Why Jeep Should Reintroduce a New Grand Wagoneer
Station wagons and luxury aren’t usually mentioned together in the same sentence, but the classic Jeep Grand Wagoneer was the only luxury wagon of its kind for decades. Jeep has been building top-notch, off-road vehicles for years, but older models like the Wagoneer have dropped out of rotation as demand for faux wood paneling and a boxy look subsided at the beginning of the 1990s. USA Today reports that the first generation was available from 1963 to 1991. While the current Grand Cherokee is the brand’s main luxury model that seats more than four, the return of the Wagoneer could be a boon for big families who are reminiscing about their own childhoods spent in station wagons.
Four-wheel drive and a luxurious interior helped the original Wagoneer stand out, but a new model would offer about the same benefits. Jalopnik explains that spacious seating for seven makes it one of the larger Jeep models, and the power of the transmission and suspension means it will stand out against other large SUVs on the market. The original also managed to stay on the sales charts for nearly three decades without undergoing any major remodeling or redesigning, showing how popular a reliable and spacious family vehicle can be for a brand usually known for off-roading entertainment value.
Drivers who don’t like traditional SUVs will also appreciate the Wagoneer’s closer resemblance to large sedans. A lower height and a more compact front end provides a different kind of driving experience, but USA Today says the new version will be built on a modified Grand Cherokee base for the driving experience associated with Jeep. This means it’s likely to be sportier and more responsive than similar seven-seaters, even when fully loaded. Finally, it will also fill a niche for drivers who happen to live out in the middle of nowhere and need real four-wheel drive capabilities without sacrificing the luxury features they love.
Drivers who remember the old Wagoneer fondly will still need to wait until 2015 to start seeing the newest models rolling off of the production line. Designs and plans are still up in the air, but it’s rumored that the new design might include an eye-catching strip of contrasting paint or carbon fiber material down both sides to replace the old-fashioned wood paneling. It’s certainly worth keeping an eye on Jeep to see if they bring out a Wagoneer worth keeping or just a slightly modified version of their current SUV lineup.