything, I was able to wrest control back pretty quickly, which has to say something good, right?

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[Editor’s Note: I agree with Torch. The Wagoneer glides like a magic carpet, it’s surprisingly quiet inside, and despite its enormous curb weight, the twin-turbo straight six felt more than adequate. Here I am doing a WOT (wide open throttle) pull on the highway:

As you can see, there’s a bit of lag between the shift and boost, but the big Wagoneer then quickly and confidently accelerated down the freeway without making too much noise. -DT]

How Does It Look?

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I suppose the Wagoneer’s design is handsome enough? It looks modern and clean and has a noble solidity to it all, but at the same time I can’t help but want something, I don’t know, a bit more. It’s sophisticated and restrained, but those qualities very quickly blur into boring, and I’m afraid that’s what’s happening here.

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I feel like from a bit of distance, it would be really hard to identify this as a Wagoneer; I get that Jeep is trying to make the Wagoneer distinct from the Jeep design language (the name Jeep doesn’t even appear anywhere obvious on the Wagoneer) but it seems that in the company’s quest for premium-ness and refinement, it lost some identity.

Sure, you can get the fancier version, the Grand Wagoneer, in a sort of two-tone, where the greenhouse is painted different than the body:

Wagoneer 2tone

…but I’m not sure that’s really enough, especially if there’s any desire to have an association with the original Wagoneer, which was stylish but by no means understated. I think if Jeep is going to use the Wagoneer name, there shouldn’t be such trepidation about making it feel at least a bit like the original Wagoneer, and I don’t think it needs to devolve into some retro cartoon, it just needs to be less guarded and self-conscious.

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Original Wood

When the Wagoneer was first announced, I made a quick mockup that you can see above showing how perhaps the old Wagoneer’s trademark wood paneling could be integrated into the new design. I’m not saying whatever gets done has to be this, but I do think the design needs something to help solidify its identity.

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My colleague David wrote the article above titled “The New Jeep Grand Wagoneer Isn’t Beautiful Enough For Its Name,” and while I might replace “beautiful” with “distinct,” I otherwise wholeheartedly agree with him.

 

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What’s The Interior Like?

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The new Wagoneer is not cheap, starting at, what, about $60,000 for the base trim, and it’s alarmingly easy to spec one to $80,000 or well over $100,000 without even trying too hard, especially for the Grand Wagoneer version. The good news is that the interior does definitely feel like money was rubbed all over it, even when it’s crammed full of boxes containing David’s stuff, which has been proven to emit high-frequency “devaluation rays” to anything within 15 feet of it.Reararea

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In my particular circumstance, the important thing for me on this trip was keeping my shockingly-now-12-year-old kid, Otto, as entertained as possible on those long, boring stretches of huge sky and flat land and unceasing ribbons of asphalt that could go on for hours and hours. Luckily, the Wagoneer we had was equipped with the rear seat entertainment screen package (and lots of plugs, and HVAC controls), so it was up to the challenge.

Here’s a little promo video that shows what it offers; essentially, it’s like a tablet, just stuck to the back of the seat:

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So, thanks to that screen, Otto made himself a little comfortable nest in that second-row seat, bounded by boxes of David stuff, eating junk food I’m going to ask you not tell his mom about, watching his goofball YouTube videos on that screen, reclining the seat to nap, and generally enjoying what seemed to me like an ideal modern-kid-comfort-and-entertainment pod.

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I mean, I’d kind of like to spend a few days like that; in a comfortable chair, zero responsibilities, snacks, the world whizzing by out the window and any entertainment I want on a screen right in front of me. That’s living, right there.

Thirdrow

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Even if I lamented the somewhat generic look of the Wagoneer, there’s no denying the boxy shape encloses a huge volume of space, which means even the third row felt relatively roomy, at least what I could tell for the tiny amount of time it was exposed before it was folded down and covered with strangely damp boxes of David’s stuff.

