2023 Jeep Wagoneer L, Grand Wagoneer L: Remix of large SUV recipe with extra frosting

“Along with its rich heritage (the Jeep brand is a global icon, which the Wagoneer embraces with American flags tattooed on its flanks), the Wagoneer is based on the Ram 1500, already hailed as the best-riding pickup in the class, courtesy of its independent rear suspension .

“Wagoneer embraces this advantage by creating a solid bench in the third row. I’m a 6-foot-5 ex-college basketball player and could sit behind myself in the second row. Easy headroom, easy legroom.

“Pack your family of four rugrats for a cross-country trip to Yellowstone and they’ll have plenty of real estate in the back. You have to set some rules so the kids can switch seats. Second-row thrones offer Amazon Fire TV screens with all their favorite shows , for God’s sake.

“The third row lacks screens but it’s hardly the basement. Each seat gets its own USB port, a cubby that can hold small computer devices and (I love this) its own sunroof. So when parents decide to close the panoramic sunroof, third the row of coach class passengers can still sun worship if they want.

“For all its exclusive technology, however, the Wagoneer Loooong can fall short.

Automakers such as GM (Super Cruise) and Ford (Blue Cruise) are now making long-distance driving easier with semi-autonomous systems. Once the domain of luxury wagons like the Cadillac Escalade, they are now available in Suburban and Expedition models. Heck, I even drove a Kia Sportage — at $38,000, half the cost of those mega-ute behemoths — hands-free from Gaylord to Detroit recently.

“My $87,000 Wagoneer had no such technology, its average adaptive cruise system offering only forward detection for a long highway trip.

“But when you get to your hotel, the Wagoneer offers parallel and perpendicular self-parking – one of my favorite features for big cars where the rear C-pillar is in a different zip code. Modern applications – like the system in, say, the Ford Explorer I recently drove — are fully autonomous, braking accurately and steering backwards into your intended parking spot.”

— Henry Payne, Detroit News

“Both Hurricane engine variants in the Grand Wagoneer L felt smooth and potent; the base engine is roughly on par with the Escalade’s 6.2-liter V8. And with ample cabin insulation, the engines sounded almost eerily quiet.
“The Grand Wagoneer L handles its bulk pretty well when cornering. And you can beef things up a bit with a sport mode and an adaptive suspension. But with an extra 1,500 pounds or so, you get some of the nimbleness you feel from Frame 1500.
“At times the Grand Wagoneer L can feel comically large. The Jeep found a cafe with angled parking for our rest stop, which led to a bit of a traffic jam. After stopping to take pictures, I ran around for about 30 seconds trying to figure out on why the Grand Wagoneer L warned me something was open. It took me so long to realize the tailgate was up. I couldn’t feel it from all the way forward.
“We didn’t fill up our Wagoneer vehicles. But don’t expect them to be cheap to run. They earn around 16-17 mpg combined. And you’ll probably buy premium, which is recommended on the standard-powered Hurricane and mandatory on the 510- version.”

—Tyler Duffy, Gear Patrol

“If you flatten the second and third seats, the proverbial four-by-eight sheet of plywood slides in like a piece of dry toast. A nine-foot Orvis fly rod will rest flat when inserted diagonally. You can carry the Delaware in this The SUV, and, all kidding aside, the center console will swallow a basketball.
• 44 cubic feet behind third-row seats (17 cubic feet more than SWB Grand Wagoneer)
• 43 inches of legroom in the second row
• 131 cubic feet of cargo volume behind the first row
Who needs a Ram pickup?
There is a genuine car enthusiast angle to all of this. (Cars were made in America in the mid-to-late 1900s, but you weren’t born then.) It’s Chrysler’s all-new ‘Hurricane’ twin-turbo inline-six — not bent but straight, you read that right — belting out the 420 or 510 horsepower, your choice. This costly jewel-like revelation is a rev-happy 3.0-liter dervish that would blow our minds if it ever powered something as small as, say, a car.
“This engine offers bits to make engineers cry: a water-to-air intercooler, dual oil pickups in the sump, and a compression ratio as high as 10.4:1. The turbos aren’t sequential, instead serving three holes per, and low-end torque is plentiful. In fact, here’s what it sounds like: 500 pound-feet from the high-output version, which should be enough for your 9,000-pound horse trailer. Plus, the glistening alloy block is less than 29 inches long and has been dyno-tortured nearly flat on the side. Which means it fits in almost any vehicle. Except on the Chrysler, which one? A grumpy old Charger? Still, for the second time in its long career, the iron-block Hemi is to be dropped by the curb.

“In our testing, the GWL (which gets the more powerful six) hit 60 mph in 4.7 seconds. If that’s too leisurely, maybe buzz the McIntosh stereo’s 1375-watt amplifier to the eight-speed automatic. Voila, a new kind of hybrid .

“We should note that there is not a dusty scintilla of Jeepishness in any of these luxo-leviathans. No Jeep this exclusive has ever worn the tread of blue-collar Toledo, Ohio, although it occurs to us that Mayor Kapszukiewicz might want to name a suburb after.”

—John Phillips, Car and driver

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