2023 Jeep Grand Wagoneer L

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There are Kahunas – and then there is the Kahuna. Jeep’s Grand Wagoneer L. 

“L” for length – and more. 

More than three tons (6,621 lbs.) and 500-plus horsepower to keep it all moving – and pulling. This Kahuna can tow 10,000 lbs. and seats eight, too. 

It also includes the house the kitchen sink was in – just about.

What It Is

The Grand Wagoneer L is a longer, larger version of the Jeep Grand Wagoneer, the latter introduced last year as Jeep’s largest-ever SUV and meant to offer an alternative to rival large SUVs like the Chevy Tahoe/GMC Yukon/Cadillac Escalade, Ford Expedition/Lincoln Navigator, Nissan Armada/Infiniti QX and Toyota LandCruiser/Lexus LX600. You’ll note the mention of both the standard and luxury-badged version of these large SUVs. Jeep is not, per se, a luxury brand but it is a distinction with less and less difference as the non-luxury-badged versions of the just listed SUVs aren’t basic or inexpensive – and neither is this Jeep.

Then there is this even larger Jeep, which is meant to outclass everything – in every way – irrespective of badge.

Base price is $91,495 and for that you get a standard 510 horsepower twin-turbo engine (the Cadillac Escalade’s maximum-effort engine offers 420), an adjustable-height suspension, three-pane panorama glass sunroof, 20-inch wheels, massaging seats, four zone climate control, a 19 speaker McIntosh premium audio system, second row captain’s chairs and sunshades, digital instrument panel and a 12 inch secondary touchscreen on top of the center stack plus another one – that folds away, revealing a secret storage cubby – just below it.

Four wheel drive and multiple selectable Drive Modes are included.

A top-of-the line Series III Obsidian ($111,990) comes standard with quilted leather upholstery, night vision, a 23 speaker McIntosh audio system, a mini-fridge built into the center console and a pair of 10.25 inch LCD entertainment monitors for the rearseat passengers.

It’s like Babe Ruth – another Kahuna – at the plate, pointing out beyond center field, where he was about to hit a home run.

What’s New

The L version of the Grand Wagoneer is new for 2023.

What’s Good

One-ups everything else – in almost every way.

Six cylinder engine out-powers rivals’ V8 engines.

Seating in third row is nearly as spacious as second row seating.

What’s No So Good

“Jeep” isn’t yet a luxury brand, though this Jeep is priced to compete with luxury brands.

Powerful six doesn’t sound as powerful as a V8.

Under The Hood

One of the interesting things about this big Kahuna is that it comes standard with one of the smallest engines in the class – a 3.0 liter inline six. Jeep chose the Wagoneer to showcase this all-new engine, the Hurricane, which will replace the Hemi V8 engine in Jeep, Ram and Dodge models going forward.

A moment of silence, please.

On the upside, it is an immensely powerful engine, summoning 510 horsepower and 500 ft.-lbs. of torque, more of both than even the twice-its-size 6.4 liter V8 that’s still the standard engine in the regular-wheelbase Wagoneer (the six is available in higher trims).

The not-as-mighty 6.4 liter Hemi produces 471 horsepower and 455 ft.-lbs. of torque – a number that was impressive, last year. Now it’s second-rate, which says a lot about what can be done with less.

The six is also really smooth – with an almost imperceptible idle. Inline sixes are esteemed for exactly that reason and are lighter, in addition, because they do not need heavy counterweights and balancers to smooth them out.

On the downside, the six does not sound like much – which you may miss if you like the rumble of a big V8. And while it is more powerful, it is not appreciably less thirsty.

The 6.4 Hemi in the standard wheelbase Wagoneer rates 13 city, 18 highway – which actually isn’t bad for a full-sized (and almost three ton) SUV, especially one with 471 horsepower under the hood. But with the six (and three less liters of engine) under the hood, the mileage is only slightly better: 14 city, 19 highway and may be less in real-world driving because the six relies on boost –  as much as 26 psi – rather than displacement – to generate its power.

Hypothetically – if you drive with a light right foot – the six will use about the same amount of gas as the V8. But without the boost – provided by a pair of turbochargers – the six does not make as much power as the V8. To get it to make as much or more power, boost is needed – and that will result in more gas being used.

Of course, you’ll use more gas if you drive the V8 with a heavy right foot, too. But the point is the mileage gains of this engine downsizing are negligible, if any.

