Before the Jeep Wagoneer was released, some believed that the Grand Wagoneer would not simply be a higher-trim version with a much bigger engine, but that it would be longer, as well. That would fit the tradition of Grand Caravans, Grand Voyagers, Grand Cherokees, and, of course, Grand Wagoneers (though the last one was complicated—see below).
Could we still see a long wheelbase Grand Wagoneer? Here’s a hint, from an existing Wagoneer:
That’s the air conditioning label from a 2022 Jeep Wagoneer, sent in by long-time reader Matt K, and you may have noticed two points of interest already.
First, the list of engines is preceded by “SWB,” which almost invariably means “short wheelbase.”
Second, the list of engines includes the 3.6L, which is almost certainly the Pentastar V6.
We did check out the part number on the label, and it does indeed correspond to the Jeep Wagoneer. That suggests one of many possibilities:
- The Wagoneer was originally meant to have a V6 and long wheelbase option, which suggests that perhaps the Grand Wagoneer was originally to be larger than the Wagoneer—not just more luxurious, with the absurdly powerful 392 Hemi.
- Since the sticker does not say “Jeep” anywhere, perhaps a long wheelbase version of the Wagoneer is planned—either as the Wagoneer L (Matt’s thought) or as the Durango, which would be consistent with the Grand Cherokee/Durango split. The Durango would be a lower-trim-but-larger version once again.
- The parts people thought Ram pickups might share the same sticker.
- The sticker designer was just making sure pretty much every eventuality was covered.
Matt did check with friends at the Warren plant, and it seems so far no prototype long wheelbase Wagoneers have been made. Jeep, if you’re reading this and have a long wheelbase Wagoneer up your sleeves for 2023, here’s a thought: instead of Wagoneer L, call it Super Wagoneer. That’s a name Jeep has used before, albeit for a high-trim model, rather than a long-wheelbase model; it rolls off the tongue a little easier than “L.”
The original Grand Wagoneer and Grand Cherokee
The Grand Wagoneer name dates back to 1984, when Jeep launched its new “XJ” Cherokee, a mostly-unibody design which was very advanced for its time. Jeep decided to sell the highest-trim version of the XJ as the Wagoneer, and to avoid more confusion, created the Grand Wagoneer name for its old, original big SUV—the one most people think of when they hear the name Wagoneer. Today, the standard Wagoneer is a luxury SUV and the Grand Wagoneer is a more-luxury SUV.
Even the Grand Cherokee story is a little complicated; it was originally just meant to be a replacement for the old XJ Cherokee, but when Chrysler bought Jeep, there was suddenly enough factory capacity to make both the old version and the new one. Jeep made the new vehicle with a higher level of trim and inserted the word “Grand,” and kept selling the old Cherokee. They finally came out with a new-new generation Cherokee, but hoping to repeat the same feat, renamed it (in the U.S.) to Liberty and kept selling the old model. The formula did not work as well this time, and the XJ was finally retired a few months later.
For more amusing Jeep hijinks, see the exciting book Wagoneer, Gladiator, Comanche, and Scrambler: Jeep’s Go-Anywhere Vehicles.