One disappointing thing that makes up both the interior and exterior is the rear hatchback. Specifically, the mere fact that it is one. On a car that feels as premium and costs as much as the Wagoneer does, you kind of expect something more than just a hatch. A hatch is fine, but nothing more. The original Wagoneer, though, had a tailgate design, and there’s something about that that just feels more thoughtful and flexible and luxurious (Land Rovers and Rolls Royce SUVs have them).

Wagoneertailgate Classic

Why couldn’t Jeep have designed this with a hatch and a fold-down tailgate? The tailgate could have incorporated seats and a drink holder and been a fun extra something that just makes it all feel more, and worth the Wagoneer’s high cost. It could have made the rear of the SUV an engaging place to be instead of just where you end up to shove in your groceries.

[Editor’s Note: I had a chance to hop into the Wagoneer after unloading all my boxes, and I found there to be plenty of legroom, even way in the back. Check it out:

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This is without even pushing the middle-row seat forward:

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And there’s still enough room behind the rear bench for a big Pelican suitcase and other junk:

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This may come as a shock, but it turns out that a car that’s gargantuan on the outside is also rather large inside. -DT]. 

Electronics And Screens And Computers And Lasers

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This is of course a very modern car, and as such is jammed full of all the stuff you expect in a modern car: full LCD instrumentation, a large center-stack touch screen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, lane assist and dynamic cruise control, in-car WiFi via the car’s own cellular data connection (that WiFi came in clutch when David arrived in LA and hadn’t set up his internet. There he is working in the photo below), USB ports all over of the A and C varietals, those rear seat entertainment screens, and I think I saw a SCSI port hiding in there somewhere, but I’m not certain of that.

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For the most part, it all did what you’d expect it to do, and the Wagoneer’s instrument cluster UX was attractive and quite legible, with a good bit of flexibility. My one issue is that while using CarPlay as my primary interface with the center stack infotainment system, the system would often lose connection with my phone, and on at least two occasions the center stack UX crashed entirely, causing it to re-boot while driving.

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I don’t really know what was going on to cause this; I wasn’t doing anything particularly unusual, just a CarPlay connection to my iPhone, playing a podcast and using Apple Maps for navigation. Hopefully this is just some over-the-air update away from being fixed.

[Editor’s Note: I’d like to just mention a few things while we’re on the topic of software and electronics. On the plus side, as shown in the image above, the Wi-Fi came in soooo clutch. Also, the surround-view camera makes parking this truck so easy, it’s almost a joy:

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But I do have a few beefs — two minor, and one that should be fixed right away via an over-the-air update. The first minor one has to do with windows freezing up:

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I didn’t do an A-to-B comparison with another vehicle, but with very little ice on the windows, the Wagoneer’s would no longer lower. And this is the top-dog Jeep! This is supposed to be a winter-conquering machine! Only to be defeated by a tiny amount of ice? On top of that, I noticed only marginal rear window defrost performance. Not ideal for a vehicle that many in wintry states will find otherwise appealing. 

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I’ll also mention the Quadra-Lift air suspension system’s propensity to want to raise when driving. This makes sense; you don’t want to drive with the suspension lowered too far, or you’ll have a harsh ride with no uptravel. But this became a problem in my parking garage, which was extremely tight for the Wagoneer. Honestly, I was within an inch of hitting pipes, and to realize that and then look down and see the air suspension’s second light start blinking, and the car raise itself, was just shocking. I jammed the down button as fast as I could to keep the car at its lowest ride height. 

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But the biggest problem I have with the Wagoneer from a usability standpoint has to do with the low-range switch. Take a look at the image above and imagine your right elbow on that padded center console armrest. Now think about where that would put your hand, if you were to just rest it — the answer is: Right here on the low-range switch:

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Here’s a look from the top, as shot from the passenger’s seat — you can see the low range switch situated flat on the right side of the image:

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There are two very dumb things about this setup. For one, the low-range switch shouldn’t be flat — it’s too easy to accidentally hit it. But the second mistake was making it a haptic-style touch-switch. This button should be vertical — somewhere on the dashboard where it won’t get accidentally pressed over and over and over again by someone who just wants to rest his right elbow on a center console. Some sort of software update that automatically ignores a “4WD Low” button-press at speeds above 30 MPH could help. Because endlessly listening to the car tell me I can’t shift into four-low while on the highway was less than pleasant. -DT. 

