After driving a Grand Wagoneer for the first time, I called it an “ostentatious caricature of a luxury SUV.”
It’s so big, so brash and filled with so many over-the-top features — things like a refrigerator in the center console, a digital screen for the front passenger and video cameras to monitor the back seat — that it seems to be designed more for a Roman emperor at the height of imperial power than for everyday people.
Caligula would be happy to hear this year’s news: the Wagoneer is getting even bigger.
As if it wasn’t bulky enough already, the new L version adds a full foot in length to create more cargo space for hauling treasure plundered from a far-flung empire.
Its fuel tank holds more than 30 gallons. With a combined fuel-economy rating of 16 mpg, it has a range of 488 miles, or enough to drive the length of Hadrian’s Wall six times.
Nero would have enjoyed burning rubber in the 510-horsepower Grand Wagoneer L, an elongated version of the huge off-roader.
Despite not carrying a single Jeep badge because it would seem too plebeian, the Wagoneer lineup is indeed designed by the off-road experts at Jeep. An optional air suspension can lift it higher for 10 inches of ground clearance at low speeds, impressive for a truck that rides with palatial serenity and solidity.
Outside of dictator circles, I could see the Grand Wagoneer L appealing to anyone who doesn’t want to compromise and happens to have a treasury rich enough to get what they want.
It really does everything well.
On the road, its soft, supple suspension would make the Appian Way feel smooth as imported silk.
Off road, your choice of three different 4×4 systems lets you travel deep into barbarian territory, and a 10,000-pound tow rating would be useful for building a coliseum.
The Grand Wagoneer’s cabin is packed with technical innovations. Its structure feels as solid as concrete.
Under the hood, the lengthened Grand Wagoneer comes with a new engine that feels as powerful as Trajan’s army.
The high-output, 3.0-liter Hurricane twin-turbo makes 510 horsepower from six inline cylinders.
Inside, Ceasar would be impressed with the vast swaths of leather and real wood trim, while the roomy back seats allow plenty of space for Mark Antony and Cleopatra to enjoy themselves.
My Grand Wagoneer L tester tipped the scales at more than $109,000 after adding four-wheel drive and some upgrades. That includes $5,495 for the Obsidian appearance package that makes it look menacing, as if it’s planning the latest in a long string of violent government coups.
For people who can afford it, though, and don’t mind burning the gas, the Grand Wagoneer is a wonderful way to roam.
At A Glance