Trucks and SUVs

2023 Best Full-Size SUV: Jeep Wagoneer / Wagoneer L

The large-and-in-charge Wagoneer and its extended-length sibling, the Wagoneer L, are bringing Jeep to a corner of the market that has been, up until now, relatively unexplored by the off-road brand. Sumptuous interiors, imposing styling, and sheet metal longer than some buses are all part of Jeep’s attempts to lift its brand to the upper echelons – in terms of size and corporate profits – of the SUV marketplace.

Beating segment stalwarts like the burly Chevrolet Suburban/Tahoe, the Ford Expedition, the popular GMC Yukon/Yukon XL, and the all-new Toyota Sequoia is no easy task. In order to take the honours, engineers and stylists had to bring their A-game in this new-to-Jeep category of enormous people movers. Described by executives as a premium extension to the Jeep brand, Wagoneer models are intended to capture customers who would move to one of the aforementioned competitors once their family outgrew the Grand Cherokee.

The Wagoneer is available with a couple of different engines. The first is a venerable 5.7L Hemi V8, a proven unit that has been around since approximately the dawn of time and is as reliable as the sunrise. In this application, it’s joined by the brand’s eTorque mild hybrid assist system that doesn’t add anything to the 392 hp and 404 lb-ft of torque output numbers, but does admirably fill in the gaps of torque at low rpm. Optional in the Wagoneer and standard in the Wagoneer L is the so-called Hurricane inline-six twin-turbo engine, good for 420 hp and 468 lb-ft of torque.

When properly equipped, Jeep claims towing capabilities of up to 10,000 pounds for these two machines. Four-wheel drivetrains are standard in the Canadian market.

With the Wagoneer already a brute at 545 cm inches long, the Wagoneer L adds an entire foot to the length (and 18 cm of wheelbase) of its smaller brother, checking in at a huge 576 cm. This measure just pips the huge Suburban by a few millimetres; given the extremely competitive nature of this segment, that is surely not a coincidence. In the L model, it all adds up to best-in-class overall passenger volume and cargo volume behind the third row.

Our judges have praised the Wagoneer’s and Wagoneer L’s interior, finding it packed with convenient technology and clever ideas. Speaking to the latter, an optional touchscreen can be fitted to the dashboard smack dab in front of the passenger, giving them the ability to call up route options and even watch a film whilst enjoying the Wagoneer’s fit-for-royalty seats. A centrally mounted 10.25-inch screen handles infotainment duties, but physical dials and buttons for audio and ventilation make sure the space isn’t completely stripped of controls that can be used while wearing winter gloves.

Our jury of more than 20 automotive experts from across the country considered every single new three-row SUV available for Canadians to buy and voted for the best ones using a dozen different criteria ranging from safety and quality to efficiency and performance. These criteria are weighted with a critical eye to the segment’s intended purpose; for example, passenger comfort and cargo space were more important here than in the performance car category. As the winner of our Best Full-Size SUV award for 2023, the Jeep Wagoneer and Wagoneer L check the right boxes in all these measures.

None of this comes cheap, but it is worth noting that the Wagoneer and its extended-length sibling are priced competitively with other SUVs in this segment. A starting price of $84,290 sets the table for a Wagoneer Series II; adding the L suffix to any trim bumps the price by $3,500. A top-rung Series II Carbide trim will set you back $95,290 including destination fees. A bundle, to be sure, but relatively in line with its competitive set, especially considering its massive road presence and extravagant cabin.