The Jeep Wagoneer is an iconic vehicle with a loyal following of fans around the world. It shook up the market and paved the way for an entirely new class of vehicle. This innovative model helped shape and define the Jeep brand as we know it today.
The automotive world was forever changed when the first Wagoneer went into production. You may think you've heard everything there is to know about this ubiquitous Jeep but we have a few facts that might surprise you. Take a closer look at the car that gave us the SUV and so much more.
10 Original SUV
The Jeep Wagoneer is arguably the very first sport-utility vehicle to appear on the market. When it was first introduced in 1962, it was marketed as a replacement for the station wagon. Improvements in handling such as power steering and the power of all-wheel drive made the Wagoneer tougher and easier to take off-road than its predecessors.
The increased size of the Wagoneer made it one of the largest vehicles on the road. It was perfect for big families and those who traveled with groups of friends. Some may argue that the 1935 Suburban was the first true SUV; however, the Wagoneer pushed the limits of performance, convenience, and luxury.
9 Forefather Of The Cherokee
The Cherokee and Grand Cherokee are two of the most popular models produced by Jeep. They're iconic symbols of freedom and adventure. Without the Wagoneer paving the way neither would exist.
The Wagoneer was the first vehicle on the market that provided the kind of power, performance, passenger capacity, and cargo space that made long trips with lots of equipment easy. The Cherokee eventually replaced the Wagoneer and is now the epitome of adventure SUVs to many.
8 First 4WD Automatic
While the Wagoneer offered a 2-wheel drive version, there was also a Wagoneer that changed the game forever. For the first time, drivers could experience the power and performance of all-wheel drive without needing a manual transmission. This opened up the market of AWD vehicles to a whole new set of drivers.
Without the intimidation of learning to drive manual, more drivers than ever were able to purchase a vehicle that could handle off-road excursions. This combination leveled the playing field and invited more people than ever to get further out into the great outdoors than they ever could before.
7 A Cult-Favorite
The Wagoneer was in production between 1962 and 1993. Across its thirty-year span, the new and improved wagon's fandom assumed a cult-like status. Like any beloved car, there are models hidden in garages, lovingly restored and maintained and treated as coveted treasures.
Families pass down their Wagoneers from one generation to the next. There are social clubs and fan groups all over the world to connect lovers of the Wagoneer. They've even been featured in books and films. They've carved themselves a permanent place in the hearts and minds of many.
6 Brand Defining Model
When you think of Jeep today, most people's minds immediately go to the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee Models. Jeep is intrinsically linked to an outdoors lifestyle. They're the cars you buy for freedom and adventure. They owe that brand image to the Wagoneer.
As the original SUV, the Wagoneer put Jeep on the map as the outdoorsman's automaker. It all started with the bigger, tougher wagon that changed the way we think of what a vehicle can do forever. Camping, fishing, hunting, and extreme offroading are all activities linked to the brand thanks to this historically significant Jeep.
5 Coveted Years
The Jeep Wagoneer isn't the only vehicle with a devoted fan base. Many classic and vintage cars are still highly sought after. Like most other cars with a following, there are several years of Wagoneer that are simply more coveted than others. Models produced between 1989 and 1991 seem to be the most popular.
These cars have seen a meteoric rise in price that shows no sign of dropping any time soon. The asking price for a Wagoneer built between these years will likely continue to rise. Models produced after 1989 saw more and more luxury features added to the beloved classic. For those who crave a high-end experience, the hefty price tag is worth it for an enviable ride.
4 Sound Investment
Maintaining and restoring classic cars is a beloved pastime of many. Whole families often pitch in to keep their vintage beauties in mint condition. Many cars may be beloved by their owners but worth little on the open market. That's not the case for the Wagoneer. Unlike many classic cars, the market value of the Jeep Wagoneer continues to rise, making this car a smart investment.
Plenty of enthusiasts have poured their hearts and souls into a project only to realize their costs outweigh the value of the finished product. That may be perfectly fine for a labor of love or a precious collection, but for those who want a return on their costs, it could be devastating. If you want the thrill of restoring a piece of history into a work of art with the security of an easy resell, this is the perfect car for you.
3 Future Models
Fans have wished for the return of the Wagoneer since the last one rolled off the assembly line. In the decades since the SUV first emerged, third-row versions have become some of the most popular vehicles on the road. Families everywhere love the space, flexibility, and power of these gargantuan vehicles. Jeep is an original player in the SUV game.
Given the current market demand, it seems a little odd that there isn't a current Jeep model that offers 3rd-row seating. All of that is about to change with the rerelease of the Wagoneer. New models will begin rolling out in 2021 including two others aside from the beloved classic. With both luxury and performance in mind, Jeep may be poised to become the most coveted family car maker of the next decade.
2 Bringing Luxury Off-Road
The world of SUVs was once cold, stark and utilitarian. These vehicles were tools to get rugged jobs done, not the comfortable and beautiful family cars we think of today. The Grand Wagoneer brought style and class to the muddy trails it blazed.
From the gorgeous wood paneling to the leather seats, this classic Jeep proved that you didn't have to sacrifice style for performance in an SUV. This paved the way for vehicles like the Escalade going forward. Later models offered features like map lights and even corduroy seats.
1 A Dying Breed
The Wagoneer was one of the last carbureted engines sold in the US. It represented one of the last of it's kind. Over the course of its 30-year production, the Wagoneer changed very little under the hood. While the inside gained new features and more luxury, the powerhouse remained the same.
While it's one of the most stylish vehicles of its class, it won't be winning any awards for fuel-efficiency. With a comfortable highway cruising speed of about 70 miles per hour, this cherished fan favorite is loved for its grace and not its economy. After the last Wagoneer was produced in 1993, the only other carbureted vehicle sold in the US was the 1994 Izuzu Pick up. After that, the world moved on.