Why the Jeep Grand Wagoneer Needs the Hellcat Engine

Why the Jeep Grand Wagoneer Needs the Hellcat Engine

Give Me a Supercharged V8 or I Send It Back

  • Some say that any number of FCA engines would work fine in the new Jeep Grand Wagoneer.
  • They are wrong, because the only reasonable choice is the supercharged Hellcat V8 from the Ram 1500 TRX.

The 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer is still about a year away from its on-sale date, but neither time nor a lack of concrete information can prevent the rumor mill from churning. So let's talk about what should be under the hood. Sure, the Grand Wagoneer concept's vague promise of a plug-in hybrid powertrain bodes well for fuel economy, but that's not the stuff that Detroit SUV dreams are made of. I don't care which motors Jeep pilfers from the parts bin for volume-selling Grand Wagoneers. All I know is that the supercharged Hellcat V8 needs to be at the top of the lineup.

Keeping Up With the Joneses

The American arm of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) doesn't develop new engines very often. The current crop of motors across the Dodge-Ram-Jeep-Chrysler playbook include the hoary Pentastar V6 (first introduced about a decade ago), a V8 that dates back even further, and a line of four-cylinders that were either designed for now-defunct compact sedans or developed by one of FCA's Italian manufacturers.

Rumors persist of a turbocharged inline-six in store for future FCA vehicles, but we don't know if it will be ready by the time the Grand Wagoneer launches. Either this new inline-six or the existing 5.7-liter V8 should be sufficiently powerful as the Grand Wagoneer's base engine. The Grand Wagoneer's primary competition — the Mercedes-Benz GLS, BMW X7, Lincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade — use a boosted six-cylinder or naturally aspirated V8 for power by default.

Hellcat > Pretty Much Everything Else

But default isn't exciting. That's why the GLS has an AMG variant. It's why the Alpina XB7 exists. Surprisingly, however, there's no Navigator Raptor or Escalade ZL1 to appeal to chest-beating Americans. In this class, there's nothing whatsoever from the land of the muscle car that can go toe-to-toe with mega-fast SUVs from overseas.

That's why we need a Jeep Grand Wagoneer Hellcat. Not only to bring the speed crown back to Detroit, where it belongs, but also for the simple fact that a big, silly SUV is perfectly matched to a big, silly supercharged V8. The Hellcat engine already powers the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, after all. The big dog in the lineup can't be upstaged by its little brother right out of the gate.

The Hellcat V8 is also found under the hood of the Ram 1500 TRX, which is great news for the Ram 1500-based Grand Wagoneer. Ram has already done the R&D heavy lifting! With the internal combustion engine set for its swan song in the not too distant future, a giant truck-based SUV with a monstrous supercharged V8 will help ensure it won't go quietly into the night.

Edmunds Says

There are a number of engines in the FCA portfolio that are theoretically suitable for the Jeep Grand Wagoneer. But a big, bold SUV like this one needs a similarly extroverted engine. You'll see what we mean when the Jeep Grand Wagoneer Hellcat debuts. Meanwhile, check out our Jeep Grand Wagoneer page for all the latest news and impressions.