What About The Fuel Economy?

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I need to remind everyone that this is a review of the Wagoneer as a tow vehicle, fully laden and pulling a trailer that had to be close to 7,500 pounds or so. So keep that in mind when I tell you I averaged less than 10 mpg.

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I don’t think the Wagoneer is especially known for fuel economy – the AWD ones are only rated at 16 city and 22 highway, so about half that while pulling a heavy-ass trailer seems about right. If your primary focus is fuel economy, I can’t say a Wagoneer is your best choice, and especially not a Wagoneer pulling an old Jeep full of crap.

Hope you enjoyed that economy tip!

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Did It Do The Job?

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I realize this sort of test is almost like testing a locomotive: mostly straight, fast, long driving, pulling an unpowered, wheeled platform, with a passenger that spends time looking wistfully out a window or watching Kirby game speed runs on YouTube while eating snacks. In the context of being a capable road trip machine that can haul some weight, the Wagoneer did this job admirably.

It was a cold, often bitterly unpleasant trip, weather-wise, and the Wagoneer was always a warm, welcoming cocoon from the cruel Midwestern winter, comfortable and rational and even stylish on the inside — a far cry from the cold, cranky people I’d see bundled up in frumpy layers of jackets in gas stations. The Wagoneer felt like a mobile oasis I was always happy to slink back into.

Is this a vehicle I’d ever want to own? Honestly, no. And while it’s certainly capable, it’s expensive and the competition out there is stiff. I mean, a Kia Telluride is a handsome SUV that’s a bit smaller but it’s significantly less money — in some trims half as much. And it does just about everything you’d want the Wagoneer to do, though I don’t think it could have towed a trailer this weight as effortlessly as the Wagoneer did.

As I’ve mentioned before, moving David was absolute hell. The vehicle he arranged for me to drive to help him move, though — it may be one of the only reasons I didn’t leave him stranded in a crappy hotel, vomiting. I feel like that’s high praise for the Wagoneer, and Stellantis should feel free to use that in its advertising.

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[Editor’s Note: As for me, I agree with Torch that the new Wagoneer isn’t as unique and different as its name suggests maybe it should be. It’s got a few human-machine-interface issues that I hope will be mended, it’s thirsty, it’s big, and there are certain sections of the dashboard that can feel a little down-market. But one thing remains undeniable: The Jeep Wagoneer has presence. Though it’s not the same presence that a uniquely-styled car like, say, a Toyota FJ Cruiser would command, it’s still big, imposing, classy, and luxurious. Stepping out of the Big-Dog Jeep makes you feel like a boss, and to some people, that has value. -DT]. 

 

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Andy Carlson
Andy Carlson
11 months ago

I just can’t get over how genetically bland and boring it is. It’s like Jeep took the third gen Chevy Tahoe, put a Jeep grill on it, and then somehow made it even more generic.

I really don’t understand either. This from the company that sells the Wrangler which is a design based on a design of a scout car from the thirties. Jeep clearly doesn’t mind cashing in on nostalgia/retro vibes.

David Willoughby
David Willoughby
11 months ago

I have one of these. Currently about 12,000 miles. Was in the shop for five months because the transmission shifter knob failed and they could not get the part. Tried lemon law but was ruled against because it was one attempt at repair that took 5 months not multiple attempts. The service air suspension warning has come up several times. Going in for a second attempt at fixing this. The lane keeping has completely stopped working. The blind spot system says sensor blocked and turns off in the rain even though there is nothing blocking the sensors. There was also a full day when the infotainment would not talk to my phone. The air suspension has also spent a day stuck at maximum lift. It has not been a good experience so far. The seat bottom side bolsters are also ridiculously hard. I’m very fit and the pressure on my hip bones is very uncomfortable. I guess I shouldn’t have ordered one after sitting in the Grand Wagoneer seats, live and learn.

