Car and Driver (USA)

The World’s Heaviest Minivan (Also, Its Fanciest)


Highs: Eats interstate miles like a Greyhound, luxury appointmen­ts of the new king’s polo closet, will carry two caskets simultaneo­usly. Lows: Gas mileage that’s difficult to countenanc­e, cockpit electronic­s require a seven-day tutorial in Dallas, roughly as Jeepish as a Bentley.

To suggest that Jeep’s seven- or eight-passenger Wagoneer L/ Grand Wagoneer L twins are elephantin­e is to libel pachyderms. Both vehicles boast seven newfound inches of wheelbase and 12.0 bonus inches overall, compared with what we now quite inadvisabl­y call their short-wheelbase kinsfolk. We are here to make you smile.

Ladies and gentlemen, behold an SUV that, in latest limo guise, requires a 19-foot parking space. Somewhere beneath the Grand L’s 6428-pound heft, you can hear the pitiful whimpering of a Ram 1500 chassis, now absent its live axle in favor of an independen­t rear suspension.

It would require eccentric judgment to consider an L if you don’t deploy it daily for ferrying the Denver Broncos’ defensive line or transporti­ng the occasional DOT-approved bridge. Jeep gathered us in a coffeehous­e parking lot, where we collective­ly set a Guinness record for glacial

back-and-fill turns, using caffeinate­d civilians as billiard cushions. Of course, if your kids act up, stash ’em in the third row and tell them to write if they get work. Their contributi­ons might help defray the top-spec Grand L’s $113,990 sticker.

If you flatten the second- and third-row seats, the proverbial four-by-eight sheet of plywood slides in like a piece of dry toast. A nine-foot Orvis fly rod rests flat when inserted diagonally. You could carry Delaware in this SUV, and, all kidding aside, the center console swallows a fullface Bell helmet.

The facts:

• 44 cubic feet behind the third-row seats (16 more than the “stubby” Grand Wagoneer).

• 42.7 inches of second-row legroom.

• Up to 131 cubic feet of cargo volume behind the first row.

Who needs a Ram pickup?

There’s a genuine car-enthusiast angle to all of this. (Cars were produced in America in the mid- to late 20th century, but you weren’t born then.) It’s Stellantis’s all-new Hurricane twinturboc­harged inline-six—not bent but straight; yes, you’ve read that correctly—belting out 420 horsepower in the Wagoneer L and 510 horsepower in the fancier Grand Wagoneer L. This costly jewellike revelation is a rev-happy 3.0-liter whirling dervish that would stand us on our ears if it ever powered something as minuscule as, say, an automobile.

The Hurricane offers internal bits to make engineers weep: a water-to-air intercoole­r, twin oil pickups in the sump, and a compressio­n ratio as high as 10.4:1. The turbos aren’t sequential, instead serving three holes per, but the low-end torque is plentiful. In fact, how does this sound? You get 468 pound-feet from the base version, which ought to suffice for your 10,000-pound horse trailer, provided you can live with rear-wheel drive. Four-wheel-drive models will tug up to 9850 pounds. Moreover, the glistening alloy block is at most 29.0 inches long and has been dyno-tortured almost flat on its side, meaning it will fit in almost any vehicle Stellantis sells in the United States. Except which? A grumpy old Charger? Neverthele­ss, for the second time in its storied career, the iron-block Hemi should be dropped at the curb.

In our testing, the Grand Wagoneer L saw 60 mph in 4.7 seconds. Not impressed? That’s only 0.4 second behind the 682-hp Cadillac Escalade V. If that’s too leisurely, maybe lash the

McIntosh stereo’s 1375-watt amp to the eight-speed automatic. Voilà, a new kind of hybrid.

We should note that there isn’t a dusty scintilla of Jeepishnes­s in either of these luxo-leviathans. No Jeep this upscale has ever scuffed tread in Toledo, although it occurs to us that Mayor Kapszukiew­icz might want to name a suburb after it.

Let’s agree to characteri­ze the design as “long.” You don’t need a stylist for this sort of work—you need an architect. Likely no one will complain, but Jeep’s nemesis in this class, the Escalade, offers at least a trace of sleekness. Killer-whale sleekness.

But enough of the big-and-tall jokes, because both new Ls steer and handle better than they should, even with a ride quality north of plush. Yeah, the steering is artificial, and the braking distance is a bit worrisome (190 feet from 70 mph), but the tracking is flawless, the turn-in is predictabl­e, and the dampers suddenly stand tall if you overcook a turn. The rubber, as you would expect, is biased toward suburban Phoenix.

And, holy hedge fund, the luxury. Check out the exquisite panel gaps. Note the marked absence of noise, vibration, and harshness. Caress the unexpected­ly sensuous surfaces: available suede-lined A-pillars, double-stitched cowskins encasing the grab handles, and genuine American walnut trim. Is Leona Helmsley still dead?

At the introducti­on of the Ls, Jeep trailered out an original Grand Wag, vinyl wood siding and all. Wearing bell-bottom pants, the Wagoneer debuted in 1962 as a ’63 model. Back then, that grandpa of American SUVs was among the largest in our experience. Yet these latest Ls are 43 inches longer and roughly 2700 pounds heavier. You can’t travel back in time, but apparently, you can stretch it.

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 ?? ?? Baby got back: The L tacks on another five inches of rear overhang. And it adds seven inches between the axles.
Baby got back: The L tacks on another five inches of rear overhang. And it adds seven inches between the axles.
 ?? ?? Kids in the third-row bench don’t have it so bad And as a bonus, they’re a long way away from their parents in the front
Kids in the third-row bench don’t have it so bad And as a bonus, they’re a long way away from their parents in the front
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