You do get more power, however – and there’s no question about that. This Jeep is a Hercules, capable of pulling about a third again its own curb weight – 10,000 lbs. And it is remarkably athletic, sprinting from zero to 60 MPH in 6.2 seconds – no mean feat for a vehicle that weighs well over three tons and has “only” 3.0 liters of engine under its hood.

But it does have the additional hardware – the pair of turbos and all the related bits and pieces – as well as the pressure, of the boost it’s frequently under. V8s may be “gas pigs,” to use the slur often directed at them. But they have the great virtue of not needing to work very hard to pull you along – as well as whatever you’re pulling behind you. There is thus less pressure on internal parts, such as rod and main bearings. These are also usually larger (in terms of surface area) and that spreads out the load they’re under – reducing the effect of it in terms of wear and tear over time.

They are like a big man who does not need steroids to bench press 300 pounds. It’s easy for him; it comes naturally. A smaller man can also bench that much, perhaps – with some chemical help.

But he often pays the price, down the road.

An eight speed automatic and 4WD are standard; the two speed transfer case has 2.64 gearing in 4WD Low range. Also standard is a 30 gallon gas tank, which gives this Kahuna 579 miles of range on the highway.

Even in city driving, where a big rig like this is least fuel efficient, this one can go 427 miles before you’ll need to gas up. There isn’t an energy hog EV that can match that – and certainly nothing comparable to this Kahuna. A GMC Hummer EV, for instance, has a maximum range of just 329 miles. And if you try to pull even half the 7,500 lbs. it’s rated to tow it will go perhaps half that far before you must stop – and wait – to get going again.

On The Road

It is difficult to find anything objective to fault about the Grand Wagoneer L’s road manners, which are as refined as any current full-size luxury car’s. It is like driving a Mercedes S-Class that can drive over one, should the need arise. The standard air-adjustable suspension can raise you up ten inches off the pavement, sufficient to wade through two feet of water. You feel like Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in Titanic – because you are king of the world.

Grand is exactly the right word, too.

Jeep chose well. So much more apt than some anodyne X234a 2.0 appliance, which so many others are. It is also grand in another way in that it is not a loaded version of another brand’s model. Jeep may not be a luxury marque – but Wagoneer is on its way to being one. Meanwhile, there is something not as . . . grand about driving around in a Cadillac Escalade that is pretty much the same thing as a Chevy Tahoe. Not that there’s anything wrong with the Tahoe. But the point is it’s not a Cadillac – and neither is the Escalade. Same goes for the Lincoln Navigator, which is a very nice Ford Expedition. And the Infiniti QX80, also a very done Nissan Armada.

The Wagoneer is no one else’s re-sell and that could very well confer upon it the exclusivity Jeep is after – and which many of its rivals lack.

There is almost nothing lacking here – from the grand ride conferred by body-on-frame construction and 130 inches of wheelbase – to the comfort of standard massaging seats. It is almost inconceivable that something more  . . . grand could be envisioned, let alone delivered.

But there is that almost – though it may not matter to you.

It is the absence of a grand sound to accompany this Kahuna’s coming and going. The Hurricane six is so quiet you can barely hear it. Even when the automated start-stop system cycles it back on after it’s been turned off (you can turn ASS off if you don’t want the engine to stop-start every time you stop) you can hardly tell it’s running – whether by sound or by feel. And when you floor it, the sound isn’t quite . . . grand. Just a smooth and quiet whoosh that is almost EV-like.

Without the wait.

But also without the bellow – or the rumble.

This is admittedly a subjective but it also objectively indisputable that – up to now – many of the people who’ve bought a Jeep/Dodge/Ram vehicle did so because they wanted the bellow and the rumble that only a big V8 can make. The Hurricane six is a technically impressive piece of engineering; by the numbers, it is superior in every way to the V8 it was designed to replace. But the numbers aren’t necessarily everything. There is something ineffable but no less real that cannot be quantified but can be felt – and heard.

And missed, when absent.

It is perfectly possible that the buyers Jeep is hoping to attract – an affluent clientele by definition when we are talking about a rig that starts at more than $90k – will prefer the sounds of silence, or nearly so. But some of us will mourn the loss of the grand sound that used to come standard with a Kahuna such as this.

At The Curb

What you’ve got here is more Grand Wagoneer.

Almost exactly a foot more – in terms of length (226.7 inches vs. 214.7 for the standard wheelbase version) and more space (for cargo) behind the third row, which increases to 44.2 cubic feet vs. 27.4 in the standard-wheelbase Grand Wagoneer.

Total available cargo capacity in the L is 112.9 cubic feet (vs. 94.2 in the standard-wheelbase Grand Wagoneer.

