The Jeep Wagoneer disappeared from existence following the 1991 model year, as the Grand Cherokee took over for it in the 1993 model year. This was the beginning of the softening of the Jeep brand, as even its once rugged Wrangler eventually morphed into more of an on-road vehicle capable of light off-roading through the 1990s and 2000s. According to a statement by Fiat – parent company of Chrysler and Jeep – CEO Sergio Marchionne, the Wagoneer will bow in shortly and sit on the same underpinnings as the current Durango.
The details are still very slim on this rebirth of the Wagoneer, but being it is going to ride on the same underpinnings as the Durango, we can make some pretty safe assumptions. We will use our knowledge of the current automotive world to give you the best idea possible of what to expect from this new Wagoneer. Unfortunately, all we have to go off of is the CEO’s words, so we will continuously update you as details come to the surface.
Click past the jump to read our full review and keep on the lookout for updates.
Image note: All images are of the 2012 Dodge Durango, not the Wagoneer.
Given that the Wagoneer will be based on the outgoing Durango, the body will likely resemble the Durango very closely, sans a few mild styling changes to the grille, headlights and taillights to make it look more like a Jeep. One thing that you can toss out now is expecting this modern era Wagoneer to resemble its utilitarian style of yore. Jeep has carved out a nice niche of finely styled SUVs and parent company, Fiat, is unlikely to start messing with success.
You can also forget about the woody-style panels on the door. That was “the thing” on SUVs back in the 1970s and early-1980s, and Jeep would be in bad shape if this new SUV were to don faux wood panels. In terms of body style, we assume that the new Wagoneer will fall somewhere between the Grand Cherokee and the Liberty – not too rounded and not a flat front, like the Liberty.
First and foremost, given the range of SUVs existing in Jeep’s lineup and the storied history of the Wagoneer being a people hauler, expect this model to sit atop the Dodge Durango Crew platform, which allows for seven passengers.
We anticipate the Wagoneer to feature all of the basic items expected in a family hauler, including: navigation, A/C, AM/FM/CD stereo system with Uconnect, optional leather seating, and loads more. You can expect the interior of the Wagoneer to be almost a carbon copy of the outgoing Durango, with some basic Jeep upgrades.
Engines and Drivetrains
We also expect there to be the same two engines that are available in the Durango Crew, the 290-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6 and the 360-horsepower 5.7-liter HEMI V-8. Also look for this classic SUV revived to bear both rear- and all-wheel drive.
We also expect to see Chrysler debut an 8-speed automatic transmission, just in time for the Wagoneer’s debut. This drivetrain, combined with the Durango’s tough uni-body construction will add up to a roughly 8,000-pound towing capacity, which we would expect to lead the class.
There is no pricing information to give yet, but we anticipate a base price in the high-$20,000s, keeping it just below the range-topping Grand Cherokee.
When Can I get One?
Chrysler hasn’t released an official debut date yet, but we assume that the Wagoneer will debut before the Durango gets the axe. Early indications were pointing to a 2013 model year arrival, but it is way too close to that model year to roll out a new model. We are probably going to see the Wagoneer in showrooms for the 2014 model year.
The Wagoneer’s main competition will likely come from the Ford Explorer, which in 2013 will boast a 290-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 standard and have an optional EcoBoost 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that pumps out 240 ponies to help it get best-in-class fuel economy and not lose much power. The top-level Sport trim will have a 3.6-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 that pumps out a V-8-like 350 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. Add in that the new Explorer is just plain sexy and you have some tough competition, except the fact that it only seats five people.
The next in line to compete with the new Wagoneer will be the GMC Terrain Denali. The Terrain Denali runs into the same downfall as the Explorer, it only seats five people. The Terrain Denali will feature a standard 301-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6 engine that also boasts 272 pound-feet of torque. For those looking for more mpg, the Terrain Denali has an optional 2.4-liter engine that pumps out 182 horsepower and gets 32 mpg. The Terrain Denali is no shabby looker, but the Explorer definitely has it beaten in the sexiness department.
Because Chrysler hasn’t released any information yet on the Wagoneer, we are stuck with just educated speculations. On the surface, it appears that the Wagoneer will be the most utilitarian of the uni-body SUVs, but also won’t be quite as nimble as the Explorer and Terrain Denali, so you have to decide what’s more important in an SUV, hauling and towing or agility.
We will continue to update this review as more information becomes available.
Reviving a legendary name
Will likely lead the class in towing
A well-tested platform
No information given yet
Turbo V-6 would be a nice option
Likely will not have a manual transmission option