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It’s fitting that Jeep is bringing back its iconic SUV just as SUVs are soaring in popularity, as the Jeep Wagoneer is one of the vehicles that paved the way for the modern SUV. Though the modern sports-utility vehicle was not even a concept when the Wagoneer debuted with the 1963 model year, people were drawn to its blend of luxury and functionality, and really not much has changed conceptually with the 2021 Jeep Wagoneer.
There is still the body-on-frame construction, comfortable seats, the pickup-truck chassis, the powerful engine, four-wheel drive, and off-road-ready features. In essence, everything you could possibly want in a sports-utility vehicle. Of course, Jeep continues to refine its blend of off-road capability and luxury.
The Jeep Wagoneer was marketed as a go-anywhere vehicle initially, and not a sports-utility vehicle, because it was so far ahead of its time that no one knew what to call it. However you want to describe the latest incarnation is up to you, but know that it brings just as much utility as its predecessors, and then some.
The 2021 Jeep Wagoneer will share a chassis with the Ram 1500, and both will be built at the Warren Truck Assembly Plant in Warren, Michigan. Marrying the proven capabilities of the Ram 1500 chassis with Jeep’s off-road chops should make for a great combination. Basing the Jeep Wagoneer on the award-winning fifth-generation Ram 1500 architecture will certainly give the Wagoneer a solid base to work with. The Jeep Grand Wagoneer will also be debuting soon and will be the larger version of the two. Expect the shorter wheelbase Wagoneer to compete with the likes of the Yukon, Tahoe, Escalade, and Expedition, while the longer wheelbase Grand Wagoneer will take on the Suburban, Yukon XL, and Escalade ESV.
This is already a competitive segment, and with Jeep now bringing its unique combination of toughness and luxury, expect the segment to become even more competitive. Rivals will certainly have to up their off-road game once Jeep’s entry into the full-size SUV segment hits the market. While Jeep will bring its off-road-ready features to the segment, expect the Wagoneer to compete well as a full-size luxury SUV too.
While no formal announcement has been made about the engines just yet, we do know there will be a number of choices. The Wagoneer’s body-on-frame underpinnings are derived from the 2020 Ram 1500, and it appears they will also be sharing engines. So let’s take a look at what engines will be joining the Wagoneer’s lineup.
We can expect the base model Wagoneer will be outfitted with a 3.6-liter V6, that boasts 305 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. The expected fuel efficiency is 20/25 mpg (2WD) and 19/24 mpg (4WD). In the Ram 1500, this engine features the eTorque mild-hybrid electric-assist system for increased efficiency and horsepower. This is a solid engine that has been around for some time, so we know that it's reliable and a good choice as the base option for the Wagoneer.
Expect the 5.7-liter V8 from the Ram 1500 to also join the lineup. This engine offers 395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque. It's current fuel economy ratings are 15/22 mpg (2WD); 15/21 mpg (4WD); 17/23 mpg (eTorque 2WD); and 17/22 mpg (eTorque 4WD). For those who need a little more power for towing, the 5.7-liter engine will be a welcome addition. But if you’re looking for even more power, the Wagoneer will most likely be offering a HEMI as well.
Another potential option is the Global Medium Engine Turbo-6 (GME-T6) engine. This could debut as early as 2023 and will be featured on many vehicles in the FCA lineup.
That’s correct—a Jeep with a HEMI. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Well, let’s take a look at this engine. The 6.4-liter HEMI V8 is the one that has been rumored to be a part of the lineup. If this is true, that would mean you would be looking at 410 hp and 429 lb-ft of torque. You won’t find this engine in the Ram 1500’s lineup—this is an engine from the three-quarter and one-ton offerings. You’ll only find this engine in the heavy-duty truck segment, so you know it will provide more than enough power for the Wagoneer.
No word yet on whether the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 will be an option, but Jeep has hinted at two other potential options on the horizon. Sometime after the Wagoneer launches, expect these engines to join the lineup. The first is a new hybrid powertrain system, most likely a plug-in hybrid system similar to what you will find in the 2021 Jeep Wrangler.
Jeep is committed to an electrified future, so you can expect electric options to be ubiquitous across their lineup. In fact, Jeep wants all vehicles in its lineup to have a hybrid electric counterpart by 2022. This is an exciting direction for Jeep—for many reasons. First, and the most obvious, is the added 4x4 capability of an electric engine. With so much torque and immediate engine response at your disposal, you are sure to have a blast on the trails. The other benefit of this technology is that it’s quiet. Whether you’re rock crawling or mudding, you won’t have to yell over the engine.
The 2021 Jeep Wagoneer will certainly not be short on tech. Take, for example, one of the more fun features we can expect: a new massaging chair for both the driver and front passenger! Now that’s traveling in style.
The Wagoneer will also feature a lot of the same tech as the Ram 1500, so you can expect to see Adaptive Cruise Control with full-stop and go, LaneSense, and ParkSense Parallel, and Perpendicular Park-Assist. Another cool feature that the Wagoneer will adopt from the Ram 1500 will be the incredibly useful 360-degree Surround View camera system. These are all welcome additions and will be great features to look out for when you are deciding how to outfit your Wagoneer.
We can expect the 12-inch Uconnect system will also be offered on select models, with the 10.1-inch touchscreen also available. So while we don’t know exactly what will be offered, we do know that there will be no shortage of technology onboard.
The trim levels should be structured like the Grand Cherokee. We can expect that there will be an entry-level trim for both the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer and that it will be very competitive in the segment.
Considering the off-road features available to Jeep, you can expect this model to be ready to hit the backcountry right off the lot. There will also most likely be a host of safety features included as standard for the base trim. If you consider that the Grand Cherokee includes standard options such as a high-resolution 7-inch touchscreen Uconnect system, blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, dual-zone climate control, parking sensors, and a rearview camera, it’s safe to assume the Wagoneer will have similar standard features at this level.
Moving up just one trim level to the Limited trim will most likely bring a power liftgate, power front seats, power sunroof, and heated front seats. You can expect the Wagoneer to quickly transform into a luxury SUV as you climb the trim levels. While we do not expect a Trackhawk model, be sure to look out for a Trailhawk model utilizing the Ram 1500 Rebel’s four-corner air suspension. That’s a model most competitors will have a hard time competing with.