This is not as much space as some of the others in the class, including most notably the long-wheelbase version of the Cadillac Escalade, the ESV – which boasts 142.8 cubic feet of total capacity. But then, the ESV is essentially a Chevy Suburban – not that there’s anything wrong with that. And while the ESV has more space, it also has only 420 horsepower, 4WD isn’t standard, it can’t pull more than 8,000 lbs. and you have to pay extra to get massaging seats.

But what make this Jeep grand is the passenger space you’ll find in the third row, including 36.6 inches of legroom, which is comparable to the second row legroom typical in most mid-sized luxury cars. There’s space for your head, too – 38.5 inches – which means all but the over-six-footers won’t need to sit hunched over. Most of the SUVs in this class tout 7-8 passenger capacity but this one has capacity for 7-8 adults.

With the second and third rows down, you can also fit a 4×8 sheet of plywood in the back.

You do not pay extra for four-zone climate control, power adjustable pedals or those massaging seats. The handful of options include a rearseat entertainment system, a front passenger touchscreen and whether to swap out the standard second row captain’s chairs for a three-across bench.

The Rest

If you visit the Stellantis media site (Stellantis is the corporation that owns the Jeep, Dodge, Ram and Chrysler brands) you will notice information about the Wagoneer is listed separately, away from Jeeps. And if you look at the Wagoneer, you will notice there are few indications – via badging – that is a Jeep. Not that there’s anything wrong with Jeeps. But the Wagoneer is, well, grand – and so it stands apart.

Stellantis apparently intend to do exactly that with this ultimate Jeep – this Kahuna – by establishing Wagoneer as a luxury sub-brand, to reflect the fact that by any standard, it is just as grand as any luxury-branded large SUV.

The Bottom Line

There are some other large SUVs.

But this one’s the Kahuna.

. . .

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27 COMMENTS

  1. So, Eric let me have a go at driving this beastie! I hate the automatic transmission, and it took about 5 minutes for me to find the “gear control, such as it is, but it was fun after that, lol! It “almost” had the sound of the old Jaguar XKE inline-six, if you let the revs get up before shifting. I love inline-sixes and the smoothness of the DOHC 3.0L does not disappaoint! Fore well over 6 figures, it better not, lol!

  2. The benefit of the Sequoia if you get a pre 22 model is the bullet proof 5.7 V-8. I have a 2017 Sequoia. I had a 2005 Denali XL with the 6.0 V-8(not as powerful, but better than the 6.2)which I liked and had more cargo room than the Sequoia. But the Sequoia has awesome leg/head room. Way better than any other SUV I have ever been in.

    The problem with this Jeep is simply that it’s a Jeep. Toyota is about impossible to outdo on quality, reliability and dependability. I was a GM guy for a long time but having owned Toyota/Lexus products over the past 15 years I can say that no other vehicle comes close on cost of ownership and downtime.

    • Thanks, ancap. I think after measuring my garage space last night the winner is the Sequoia. 🙂 I really like the Wagoneer, but the last thing I want is a $90K vehicle sitting outside.

  3. I know someone with a Wagoneer. It is plush and very posh (especially when you consider it’s a Jeep), and the Hemi sounds really nice. Wagoneer does have the history of being the “fancy” wood sided Jeep (no wood sided version this time though).

    Chrysler making a huge mistake letting Hemi go (not just Wagoneer). I am sure the Hurricane is a very nice V6 (they were in need of a new V6 anyway). It would be a fine engine for midsize sedans, base model Chargers & Challengers, and minivans without the turbos and other crap that will probably affect it’s reliability. I do give them credit for not going with yet again another 2 liter 4 that seems to be in everything now-a-days.

    I am hoping this electric nonsense is getting to the end of the cycle so they can bring back the Hemi in a few years. The new electric Charger would be very nice with a Hemi under the hood instead of the sound-system and power drill.

    • Problem is, who remains once Electric dies off?

      Some manufacturers will be around, others either wont be or be forced to partner up with someone else.

      Also, when will electric end? Next Repube regime or when the lithium runs out?

  4. Nice write up as always.
    Quote a well equipped vehicle, this wagoneer.
    Looks butt ugly in the rear though, in my humble opinion.

  5. No question that the Grand Wagoneer L is very nice and desirable to many. The only 2 things that would worry me, if I could afford it, is the long term maintenance and repairs and the thought of my local county racking me over the coals in personal property taxes. The county would have to send a packet of Vaseline with the bill every 6 months. For example, a friend of mine and his wife had purchased a new 2018 Suburban and were extorted over $900 every 6 months….OUCH!!!

