It’s not easy to turn a huge SUV into a runway. They tend to be large forest animals. And taking a premium three-row full-size SUV and stretching it to create a long-wheelbase version only makes the job more difficult. But it can be done. Exhibit A: The 2023 Jeep Wagoneer L and its upper twin: the 2023 Jeep Grand Wagoneer L.
On display for the first time at the New York Auto Show, these new seven-to-eight passengers are more than a foot longer than the short-wheelbase Wagoneer family, with a wheelbase that has been extended by seven inches. The difference is similar to that between Chevy’s Tahoe and the longer Suburban, while the “L” in their names picks up the designation Jeep applies to the smaller two-row Grand Cherokee’s longer three-row sibling (Grand Cherokee L).
The front and rear views are unchanged, but take in the silhouette to appreciate the difference the extra length makes. The elegance designers talked about when the Wagoneer sub-brand debuted last year after a 30-year hiatus comes into sharper focus now. Extending the rear window does wonders for the proportions of a vehicle that is now 226.7 inches long, up from 219.7 inches.
The U-shaped windows and emphasis on a large greenhouse – accentuated by the black roof and pillars – are much better appreciated on the longer wheelbase. And the rear doors have a straight cut; moving the rear wheels seven inches back means the wheel well no longer bites into the shape of the door. It reminds us of the Chrysler 300 wagon that outshined the sedan sedan with its elongated body panels.
Not surprisingly, the long-wheelbase SUVs are the same from the C-pillar onwards. Physical changes were made to the rear doors and rear of the vehicle, although the tailgate is unchanged. The extra length goes to the increased passenger space and much more cargo space behind the third row, giving the Jeep some of the best dimensions in its class. Even 22-inch wheels don’t look oversized here.
Hit by a hurricane
The other big news: the all-new Hurricane Twin Turbo I-6 engines make their debut in the 2023 Wagoneer L and Grand Wagoneer L. Yes, in the lead-up to electric vehicles, Stellantis knew it needed another new engine family in the transition when, let’s face it that, internal combustion engines will still power many vehicles for the next decade and the automaker’s aging powertrain must remain competitive.
According to Stellanti’s Dare Forward 2030 plan, 50 percent of new vehicles sold in North America will be electric by 2030—meaning 50 percent will still have an ICE. But, in a nod to the inevitable electrified future, the Hurricane engine was designed to be paired with any hybrid, including a plug-in hybrid. Starting from scratch allowed powertrain engineers to pack more performance and efficiency into a smaller engine. The standard Hurricane engine is a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged I-6 rated at 420 horsepower and 468 lb-ft of torque. It will be the standard engine on the 2023 Jeep Wagoneer.
The high-output Hurricane engine is a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged I-6 rated at 510 horsepower and 500 lb-ft of torque. The 510, as the high-output engine is known, is standard on the stretched 2023 Jeep Grand Wagoneer L. Both Hurricane engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
There are no plans to offer an optional V-8 given that the new I-6 outperforms Jeep’s top-of-the-line 471-hp, 455-lb-ft 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 by every measure. With the Hurricane engine, fuel economy improves 15 percent over the 5.7-liter V-8 and is 13 percent better than the 6.4-liter V-8, we’re told.
While the Hurricane engine debuts on the stretched Wagoneer family, Jeep is offering the Hurricane as an option on a limited number of 2022 regular-size Jeeps. The 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer that has the 6.4-liter V-8 as a standard engine will offer the Hurricane 510 as an option. Eventually, the short-wheelbase 2022 Wagoneer with the base 5.7-liter V-8 engine will get the Hurricane 410 as an option.
Engineering for extra length
To ensure a dynamic ride with the 130.0-inch long wheelbase and an additional 200 pounds, engineers have reconfigured the suspension, which continues to be an independent rear with a four-corner air suspension standard on the Grand Wagoneer L and optional on the Wagoneer L. family Short wheelbase Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer, there are three all-wheel drive settings.
The steering wheel ratio was also changed to ensure an on-center feel. Towing performance is 9,450-10,000 pounds. And the big boys get a bigger fuel tank. The extra four liters of capacity, and the new more efficient gas engines, allow Jeeps to travel an additional 30-70 miles between tanks.
Introducing Carbide Trim
Jeep showed us a 2023 Wagoneer L in the new Carbide trim, which is the blacked-out equivalent of the Obsidian trim on the Grand Wagoneer. We previewed a 2023 Wagoneer L Carbide in Baltic Gray with a gloss black finish and wheels, triple glass roof and a black roof rack. Inside there are some new upholstery materials, a black headliner and smoke accent stitching on the black seats, doors and dash. The Carbide package will be offered on the 2023 Wagoneer and Wagoneer L in the second half of the year but will also be made available on the 2022 short-wheel base Wagoneer this spring.
Inside the stretched Jeeps, there are few changes up front. There’s the same 75 inches of available screen space inside the Grand Wagoneer L, including a 10.3-inch co-pilot screen for the front passenger that floats above the butcher block-inspired wood panel. Choose the metal package that replaces the wood for a more edgy look. At each end of the dash, “Established 1963” is etched into the metal.
Another Easter egg at the end of the dashboard: the small “Level 0” badge, which is a tribute to the late Sergio Marchionne who was CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles during the development of the Wagoneer family, and to Mike Manley, the Jeep boss who took over as CEO when Marchionne died in 2018.
Both championed the Wagoneer program for the many years it was on a to-do list. “Level O” refers to the CEO who is the top of the organizational chart. “It’s my personal thanks to them,” says director of interior design Chris Benjamin. Another nod to Marchionne: McIntosh premium sound system. Marchionne was an audiophile who used his personal playlists as music leading up to the start of events such as earnings calls or press conferences.
Lots of interior space
Passenger space is huge in all three rows. Benjamin, 6 feet, 4 inches, can fit behind himself in any row without his knees touching anything—there’s 42.7 inches of legroom in the second row and 36.6 inches in the third row. It provides easy access to the third row and designers have added new storage boxes on each side that can hold a small tablet. The third row also has folding seats with comfortable backrests and wide armrests for children who tend to flop around in their seats. The air vents blow air from the sides of the vehicle below the belt line instead of raining down on top of your head. All rows have A and C USB sockets.
The seven available screens use the latest Uconnect 5 infotainment system running Android and offering five times more power. Uconnect lets you do everything on one screen but also has physical controls for all the main functions. The Jeeps come with hands-free Alexa voice assistant connected to a home system, so you can ask how full the gas tank is from your living room or set the temperature at home from your car. Use relaxation modes to transform your screen into a seascape, the Aurora Borealis or a crackling fire. Fire TV is available for rear seat passengers.
The big difference is cargo space behind the third row, which grew by 50 percent, from 28.4 cubic feet to 44.2 cubic feet. There is 88.8 cubic feet behind the second row. There are six tie-down loops in the cargo area and the Grand Wagoneer L has the Cargo Management Rail System on the flat cargo floor to prevent items from sliding around. A tonneau cover is optional. Loading is made easier with a lower lift height than others in the segment. Power folding seats are standard on the Grand Wagoneer L.
The stretched Jeeps will come out later this year. The price has not been announced.
The large U.S. SUV segment skews one-third long-wheelbase, two-thirds short-wheelbase, and Jeep executives expect the Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer family to follow the trend set by competitors like the aforementioned Chevy Tahoe/Suburban, GMC Yukon / Yukon XL and Ford Expedition/Expedition Max. The original Wagoneer was the vehicle of choice for family trips and with the addition of the Wagoneer L and Grand Wagoneer L, that tradition can continue in style.