Of Legends and Legacies: The Wagoneer
SHARP & Wagoneer
When it debuted for the 1963 model year, the Wagoneer was a vehicle essentially without peer. The marketplace offered other 4×4 vehicles, most of which were strictly utilitarian. By contrast, the Wagoneer established itself as a luxury vehicle with incredible capability; it was as rugged as any, but offered a level of refinement not found elsewhere. Six decades later, the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer nameplate still combine premium features with class-leading capability, and do it in a thoroughly modern, tech-forward way.
When creating a flagship SUV, it’s essential to begin with good bones. The modern Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer take their underpinnings from the rugged and capable Ram 1500, though upgraded with a fully independent rear suspension for maximum on-road composure. To better ensure the Wagoneer can handle any conditions it might encounter, it’s equipped with a five-mode selectable terrain management system, including a snow mode. An available air suspension further enhances capability by providing up to 25 cm (10-inches) of ground clearance when needed.
Looking at the Wagoneer model range, the Wagoneer is your premium point of entry, followed by an even more elevated Grand Wagoneer. Both are offered in an ‘L’ — or extended wheelbase — variant that adds 12 inched to the overall length of the vehicle. Towing capability is impressive and ranges from 9,450 lb – 10,000 lb, depending on the model in question.
As we move into the interior, here’s where the modern Wagoneer starts to stray from tradition. Supreme on and off-road capabilities, impressive power and performance, and passenger comfort were always part of the Wagoneer ethos, but the 2023 Wagoneer has premium materials and technology that take this adventure seeker to new heights of style and comfort. This is especially true of the range-topping Grand Wagoneer with authentic wood accents and quilted Palermo leather-trim. The optional Tupelo interior colour is like being wrapped in a beautifully smooth caramel. Flick on the heated massaging seats and melt away.
In addition to this well-trimmed luxury is a host of high-tech goodies. An available night vision system can detect pedestrians or wildlife on the road up to 200 metres ahead. The digital rearview mirror helps you see even if your rear window is obscured, active driving assist uses lane centreing with Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go to help keep you on the right path, and the 360-degree Surround View camera lets you keep an eye on your whole surroundings.
The intuitive Uconnect 5 system is easy to navigate with minimal distraction on an uncluttered 12.0-inch touchscreen. Passengers also have easy access to onboard technology with WiFi connectivity for up to eight devices, available Amazon Fire TV on the dual seat-back mounted screens and a 10.25 inch screen for the up front passenger to control features, send directions to the driver or simply watch a movie.
All Wagoneer models offer three rows of seating as standard, but for those needing to stretch out a little, the longer L version is available. This increases wheelbase by 305mm, giving both Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer best-in-class second-row legroom, and overall best-in-class passenger room.
Leading the pack in spaciousness feels very appropriate for a nameplate that began its career by combining luxury and capability in a way no other vehicle had done before. Throughout its existence, the Wagoneer badge has represented the pinnacle of the full-size luxury SUV — a title it still deserves in 2023.