With the new Jeep Wagoneer and Jeep Grand Wagoneer, the Ram 1500’s body-on-frame underpinnings have been adapted into an SUV taking on the likes of the Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon, Ford Expedition, and Lincoln Navigator.
But they’re unlikely to come to Australia, where they’d offer a plush, larger rival to the Hyundai Palisade and Mazda CX-9.
While the Ram pickup has a solid rear axle, the Wagoneers have independent rear suspension, hopefully ensuring better on-road handling and ride comfort.
Although the Grand prefix usually denotes a larger version of a car – think Grand Voyager or Grand Espace – in this case the differentiators between the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are engine, specifications, and price, as well as a few tweaks to the styling.
By Australian standards both Wagoneers are gargantuan, measuring 5436mm long, 2108mm wide, and 1905mm tall, riding on a 3124mm wheelbase.
That means it’s about 80mm longer than the standard wheelbase Chevrolet Tahoe, but 300mm shorter than the long wheelbase Suburban.
The Hyundai Palisade is 456mm shorter than the Wagoneer brothers, with 224mm less between the wheels.
Three rows of seating are standard, and the cars can accommodate up to eight people. Capacity is reduced to seven in models with captain’s chairs in the middle row.
Under the bonnet of the Wagoneer is a 5.7-litre V8 rated at 292kW and 548Nm. Fuel economy is helped by cylinder deactivation and a 48V mild hybrid system.
Meanwhile the Grand Wagoneer gets a 6.4-litre V8 that makes 351kW and 617Nm. The bigger engine also features cylinder deactivation, but misses out on the mild hybrid setup.
An eight-speed automatic transmission is fitted to both engines, and buyers can choose between three different four-wheel drive systems.
The most basic Quadra-Trac I system has full-time four-wheel drive and a single-speed transfer case, while the step-up Quadra-Trac II has a limited-slip differential.
For the top-shelf Quadra-Drive II system there’s a rear electronic limited-slip differential.
A terrain selector with five modes (auto, sport, rock, snow, and sand/mud) is standard on cars with Quadra-Trac II or Quadra-Drive II.
When equipped with air suspension system, the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer have a ground clearance of 203mm (8.0 inches), but can be elevated to 254mm (10.0 inches) for really rough stuff.
From the outside the two models are differentiated by unique bumper and tail-light designs. The Grand Wagoneer sports more chrome, while the Wagoneer has prominent lettering above the grille.
Step inside the cabin and there’s plenty of wood and leather to jazz up the cavernous confines, and more screens than your average sports bar.
Ahead of the driver in the Wagoneer is a 10.25-inch instrumentation display, and a 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen.
In its most upscale iteration, the Grand Wagoneer has a 12.3-inch instrumentation screen, a 12.0-inch infotainment display in the centre of the dash, and a 10.25-inch touchscreen for the front passenger.
The Grand Wagoneer’s four-zone climate control system is also controlled by an articulated 10.25-inch touchscreen up front, and a fixed 10.25-inch unit in the rear.
Middle row passengers are also treated to their own 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
Interestingly, while both cars have Wagoneer branding everywhere, the Jeep marque is practically hidden away.
Available features include a 23-speaker 1375W McIntosh sound system and 22-inch wheels. A semi-autonomous driving mode will also be available, but not for the initial build run.