Dennis Frederickson
Dennis Frederickson
11 months ago

From an industrial design standpoint, the slab sides lack ANY semblance of interest or character.
They would hugely benefit from some imaginative paint schemes to break up the monotony. Two tones, three tones, retro, anything … help.

R.J.
R.J.
11 months ago

This is a good article. I feel better about choosing the Grand Cherokee L over the Waggoneer. It’s better all around, as long as you are towing less than 6,000 lbs.

Santiago Iglesias
Santiago Iglesias
11 months ago

Torch, you very likely activated the trailer sway control to save your butt.
and David, even the Pacifica is rated to tow 3500 lbs. Wranglers all have some level of tow rating too

Detroit-Lightning
Detroit-Lightning
11 months ago

I’m sure this would be a great vehicle to own, drive, not give a fuck about anything in, etc – but I despise these things (along with escalades, g-wagons, hummer ev’s, and anything else this big and stupid).

Too big, too expensive, too frequently owned by bozos that drive them like jerks (or don’t know how to drive at all). These things are a menace, and I can’t stand them.

Strangek
Strangek
11 months ago

My neighbor down the street has a new Wagoneer and a new Grand Cherokee (they’re not base models, I don’t understand the economics of this, that’s almost new house money on my street). I think the GC looks great. The Wagoneer? meh. I’d go for a Suburban or Yukon if I was shopping in this segment.

Cyko9
Cyko9
11 months ago

I’m still on the fence about the new Bronco styling, but I do think they pushed the neo-retro approach enough that the new vehicle has character. That’s one of the reasons I like Jeeps: they have identity. If you cover the new Wagoneer’s grille in a photo, it’s easy to confuse it with a GMC or Chevy; it’s not very remarkable. The ergonomic issues are unforgivable, even for a first try. Nevermind the luxury, I’d rather have driven the Golden Eagle; the gas mileage can’t be much worse!

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
11 months ago

Back in the 1900’s, we rarely had issues with frozen windows. Just wail on that crank and poof! Window open.

MegaVan
MegaVan
11 months ago

“that body-on-frame architecture really lifts the Wagoneer up high”

You comment on how tall it is vs the current Grand Cherokee – it would be very interesting to have a deep dive about why that is.

You can’t just say “it’s because of the ladder frame” – because that’s kind of a lame excuse. It’s about so much more.

The original Wagoneer had a ladder frame and what, 8″ of clearance? Park this next to one. Wagoneers are short.

My J10 has a 4″ lift. It has the clearance of a Raptor but is shorter than most trucks around. How?

My theory (unproven) is that Jeep prioritized off road characteristics and compromised drivers position and cabin height to do it.

A co-worker had a 1976 F250. It was a nice truck. Sitting in it felt like a truck.

He got in my J10 and was shocked. He said he felt like he was riding in the same position as his Ford Galaxy.

Maybe that’s unacceptable these days, but it feels like 60 years ago they came out with a design that was both an SUV and decent off road compared to a Suburban or Travelall. Low COG.

This just feels like a direct copy of the Tahoe and Expedition. The Grand Cherokee L Summit is a truer interpretation of what the Wagoneer should be.

David Tracy
David Tracy
11 months ago
Reply to  MegaVan

I’m sitting in my J10 right now. So naturally I agree that a frame isn’t the only factor in the Wagoneer’s height. But it does raise the floor.

MegaVan
MegaVan
11 months ago
Reply to  David Tracy

I agree with the floor raising.

It’s just disheartening to see an off road brand get on board with the trend of making everything taller.

