Wagoneer ho! Jeep confirms return of legendary SUV

1991 Jeep Grand Wagoneer

1991 Jeep Grand Wagoneer  (Jeep)

Isn’t life Grand?

It is for classic SUV lovers.

Hot on the heels of Ford’s announcement at the Detroit Auto Show that it’s bringing back the Bronco, Jeep confirmed plans to introduce new Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer large SUVs.

Unlike the Jeep Grand Cherokee, which uses a car-like unibody, the Wagoneers will be body-on-frame trucks and built in the Michigan assembly plant that currently produces Ram 1500 pickups.

After going back and forth on it for a couple of years, Jeep brand boss Mike Manley says they looked at the large SUV market in the United States and saw most of its competitors using truck-based platforms, which better fit the bill for buyers shopping for this type of vehicle.

The original Wagoneer was sold in various forms from 1963 to 1991. Jeep hasn't had a full-size, three row SUV in its lineup since the Grand Cherokee-based Commander was discontinued in 2010 due to low sales, in part because many consumers thought it was low quality and too small.

“We know, using body-on-frame with Jeep, because that’s what Wrangler is, that we can get fantastic luxury and performance and capability, and that’s what we need,” Manley says.

He adds that the two trucks will be more distinctive than just short and long wheelbase versions of the same vehicle, and should cover a price range from around $60,000 to $100,000, which suggests they’ll be premium models aimed at trucks like the GMC Yukon Denali and Toyota Land Cruiser.

No official images of the new pair have been revealed, but based on a leaked photo of an early design study, they won’t stray too far from the Jeep brand’s current look.

Jeep hasn’t yet said when the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will go on sale, but the updates to the factory where they will be produced won’t be completed until 2020, so figure 2021 at the earliest.

Unfortunately for fans of the originals, it doesn’t sound like a wood panel option is in the works, but Jeep does offer many graphic decal packages for many of its vehicles, so there’s always hope.

Gary Gastelu is's Automotive Editor. You can follow him on Twitter @garygastelu and @foxcarreport