    • At 91K, the “base” price of this vehicle is approaching the price of a home just a few years ago. $1800 a year in vehicle property tax on your buddy’s ’18 is $500 more than I pay in annual property taxes.

  6. ‘More than three tons (6,621 lbs.) and 500-plus horsepower to keep it all moving’ — eric

    Arrrgh … another lard-ass, whalemobile land yacht.

    Probably its highest and best use is to be fitted with bulletproof tinted glass, and used to ferry around fedgov commissars, with squadrons of black-clad goons, spooks and constitution-shredders cradling their full-auto weapons in the back seats.

    Makes me reach for my sledgehammer …

    That said, imagine putting its sweet 3.0 liter Hurricane inline six into a non-obese vehicle in the 3,500 lb range. Surely the Hurricane deserves a better test bed than this bloated elephant-mobile.

    • Would love this in a wrangler or the new charger (now that the EV shock value is wearing off, officials have begun to hint that there’s going to be ICE versions after all). The engine itself sound like trash compared to a Hemi in the Wagoneer, but 500 hp is a lot of fun in a car that weighs less than two tonnes.

      • Hi Uhtred,

        It seems to be a brilliant engine. My only objection is that it does not come with an impressive – and appropriate – sound. An online six in a sports car or luxury car is apt but a huge SUV ought, I think, to have a huge V8.

    • To each his own Jim. The way it is and always will be.
      When we were starting our family, I had to have the largest vehicle I could afford in our regional suicide roads. The only way I could do it was leasing, and I hate leasing, but I did it anyway to get my family in the largest thing I could afford, which at the time was a stripper Tahoe. It made me feel a lot better when the wife would take the kids in it.
      Later in life when I was making money, I became friends with the owner of a dealer, and he taught me a little about the car biz. At the time, I was putting 40K miles plus on trucks.
      He taught me the difference between wholesale and retail, and after a couple cycles (I was borrowing at the time), he got me out of borrowing and I was in fancy new trucks every 2-3 years with much less overall out of pocket than leasing, borrowing, etc… Worked for me.

      It’s all relative, for example, my $60K truck that I bought for $50K, is currently worth about $43K, so I will trade it in the next year or so, and hand them cash of about $15K for new one. Roughly $15K divided by 36 months = $416/month or 48 months = $312/month. Way cheaper than leasing/borrowing, and I get to drive new. But, if I let the car get to the point where the dealer doesn’t want it on his lot (typically over 60-70K miles), it goes wholesale and I lose $10K +/-. Just how I do it and it has worked for me for 20 years.

  7. You gotta go stretch limousine.

    The Grand Wagoneer is a spaceship. The ultimate money pit.

    Buy 100 acres of land somewhere. You’ll be happy.

    Pay 900 dollars per acre in Colorado. You can do something on 90 acres of scrub land anywhere.

    When and if you see a Grand Wagoneer, it will be in the parking lot at the bank and the bank president is going to be driving it home.

    I saw one two months ago, then another one not so long ago.

    It’s a big club and you ain’t in it.

    It’s fear and loathing in Ukraine.

    Peace sucks. More war, please.

  8. 500 HP out of a 3L 6 is impressive but damn that price tag.

    I would take a 2500 with more towing capacity & $20k off the MSRP unless I really needed to have the space.

  9. The Jeep Wagoneer is the orignal luxury SUV. Connecticut yuppie moms needed them to haul the kids around in snow.

  10. I like having the option of a longer body alongside the regular-length body that body-on-frame facilitates, such as this one. I’m glad Jeep is now adding another vehicle to the list! The others that come to mind are the Suburban/Yukon, Ford Expedition, and the defunct Ford Econoline and Dodge Ram vans that used to have the extended body length option on the existing frame.

    I always wondered, back when mid-size SUVs such as the original Explorer and S10 Blazers were body-on-frame, why they never offered such mid-sizes in an extended-length 4-door body, with all the extra length being behind the rear axle. They both did have 2 and 4 door versions, with the 4-door having a longer frame (IIRC) in both cases, but they could have increased their market presence by also offering an extended-body-length 4-door, similar to the Suburban (compared to the regular-length 4-door Tahoe)

  11. Great review Eric. I was waiting for you to review the new I6TT, and you got the HO version, bonus.
    “a moment of silence for the hemi” indeed. I would have preferred to have the less powerful 6.4 V8, but it appears we aren’t going to win this one with CAFE regs increasing, and so was Stellantis’s fines, dramatically. They HAD to increase mpg, even slightly. And we all know it’s just a game of epic proportions and results.
    Congrats to Jeep for bringing a solid competitor to GM and Ford, and in some ways outdoes them.
    For me, the air susp. is a game changer, reduce loading height, amazing ride for a truck, and raise it to go through 1ft+/- of snow without concern. I doubt I’ll need to ford deep streams, but ya never know, haha…..
    I am eagerly waiting to see what version of this new engine goes in the Ram, hopefully the HO makes the cut. I, absolutely, will get less mpg with them boosted to the moon, but I don’t think I’ll care. I bet I’ll be in the boost 95% of the time, other than maybe idle.