Robot Turds
Robot Turds
11 months ago

I think Jeep finally made something that the stuck up rich people will buy. I live in California in a hoity-toity neighborhood and I have seen several Grand Wagoneers parked in the driveways of some of the fancy homes around here.

Parsko
Parsko
11 months ago

I will finish the last 1/4 of this article tonight, but I scrolled though for the only take I was looking to read, Otto’s take. Where is that???? I bet his grammer is better than yours, based on yesterday’s post……

Dead Elvis, Inc.
Dead Elvis, Inc.
11 months ago
Reply to  Parsko

*grammar

Alan Christensen
Alan Christensen
11 months ago

“…a classy-looking machine…” However, in the airport photo it has a bit of cartoonishness going on. A winking eye headlight, and underneath a row of teeth and a gray tongue. Try to not see that now.

RootWyrm
RootWyrm
11 months ago

“and I think I saw a SCSI port hiding in there somewhere, but I’m not certain of that.”

Actually, it’s an SFF-8784 port. 😉

“but with very little ice on the windows, the Wagoneer’s would no longer lower. And this is the top-dog Jeep! This is supposed to be a winter-conquering machine! Only to be defeated by a tiny amount of ice?”

I can actually explain this one, I suspect. One of the new safety regulations in the past decade is power window pinch protection. Basically, cars have to stop trying to roll the window up if they detect the possibility a kid or a dog is stuck in it. Frozen windows can, you guessed it, confuse the pinch protection.
Also just about anything else. Literally anything. We’ve had the doors on my 997.2 apart no less than five times trying to figure out why the pinch protection keeps tripping intermittently. Plus two switch assemblies and a motor.
I still can’t use the auto rolldown function reliably.

“Take a look at the image above and imagine your right elbow on that padded center console armrest. Now think about where that would put your hand, if you were to just rest it — the answer is: Right here on the low-range switch:”

YES. So much yes. The entire center console setup in the Wagoneer just made me groan a lot. It’s such a terrible setup ergonomically from start to finish. Worse, the whole thing feels like they took a Ram Tradesman and just slapped money on the plastic parts.
When I was evaluating it (I’m very average height) I found the armrest downright unusable until I was resting my hand in what is a very dangerous location. Imagine 4WD Lo engaging at 40MPH. That’s not good. And being a haptic (software) button that acts as a CANbus (software) trigger? That’s just not safe. All it takes is the tiniest bug to suddenly be running 48.7:1 at 70MPH.

“So keep that in mind when I tell you I averaged less than 10 mpg.”

This right here, is beyond concerning, and why I am NOT a fan of the ‘just crank the boost on a 6 cylinder’ approach. Because it doesn’t work. And this proves it.
10MPG towing is significantly worse than a 2008 5.7 Hemi Grand Cherokee pulling a good 3000lbs more. I typically see 12MPG. At those numbers, that’s a good 20% better fuel mileage from a non-VVT, pushrod, very highly tuned V8 putting down north of 450ft/lbs, and with MPFI injection from a much much larger engine. And that’s with only 5 gears and a QTII with double eLSD.
To get 10MPG from a boosted 6 cylinder means that it’s consuming MORE fuel than engines quite literally nearing twice it’s displacement. And those engines have significantly worse injection efficiency. The Hurricane’s a DI; Hemis are all MPFI, which is much ‘lossier’ in terms of fuel delivery.
It’s such a fail that it undermines the whole premise of turbocharged DI engines. Which is that improved stratification, fine-grain control, and higher compression should result in increased power and reduced fuel consumption at like-for-like displacement. Even with the higher demand from static and dynamic compression, because the fuel is delivered in a much more precise fashion, allowing lower and more stable stochiometric ratios, in addition to greater power from smaller displacements.

I mean seriously. What the actual fuck is going on here that a 3.0 with DI isn’t even equaling the efficiency of something with quite literally close to DOUBLE the displacement, similar torque, and running at significantly higher RPMs? (Highway is 2400-2600RPM typical for me!)

“As for me, I agree with Torch that the new Wagoneer isn’t as unique and different as its name suggests maybe it should be.”

