Trucks & SUVs

The Ram 1500 Influenced the New Jeep Wagoneer in a Big Way

Jeep is bringing back the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer for 2021. Jeep has been growing its full-size SUV options, which will include the Wagoneer, Grand Wagoneer, and a new model between the mid-size Grand Cherokee and Wagoneer.

It’s assumed that the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will mainly be small and large options, with the Grand Wagoneer having a longer wheelbase and a higher cost. Other differences between the two are still unknown. Both Wagoneers will be full-size Jeeps and have three rows, but their designs haven’t yet been revealed.

The new Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will compete against the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban and the Ford Expedition. Higher trims will be up against the Lincoln Navigator, Range Rover, and Cadillac Escalade.

In a play for loyalty and nostalgia from automakers, the Wagoneer isn’t the only classic SUV returning to the market. The Chevrolet Blazer reappeared for 2019, and the Ford Bronco will return in 2020. The original Jeep Wagoneer was introduced in 1963 and remained available through 1991.

In a departure from the past, the new Wagoneer is expected to borrow parts from the Ram 1500. Here’s a look at what the Jeep Wagoneer and Ram 1500 might share.

The same platform

Photographers have seen something that looks like a Wagoneer or Grand Wagoneer in road testing. There’s a guess from Car and Driver that the new Wagoneers will be built on a Ram 1500 truck platform. Based on its width, it looks like it could be built on the Ram 1500’s body-on-frame. That’s exciting news, given how well-received Ram trucks have been lately.

The same powertrain

The Wagoneer will likely have the same powertrain options as the Ram 1500. Car and Driver thinks it will have a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine with Ram’s eTorque Mild Hybrid system.

The second option will likely be a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, which may also have the eTorque Mild Hybrid system. Either engine option will likely have a ZF eight-speed transmission with rear-wheel or four-wheel drive.

Since Jeep has previously talked about developing plug-in hybrids, this will probably be an option for the Wagoneer.

A different suspension

From looking at spy photos, Motor Trend thinks the Wagoneer will have a rear independent suspension rather than the Ram 1500’s rear live axle. This switch should create more space for passengers in the third row plus improved ride quality, allowing the Wagoneer to compete with luxury SUVs.

Jeep Wagoneer’s exact design isn’t known yet

The external appearance is not expected to be influenced by the Ram 1500. Since the test model was mostly wrapped up, its appearance is unknown.

The test model did have headlights and taillights that look similar to those on the current Jeep Grand Cherokee. The Wagoneer’s overall design may look similar to the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee, which is due for a new generation that year.

The benefits of using the Ram platform on the Wagoneer

A Wagoneer built on the Ram 1500 chassis will marry the Jeep name with the proven capabilities of the Ram 1500. In addition, the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will be manufactured at the Warren Truck Assembly Plant, in Michigan.

The Warren plant already assembles the Ram 1500 Classic in Quad Cab and Crew Cab body styles. In 2017, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) announced a $1 billion modernization plan, and in 2019, that amount was increased to $1.5 billion, which prepares the plant to produce Jeep Wagoneer, Grand Wagoneer, and their electric versions.

The biggest question, and one we’ll have to wait until next year to answer is whether wood-grain siding will be an available option as it was in the past.