Why Jeep Grand Wagoneer is Quintessentially American
When it comes to automotive brands, perhaps none is more associated with this country than Jeep. After all, its roots go back to World War II, and for the 20th consecutive year, Brand Keys named Jeep the nation’s most patriotic brand. And, within Jeep’s lineup, the Grand Wagoneer is quintessentially American.
The Genesis of the Jeep Grand Wagoneer
Before it was resurrected for this year, the Jeep Grand Wagoneer was the first American full-size luxury SUV. In fact, back in the mid-1980s, the vehicle cast the mold for today’s model.
Let’s have some backstory.
The first Wagoneer premiered in 1963 and kept going for decades with only small mechanical changes. Then came the Super Wagoneer, introduced in 1966 by then-Jeep owner Kaiser. The vehicle was filled with upscale technology such as tilt steering and a premium radio that, at the time, was alien to anything “truck.”
When AMC bought Jeep in 1970, its focus shifted to the more utilitarian Cherokee and the family-oriented Wagoneer. Toward the end of that decade, AMC began mulling another posh Wagoneer model with introduction of the Limited trim. That vehicle showed that consumers would be willing to pay more in exchange for more refinement and a bevy of creature comforts.
Ultimately, the Jeep Grand Wagoneer arrived for the 1984 model year and was outfitted with most of the features for which the Limited had been known. There was a 5.9-liter V8, for example, and shift-on-the-fly four-wheel drive was still standard, as was wood trim. The vehicle also had newly styled taillights.
Two years later saw the addition of a Jeep-logo hood ornament plus a new grille, and the interior was updated with amenities such as a restyled gauge cluster and steering wheel, headrests, and an improved climate control system. Initial sales were good.
Chrysler bought AMC in 1987, and two years later the Grand Wagoneer got keyless entry, optional sunroof, a rear wiper, and an overhead console with map lights. There also were other improvements, such as better overall craftmanship and anti-corrosion features, and more standardization.
The vehicle was discontinued after 1991 – blame new safety standards and fuel economy issues – but not before the product of American ingenuity and collaboration became the vehicle of choice for Cape Cod and Texas oil sets.
The Rebirth of the Jeep Grand Wagoneer
The vaunted Jeep Grand Wagoneer is back, its quintessentially American go-anywhere-do-anything vibe intact.
The all-new full-size SUV serves up what’s come to be viewed as American luxury while riding on a sturdy body-on-frame chassis. Offering three-row seating for up to eight occupants, the vehicle is propelled by a quiet and smooth 6.4-liter V8 that produces 470 robust horses and can tow up to 10,000 pounds.
The roomy interior has a refined fit and finish featuring American walnut and authentic metal. There’s also four-zone climate control, quilted Palermo leather and a whole suite of driver and safety assists. The new front-passenger interactive display screen and Uconnect 5 infotainment offers excellent connectivity. Grand Wagoneer also features up to 11 USB ports.
Did we mention the excellent off-road ability Jeep is known for? The automaker wasn’t about to fall off in this area, helped by independent rear suspension and Quadra-Drive II, plus standard Quadra-Lift air suspension complete with five ride height modes, electronic limited-slip rear differential, and the ability to ford up to 24 inches of H20.
With this iteration, the Jeep Grand Wagoneer runs with the likes of the Lincoln Navigator, GMC Yukon Denali, and the Cadillac Escalade.
So, yes, the Grand Wagoneer is a sumptuous, quintessentially American family hauler that remains true to its roots as a luxe, can-do ride that accommodates the spirit of adventure that helps to define this country.