And I’m with both of you on this one. The seats while very nice, unless you step all the way up to the tippy top trim, didn’t feel as nice as the Grand Cherokee’s new seats. (Because the GW’s bones are truck seats. GC WL has all new from scratch seats. To get those seats, you’re dropping after tax, title, registration, and delivery – hang onto your butts here – a MINIMUM of $112,500. (Series II and above.)
Over one hundred thousand dollars for something that honestly isn’t significantly nicer than the Grand Cherokee, and which will be confused with a Grand Cherokee. (Seriously, the new GC is leaps and bounds above the WK2.) Having a GC 4xe and a GW literally side by side, what you really, truly see? Is that the GW is a Ram with the addition of a shitload of money, and the GC is a Jeep with the addition of a shitload of money.
And one of them costs about half as much. Your fully kitted GC 4xe 30th in Rocky Mountain Pearl-Coat (the ONLY correct color. David, think Orvis with more pearl.) tops out at about $73k. With everything. No options available, $500 charge for any color that isn’t white ($5000 charge from the Autopian if you get it in white, black, or silver. Order the damn colors.)

Setting aside that all of them are far too damn expensive period – by orders of magnitude to say the very least – for customers it’s very much a “well DUH!” The GC is a smaller, more manageable, yet still ridiculously cavernous 3-row solution that costs half as much and is just as nice. You can get the same rear seat entertainment. (Exact same – they share the part.) You get the wood trim. You get the same leather. You even get the same McIntosh audio.
Which would explain why local dealers are up to an average of $8000 off sticker for driving past, and still struggling to sell their Wagoneers.

RootWyrm
RootWyrm
11 months ago
Reply to  RootWyrm

I also forgot to mention, we’re starting to see first blush depreciation numbers on the Grand Wagoneers and Wagoneers. And, well…

A 2022 Grand Wagoneer Series I with just 17,000 miles stickered at about $99k after delivery, excluding tax. It sells used at $68.6k.
A 2022 Series II with only 12,579 miles that stickered at $112k after delivery, excluding tax? About $83k.
Now I’m no actuary, but 30% depreciation in less than 12 months doesn’t seem optimal.

rctothefuture
rctothefuture
11 months ago
Reply to  RootWyrm

A luxury vehicle depreciated quickly? Well I’ll be damned…

RootWyrm
RootWyrm
11 months ago
Reply to  rctothefuture

There’s quickly, and then there’s “holy shit what.”
Remember, this is a Jeep (except you’re not supposed to call it a Jeep.) Jeeps hold value a lot better than you think. Especially in the first 2-3 years. A 2021 Grand Cherokee Summit WK with 47,963 miles can still fetch $41k – which is 30% for 3 years on a discontinued model with way above average mileage and an accident. If you bought a 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee WK Limited, well good news, you only lost 15% if you drove it 18,000 miles in 6 months.

Wranglers? Yeah. They just don’t depreciate. To the dismay of everyone.

New, highly reviewed, highly complimented model dropping over 30% in less than 12 months and being completely unable to sell new in this market? That’s a very, very big problem.

Timothy Arnold
Timothy Arnold
11 months ago

As the current owner of a WK2 Grand Cherokee, there’s a lot to like about the Wagoneer, but it’s far too large for what I need (honestly, so is the GC) – but I will agree that they whiffed on the styling. I really think all it needs is to bump the middle 2 feet of the hood up an inch then stretch the middle 3 slots in the grille up to fill that in, and a split, fold-down tailgate would be nice although it would take considerable re-engineering, so I won’t hold my breath.

Camp Fire
Camp Fire
11 months ago

I love the subliminal messaging in the cover photo.

Bwahahaha!

Skurdnee
Skurdnee
11 months ago

Those tablets on the back of the seats look terrible in a $90k vehicle. I’ve seen janky ass Ubers with better setups. I’m also assuming they’ll age terribly, with the OS lagging like shit within a few years.

