Sunday, May 22, 2022

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Cars in the City

Jeep Wagoneer returns


Jeep first introduced the Wagoneer in the 1960s.

Car manufacturers are jumping on the bandwagon by bringing back the classics. The past few years, Chevy Blazer and Ford Bronco have been hoping nostalgia sells. The Jeep Wagoneer is no exception, and it’s back — minus the woodgrain trim — after a 28-year absence.

The 2022 Wagoneer Series III is big on luxury and big on everything else — including the price tag at $83,230.

This version is great for adult bodies. A third-row seating configuration is roomy. Climbing in the back is fairly easy with automatic fold-down seats from the second row. It comfortably seats six — ideal for carting friends around. If needed, two back center seat passengers can easily squeeze in a few more.

Second row passengers can enjoy entertainment screens mounted on the back of the front bucket seats. If junior wants to watch “Spider-Man,” and his little sister wants to watch “Frozen,” each can choose from their Apple Play or Amazon Fire app.

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Every driver has passengers who have a phone with a 10% battery charge, and, the minute they hop into your vehicle, they ask you to plug their phone in. Not anymore.  There are chargers wherever you sit. With eight different USB ports, everyone can have a fully charged phone.

The Wagoneer takes care of its backseat passengers. There’s cupholders near each seat. A tri-zone climate control means everyone is comfy. I wish the car I grew up with offered that feature, as my older brother hogged the cold air conditioning while I sweltered in the back seat. I didn’t like the rule that says the oldest always gets to sit up front.

There are five total screens in the vehicles. In addition to the two in the second row, there are three up front: the screen on the driver’s panel, the center infotainment and a passenger interactive screen. The passenger can access all the navigation or connect a movie.

A 360-degree-view camera shows everything that’s going on. It monitors pedestrians, lane drifters, too-close cars in the front or rear, blind spots, driver fatigue and more. The traffic sign recognition monitors the road for speed limit, construction zone, school or speed cameras ahead.

A feature I wasn’t able to test was the night vision camera. It uses infrared to detect heat signatures — in both pedestrians and animals — up to 110 yards away.

One fun feature is the Quadra-lift air suspension. With the flip of a switch, it raises the whole vehicle up to 10 inches to deal with rough terrain or deep-water conditions underneath the body. It reminded me of a lowrider car in an old music video, which bounces up and down to a loud music beat. It might actually work, as there’s 10 506-watt Alpine speakers.

Overall, there are 120 driver-assist technologies available on the Wagoneer. Who needs a backseat driver when you have all these reminders? After all, your passengers will be too busy on their screens to warn you if a semi drifts into your lane.

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