It’s Back! Welcome to the 2021 Jeep Wagoneer

March 13th, 2020 by

A black and white photo is shown of a classic Jeep for sale, the 1978 Wagoneer.

Sometimes in life, if you want to move forward, you have to look back. That was our first thought when we heard that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was planning to bring back a blast from the past, the Jeep Wagoneer. At Orange Coast, we are very excited to see this classic Jeep for sale once again.

From 1963 to 1991, Jeep produced these early sport utility vehicles (SUV) before most folks had even heard that term. From its boxy profile to its four-wheel drive and the wooden decal sides, there was no mistaking a Jeep Wagoneer when you saw one on the highway. When they rolled into dealerships in 1962, they were a revolutionary vehicle, welding the strength and convenience of a pickup truck with the luxury and ease of handling like a car.

Those first Wagoneers also featured an overhead cam straight-six engine, four-wheel drive, independent front suspension, power steering, and automatic transmission. What most folks don’t know is that the first design from 1963 was so successful that Jeep never created a second generation of the Wagoneer, instead simply updating the original design to incorporate advances in safety and creature comforts. This makes the Jeep Wagoneer the third longest-produced single generation vehicle in the American automotive history.

It was meant as the successor to the Willys Jeep Station Wagon that had been on sale since 1946 and went on to be even more successful than its predecessor. The Wagoneer was so successful that Jeep rolled out a more advanced version called the Grand Wagoneer in 1984. It is pretty amazing to think that the Jeep Wagoneer was built with the same looks for so many years, from the time Kaiser Jeep Corporation owned the company through to the acquisition by American Motors Corporation (AMC) in 1970 and the subsequent acquisition of AMC by Chrysler in 1987.

Sadly, the model was dropped in 1994 with the increasing popularity of the Jeep Grand Cherokee. That is why it is a thrill to us automotive fans to see Jeep ready to reintroduce the model, giving you another option if you are looking for a Jeep for Sale in America. The 2021 Jeep Wagoneer promises to carry on the tradition that started back in 1963 with the first Wagoneer but with modern updates and features that will take the SUV into a new era.

What We Know So Far

A green 1960s Jeep Wagoneer is parked in front of trees.

Early indications are that Jeep will begin rolling out the 2021 Jeep Wagoneer and Jeep Grand Wagoneer sometime in the first quarter of 2021. Early pictures have shown many sporting the faux wood side paneling, a shout out to the heyday of the Wagoneers of the past. If this is the case, then Jeep is truly looking to its historic past as it builds towards the future. That is a real plus for traditionalists like me who love automotive history, and automakers that build for the future without losing their historic identities. This has always been the hallmark of Jeep, with their vehicles being some of the most distinctive in a time of rampant copycat homogeneity.

The other information we know for a fact is that this will be the first full-size, three-row Jeep SUV since Fiat Chrysler Automotive ceased production of the Jeep Commander in 2010. This will provide Jeep with a vehicle in its lineup that can accommodate more than five passengers. The front of the Wagoneer has the distinctive grille and headlamps of a Grand Cherokee, but with a slightly wider profile. The overall chassis is longer, tapering to a rear liftgate. Some early pictures of the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer feature roof racks and running boards, but it is unclear whether this will be an integral part of the design or an optional feature.

A Possible Ram Connection

Reports have surfaced that the 2021 Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will be built at the FCA Warren Truck Assembly Plant in Michigan. Currently, this plant is used to manufacture Ram 1500 and Ram HD pickup trucks. This has fueled speculation that the Wagoneer will be built on the same platform as the Ram 1500. It has also led some insiders to believe that it makes sense, since Jeep utilizes a body-on-frame assembly focus, just like the Ram trucks.

The Ram connection has also driven many to think that the 2021 Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will feature the same engine options as the Ram 1500. If this is the case, then Jeep fans should be excited, since the Ram 1500 engines have successfully wedded hybrid technology with powerfully efficient gas engines.

If that is the case, the base engine would be a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, utilizing the eTorque system. The larger engine would be a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 that also has the eTorque system. A 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 may also be available. If so, this would improve the towing profile for the 2021 Jeep Wagoneer, as the EcoDiesel provides 260 horsepower and an amazing 480 lb-ft of torque. If the 2021 Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer end up with these engines, then it is likely that they will also feature the ZF 8-speed automatic transmission currently used on the Ram 1500.

Future Possibilities

A black and wood-paneled 1970s Jeep Wagoneer is parked in front of a field outside Costa Mesa.

There have been indications that the all-new Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will be available with plug-in hybrid drive trains. This would be a positive indication that Jeep wants to leverage new technology to make these large SUVs fuel-efficient without losing any of the power you want in such a vehicle.

Also, if Jeep keeps with its tradition, then the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will only be available as four-wheel drive. This harkens back to the original Wagoneers, which were always a 4X4 vehicle. It would also make sense because Jeep is a pioneer in four-wheel drive vehicles. There are also reports that Jeep will make the new SUVs available in special off-road packages or trim levels. This is great news to those of us who love off-roading and know that there is nothing like a Jeep if you want to get off the beaten path of life.

Finally, the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer may go with a independent rear suspension instead of a live axle. This would put it in line with luxury competitors like the Lincoln Navigator, Range Rover, and Cadillac Escalade. If this proves out, then the Wagoneer will have a roomier third row than most competitors, whose third row is often an afterthought reserved for small children and bags of groceries. It will also provide a smoother ride and better overall handling.

Jeep has yet to set a price for the 2021 Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer. Nevertheless, there has been some speculation that the base MSRP on the Wagoneer will be $45,000, and the base MSRP on the Grand Wagoneer could be around $55,000.

Jeep has a full lineup of the best, most versatile, diverse, and dependable SUVs and crossovers on the market today. You can currently choose from the classic Wrangler, the stylish Grand Cherokee, the sporty Compass, the dependable Cherokee, and the rambunctious Renegade. My personal favorite is the all-new Gladiator, the cross between a Jeep and pickup truck, with all the benefits of both in a vehicle with looks to thrill.

Come visit us at Orange Coast CJDRF to test drive a new vehicle or to discuss the upcoming Wagoneer.

Posted in Jeep for sale