Over the last few weeks, there has been a great deal of interest and discussion of the 2019 Ram 1500 (DT) — but many have overlooked the fact that the new pickup is likely our first glimpse at the upcoming 2020 Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer (WS).
The new Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer models are the upcoming full-size body-on-frame SUVs, based on the 2019 Ram 1500 platform. That includes the completely new frame, which is longer and lighter — and has an exclusive frame rail design that increases passenger safety.
FCA US also made the cabin feel more refined, which will be handy in a top-end off-road vehicle, with active sound cancellation and active tuned-mass modules. The basic dashboard layout will likely remain, with very different graphics and a less-pronounced center stack; the 12-inch reconfigurable touchscreen display with dual-application abilities is almost certain to make the cut.
Still unconfirmed is word that the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer may not be differentiated by trim and features, but by wheelbase — with the Grand Wagoneer being longer than the Wagoneer, to compete squarely with the Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban (and their GMC and Cadillac brethren) and Lincoln Navigator/Navigator L (and their Ford brothers).
I have been told that there will be a range of new powertrains, including the highly-anticipated GME T6 inline turbo six cylinder, depending on whether it is ready in time. The Pentastar V6 may anchor the base models (in mild-hybrid form), and the next-generation 3-liter VM diesel may show up to keep fuel economy reasonable. An optional Hemi seems de rigeur —unless the company decides it wants a shorter hood and transverse-mounts the straight-six. That seems unlikely, as does the absence of the Hemi V8.
Don’t expect this to just be some luxury SUV; Ram makes some very capable off-road pickups, including the 1500-based Rebel and the 2500-based Power Wagon. That means you should expect a Trailhawk-style SUV that takes advantage of the new-design air suspension, electronic-locking rear differential, and whatever extra tricks the company can muster. For a flagship Jeep, we would have very high expectations indeed.
The list of other features will almost certainly include a hands-free liftgate, Pacifica’s Uconnect Theater rear seat entertainment, personal device connectivity, KeySense (a programmable key fob that places limits on speed and audio volume, with numerous other teen-safe features), and the Ram’s 360° camera system with a bird’s-eye view. For that matter, the Pacifica’s reinforcement-ring system could move over to the body-on-frame SUV.
The Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer (WS) will be assembled at the Warren Truck Assembly Plant in Warren, Michigan; they are expected to start production sometime in early 2019, as 2020 models, after a complete plant renovation.