3 Things We Like About the 2023 Grand Wagoneer L and 2 We Don't

Mike Schlee
by Mike Schlee

The Grand Wagoneer burst onto the scene last year, ready to stake a claim in the jumbo luxury SUV marketplace. This is the segment of traditional, body-on-frame behemoths meant to transport large quantities of people, cargo, and trailers, in complete lavishness. It’s the domain of the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator – two well established players.

Like those American competitors, the Grand Wagoneer is available in two sizes: large and extended length extra large. We recently spent a week with an extra large 2023 Grand Wagoneer L Series III to see if it’s able to compete in this high-priced segment.

The short answer is yes. But like any vehicle, it’s not perfect. Below we have highlighted three things we really like about the new Grand Wagoneer, and 2 things we’re less thrilled about.

Like – Engine Power

The death of the Hemi V8 is mourned by many. The power and sound of that eight-cylinder engine gained quite the fan base. But fear not. Although the Hurricane inline-six turbo is short two cylinders, the power it makes is phenomenal. In the Grand Wagoneer it unleashes 510 horsepower and 500 pound feet of torque. That’s more power than even the 6.4-liter Hemi it replaces.

It also delivers slightly better fuel economy, which is a nice bonus.

Dislike – Weight

The Grand Wagoneer L is heavy; really heavy. As tested, it tips the scales at 6,704 pounds. Compared to a fully loaded Escalade ESV or Navigator L, that’s over 500 pounds heavier. The weight isn’t noticed during acceleration thanks to the point made in the previous section. But when cornering, and especially while braking, all the mass makes itself known to the driver.

Like – Interior Technology

Modern Luxury SUVs with six-figure price tags need a lot high-end features and technology. The Grand Wagoneer L aces that criteria. The usual features like heated, massage, and ventilated seats are present along with ample glass in the roof, head-up display, power everything, and a kicking audio system.

Our favorite feature though is the magnitude of on-board screens that can be optioned. There are seven primary screens in all. To start, there’s the usual infotainment system screen with a secondary, movable seat-adjustment screen below. The driver has a digital information centre in front of them while the front and second row passengers each get their own screen. The seventh screen resides between the second row passengers to adjust climate and seat controls back there.

Dislike – Max Cargo Capacity

The Grand Wagoneer L is big and heavy and offers more cargo room behind the third row than the Escalade ESV or the Navigator L. Fold the back seats down though and things change a bit. Although the Grand Wagoneer L still has more cargo room than the Lincoln, it now comes up a bit short compared to the Cadillac.

With the second row of seats folded as well, the total space behind the front row of seats in the Grand Wagoneer L now trails the Navigator L as well, and really falls behind the Escalade ESV.

Like – Towing Capacity

What the Grand Wagoneer L can’t carrying behind the first row of seats it more than makes up for when it comes to trailer towing. When properly equipped, the Series III with the high-output engine can tow upwards of 9,420 pounds. That quite impressive and easily beats the highest rated Escalade ESV (8,000 lbs) and Navigator L (8,100 lbs.)

So a week away with the family and travel trailer loaded full of gear should be no sweat for the big Grand Wagoneer L.

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Mike Schlee
Mike Schlee

A 20+ year industry veteran, Mike rejoins the AutoGuide team as the Managing Editor. He started his career at a young age working at dealerships, car rentals, and used car advertisers. He then found his true passion, automotive writing. After contributing to multiple websites for several years, he spent the next six years working at the head office of an automotive OEM, before returning back to the field he loves. He is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA). He's the recipient of a feature writing of the year award and multiple video of the year awards.

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