LASP_JTO
LASP_JTO
11 months ago
Reply to  Skurdnee

The OS is Amazon Fire TV not an OEM OS. They’re plenty fast and won’t age any different than an Amazon Firestick on a TV at home.

Skurdnee
Skurdnee
11 months ago
Reply to  LASP_JTO

“won’t age any different than an Amazon Firestick”

oh god that’s even worse, have you ever used a Fire tablet? They’re built as cheaply as possible, and I understand you can’t expect much from a tablet that you can get on sale for like $70 but again this is a very expensive vehicle

Chartreuse Bison
Chartreuse Bison
11 months ago
Reply to  Skurdnee

And yet, a Fire TV is still vastly better than other factory rear seat entertainment systems

DadBod
DadBod
11 months ago

Thanks for pointing out the lameness of the rear hatch. It’s kind of telling that this truck wasn’t designed around a purpose (moving shit and people efficiently) so much as a marketing demo (oversized/truck/wealth/USA/golf clubs/private school).
Even a gen 1 X5 has a tail gate, and the ancient 4Runner has rear glass that opens.

UnseenCat
UnseenCat
11 months ago
Reply to  DadBod

Tailgates seem to fail in focus group testing for two reasons — One, a lifted hatch provides some shelter over your head from rain while loading the back; a tailgate+liftgate doesn’t, unless you leave the tailgate up and then lift things up and over it. Two, a tailgate raises the height you have to lift objects inside by at an inch or two, maybe more, more depending on how the hinges work, and then they have to be slid further across the tailgate to be fully inside the car. Hatches usually let you lift heavy objects to rest on the bumper, and then the rest of the way into the car. Tailgates require heavy things to be lifted in one go.

Fixed glass in hatches really sucks since it limits your options for carrying long objects which can stick out the back. But like was mentioned in the 4Runner article, leaving the glass up tends to pull exhaust fumes in, and it can get damaged if it bounces hard enough — I suspect it gets left out when liability questions come up.

Boring cars and limited functionality seems to be the way things are going… 🙁

GreatFallsGreen
GreatFallsGreen
11 months ago
Reply to  UnseenCat

The proliferation of the power liftgate has also made any of the alternatives kind of moot for most people. A separate opening liftglass was pitched as handy if you needed to just toss in some smaller items and didn’t need to lift the whole back door, and likewise a drop-down tailgate helped with hauling down a whole back door down. With a power gate, just click the button maybe before you even get to the car, and walk away while it closes.

I’m not an engineer so don’t quote me on these, but there’s also body rigidity and noise concerns, since you’ve got a second hole in the back for the glass, be it a fully opening liftgate or a drop-down tailgate, and the two rubbing against each other. I want to say too that the drop-down tailgates stuck around as an option when the vehicle body maybe couldn’t support the full weight of a whole lift-up gate. Similarly, there was some model that escapes me now, that as power liftgates were becoming more popular, an engineer or someone cited that the model didn’t offer one because the body wasn’t rigid enough to support the extra weight of the mechanicals for it.

Uberscrub
Uberscrub
11 months ago

I know you can’t review “will it baby?” as you used to – but it sure seems it can pre-teen. Of course the car is made for fitting people in comfort-so we should assume it does.

Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
11 months ago
Reply to  Uberscrub

This thing doesn’t just baby, it broods.

Salaryman
Salaryman
11 months ago
Reply to  Uberscrub

Honestly, this seems big enough that it could make baby as well.

Harvey Park
Harvey Park
11 months ago
Reply to  Uberscrub

Maybe David can pick up that mantle now that he’s in LA and drives a 21st century whip that looks snazzy af

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
11 months ago

If it doesn’t say Jeep, it isn’t.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
11 months ago

Since when is Michigan to California All way across the country? Sorry you have to pack up and start over from the East Coast dip a tire in the ocean then All the way across the country.