    As a side note, I towed 4K yesterday, 300 miles, and was at our event for 7 hours, and we did at all in one day, leaving at 6 and home by 8pm. One tank of gas. I pondered a EV truck trying to do the trip, and it would have required 2-3 stops, adding 4 to 5 hours of ‘fast’ charge/wait time? No effing way. And it was musical entertainment listening to the 5.7 hemi do it’s thing.

    And I noticed most all of the NJ Turnpike rest stops are closed, and under heavy construction. Any bet it is also to add EV parking/charging lots? From what I saw, they still won’t have even close to the space to handle the 1-2 hr differential in time to accommodate the EV’s re-charge vs 5 min gas re-charge.

    • Thanks, Chris!

      I very much like this rig. The only hesitation about it I’d have is the 26 psi of boost and 3.0 liters to move 6,200-plus pounds down the road. If this were a diesel, no worries. And maybe the Hurricane has been built to diesel toughness; I hope so. More vehicles like this, please!

  12. I like it. I am looking at getting a larger vehicle. I know most people hate them, but I like room and my dogs (who are the size of small horses) take up a lot of space in a vehicle. Trips back and forth to Florida would be comfortable and my 6’3″, 250 lb husband would stop complaining that his head hits the ceiling, and he has no leg room.

    Eric, what’s your opinion on the best “larger” SUV out there right now? The Wagoneer, the Toyota Sequoia, or the Lexus GX 460 (I know that one is a bit smaller, but I like them)? Or do you think there are better options?

    • Hi RG, my wife was in the largest ‘suburbans’ for 10-15yrs because were we live the roads are suicide like, so I wanted her and the kids in the largest practical vehicle I could get. She struggled with how big it was at first, but got used to it, and understood why she had to drive them. We’ve only recently started downsizing with the kids moving on.
      Doubt you’ll regret it, they are awesome in versatility. Like our parents mega station wagons way back.
      If I were in the market today, I would be leaning Jeep. Drive/look at the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer. Best of luck.

      • Thanks, Chris. I appreciate the insight. After tax season is over, I think I may go test drive one. I travel around 20K-25K miles per year with 60-65% being for business. I am going to contemplate and see if this is a feasible tax deduction, especially with the weight being over 6K lbs. Based on my calculations the first year’s depreciation would be around $40K. 🙂

        • You qualify as a road warrior! Go big for sure.
          I used to do 40-50K/yr for many years, and I could only stomach it in the largest practical vehicles.
          The only downside is parking, so what, park a little farther out.
          And mpg is certainly worse, but if you run the numbers of say 17mpg vs 25 for a small vehicle, it’s not a stretch typically.

      • I would stick with the Suburbans.

        Both of the 10th generation Suburbans I have did require some cash outlays, mostly one-time expenses to fix stupid OEM decisions like air suspension & cylinder deactivation, but nothing compared to what my Jeep owning friends have to pay.

    • RG, might want to consider the Grand Cherokee L as well. Solid mid to larger size SUV. If you can take out the 3rd row seats it should give you a lot more room for the dogs (horses!).
      That’s what the wife has now but the smaller non-L version, and she loves it.

    • Hi RG,

      I think you’ll really like this rig if you take it for a drive. I did! You guys will have plenty of room. I’m the same height as your husband and 225 – and even the third row is comfortable for guys our size. You will love the massaging seats. The Sequoia is a tremendous rig, too – but it’s not available in long wheelbase form and it isn’t as spacious. As a rival to this Jeep, I’d be looking at a GMC Yukon Denali XL. It’s not as powerful and not quite as posh, but the Tahoe-based drivetrain (6.2 V8) is brilliant and known to be durable and it’s also very roomy and spacious. The Cadillac ESV is similar, of course, but I find it a little garish; also, it is not especially off-road-able. Ditto the otherwise very nice Lincoln Navigator. The Jeep is vastly better in this respect.

      I think you might want to go have a look!

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