Experienced by Kimatni D Rawlins, www.AutomotiveRhythms.com
The 2023 Wagoneer L and Grand Wagoneer L duo is no sheep in wolf’s clothing. Instead, they are extra-large in size, off-road capable, luxuriously laden (especially the Grand), powerfully impactful, and technologically loaded with every possible amenity. Moreover, as the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer continue increasing market share in the premium, full-size SUV market, the L models are competing with the Suburban and Escalade ESV for customers requiring additional storage in the rear of the third-row. The American SUVs have also been mechanically updated with a family of new Hurricane Twin Turbo engines for greater efficiency and performance.
The original Jeep Wagoneer was introduced in 1962 as a 1963 model, and today the second coming maintains some of the original DNA such as large glass openings and trapezoidal wheel wells. However, jeep stretched out the Ls because 30% of the segment uses the third row and prefers cargo capacity of at least 40 cubic feet behind row three. As a result, the Wagoneer L and Grand Wagoneer L have been lengthened 12″ while the wheelbase was extended 7.” The increase gives owners of the Wagoneer L 42.1 cubic feet and Grand Wagoneer L owners 44 cubic feet of space behind the third row to pack up luggage for eight with no qualms. Problem solved!
Remember that parent company Stellantis is not branding the pair of legends as Jeeps but as standalone Luxury outliers of the brand. Customers have been pleasantly surprised with the American SUV’s refreshing touchpoints and level of sophistication. Think of them as the nomads of the family that ventured off for a lifetime of adventure but eventually returned home to share the excitement. My neighbor was so enthralled with the Grand Wagoneer after I brought one home for a week of evaluations last year that he threw out his Lincoln Navigator research and purchased the Jeep grandmaster. But he was happy to see that it also featured power-folding running boards, an original Navigator trait.
The Wagoneer drives big and heavy but moves fluidly. You know immediately that this massive SUV will garner ancillary attention on the road. For the launch of the L models, I headed to the mountainside of Boseman, Montana to extensively test drive and off-road the set. I started with a gorgeous Grand Wagoneer L Obsidian 4×4 with the 3-liter Hurricane 510 (equating to 510-horsepower) that pushes out 500 lb-ft of torque. This engine replaces the model’s previous 6.4-liter V8 that delivered 471-horsepower and 455 lb.-ft. of torque. Consequently, acceleration was never an issue during highway passing, and quickly overtaking smaller vehicles was thrilling. On the other hand, the Wagoneer L receives the base Hurricane Twin Turbo with 420-horsepower and 468 lb-ft of torque which swaps with the prior 392-horsepower and 404 lb-ft. of torque 5.7-liter V8 engine. Both Hurricanes matched with the respected TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic transmission. Stellantis says the pair produces fewer emissions while delivering more power and exemplary performance as the company aims for 50% of the fleet to be electrified by 2030.
Stylistically, the SUV’s unique physique is long, wide, tall, rounded in the front, and squared off towards the rear. Yet, the Wagoneer L will need to continue establishing its identity and disposition with US car buyers. Standard 20″ or 22” aluminum wheels featuring various finishes and textures come standard on the Grand L. However, I’m a massive fan of the 22″ tinted polished rims with black inserts outfitted on my ride. This setup corresponds with the black wheel well trim, Piano Black exterior accents, the sporty black roof, dark tow hooks, and Jeep’s familiar, darkened 7-slot grille. Most of these features, along with the premium 23-speaker 1,375-watt McIntosh MX1375 Reference Entertainment System and front console cooler, are part of the $5,495 Obsidian Appearance Package.
I felt pretty fancy when I climbed into the cockpit to take command of the two-spoke steering wheel. Looking around the “lounge on wheels” in amazement, I wondered how Stellantis could pull off this level of opulence and wizardry, especially the Grand Wagoneer L that exponentially advances utility and comfort. For example, the Grand features either Nappa leather or Palermo leather-trimmed and quilted seats, a leather-wrapped instrument panel, two 10.1″ touchscreens as part of the available $2,195 Rear Seat Entertainment system, a start button surrounded by a knurl-patterned bezel, and a 10.25″ rear comfort screen situated between the captain chairs with configurable controls including the seat back massage.
Additionally, the exquisite interior is set off by wood-like panels in the Wagoneer L and genuine handcrafted Satin American Walnut in the Grand Wagoneer L, an aluminum rotary gear select dial, a digital rearview mirror, a tri-pane panoramic sunroof for sunshine to all passengers, and a fancier Uconnect 5 with a 10.1″ or 12″ touchscreen for operating everything from Apple CarPlay to navigation. I’m also thrilled that product planners kept the physical “volume” and “seek” knobs! Moreover, the 2023 Grand Wagoneer L receives a 10.25″ touchscreen on the dashboard of the front passenger with control capabilities for various situations. One is Co-Pilot (navigation, device management), the other is entertainment (via HDMI or Rear Seat Entertainment control), and the last is the ability to watch the vehicle’s exterior cameras.
When it’s time to hit the trails or go camping with the family, the Wagoneer L’s Selec-Terrain traction management system will certainly come in handy. You can set the SUV in Rock, Sand/Mud, Snow, Auto, and Sport modes, and manually raise or lower the Quadra-Lift air suspension. Three 4×4 systems include Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II, and Quadra-Drive II with active low range and a rear electronic limited-slip differential. Your ride will be able to swim in 24″ of water, raise 10″ for more ground clearance, and tow up to 10,000 lbs. A few advanced safety technologies include Active Driving Assist, Night Vision with Pedestrian and Animal Detection, Traffic Sign Recognition, Surround View Camera, Intersection Collision Assist, ParkSense Automated Parking System, and Drowsy Driver Detection.
In Montana, I also drove the new Wagoneer L Carbide 4×4 dictated by a slick black-out design theme. Of course, the Wagoneer L is subdued compared to the Grand Wagoneer L, but it is still prominent. Highlights of the $3,695 Carbide appearance package consist of 20″ Gloss-Black aluminum rims, a tri-pane panoramic sunroof, Black Onyx grille rings, Gloss Black grille texture, Smoke accent interior stitching, and Global Blacks seats, instrument panel, and doors.
The premium American icon is reborn to excite the market with innovation and capability. Expect an MSRP of $71,080 for the 2023 Wagoneer L Carbide and $98,090 for the Grand Wagoneer L Obsidian 4×4. Keep in mind that options will increase both prices as a Grand Wagoneer L can tip the scale past $109,000.