10001010
10001010
11 months ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

Way back in 1900 and 84 Sade established that coast-to-coast consisted from L.A. to Chicago. Given that Detroit is just 200+ miles past Chicago I judge that this counts as a cross country trip.

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
11 months ago
Reply to  10001010

OMG I just had a Ravishing Rick Rood flashback.

Dead Elvis, Inc.
Dead Elvis, Inc.
11 months ago
Reply to  10001010

Chicago? Third coast, baby!

A. Barth
A. Barth
11 months ago

That’s a good story, and I’m glad you collectively survived relatively unscathed. (I’m not sure where ‘vomiting’ lands on the scathe scale.) Otto had the best deal by far.

“then look down and see the air suspension’s second light start blinking, and the car raise itself, was just shocking”

My Range Rover Sport would remain at the lowest suspension setting only up to a specific speed, but IIRC it would provide visual and auditory warnings that the suspension was about to go back up – sort of like “hey idiot, slow down or this is going to happen”. 🙂

Arch Duke Maxyenko
Arch Duke Maxyenko
11 months ago

I think the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are both ugly. The squinty front end look doesn’t align with such a huge surface area (why does it need to look suspicious of everyone? It should be a big, friendly, welcoming face), the D Pillar treatment is ALL wrong, the hatch should most definitely be a split tailgate or at least have an opening window, and the chrome strip to create the semi-floating roof look needs to go away forever.
If it was my money on the line, it would go to a Tahoe or Escalade.

chad Face
chad Face
11 months ago

I think they wagoneer and escalade/suburban look very similar. And I hate both of them. But the escalade is much worse. Mostly because of the people I see driving them – entitled soccer moms/dads who think they’re the main character of the story. I watched one circle a parking lot, then just stop in the middle of the lane and park so they could get their order from the fancy cupcakery. Legit blocked 3 cars, 1 of which was in a handicap stall.

LTDScott
LTDScott
11 months ago

One correction: David rented a Uhaul car trailer, not a car dolly. Frankly I’m surprised he didn’t pick the dolly just to save $10/day while insisting the 15 year old mud terrains on the back of the Cherokee will totally hold up across the country.

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
11 months ago
Reply to  LTDScott

Why settle for saving only $10/day when flat towing is even cheaper?

Andrew Gessel
Andrew Gessel
11 months ago

Torch, you are aware that there’s a company (same one that does reproduction paneling for the old GW) that makes “wood” paneling for the new ones, right? We had a new Wagoneer on our most recent trip to LA, and we loved it so much we’re considering buying one. And immediately putting wood paneling on it because you’re right, it’s not distinct enough without it.

Skurdnee
Skurdnee
11 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Gessel

I respect any attempt to get away from bland vehicle colors but holy hell this woodgrain molding looks awful. Big PT Cruiser energy- https://wagonmaster.com/products/2022-grand-wagoneer-woodgrain-molding

DadBod
DadBod
11 months ago
Reply to  Skurdnee

Those guys seem like clowns, but this dude seems legit simply because he has no time to make a fancy website: https://grandwagoneer.com

Dead Elvis, Inc.
Dead Elvis, Inc.
11 months ago
Reply to  DadBod

this dude seems legit simply because he has no time to make a fancy website: https://grandwagoneer.com

Having a site that looks like peak 2005 isn’t exactly something that instills confidence. Farm that shit out to the professionals so it looks as good as the work you’re trying to sell.

IRegertNothing, Esq.
IRegertNothing, Esq.
11 months ago
Reply to  Skurdnee

Yeah that looks terrible. The side profile wasn’t designed to have paneling on it, and the patch on the rear hatch looks like the shitty veneer from a public school desk.

RootWyrm
RootWyrm
11 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Gessel

Don’t give them your business. I won’t give them mine.
“Low quality” would be a massive improvement for their ‘reproduction’ parts, and in terms of honesty and ethics? It’s a big fat ‘no.’ Look at what they ask for ‘restored’ Wagoneers that they maybe put $5k into.

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