What is the new Jeep Wagoneer, Subaru Mini SUV and What the Hell 2017 NAIAS? [Ask Nathan]

2016 kia sorento awd hyundai santa fe drag race in the rain wet

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • Will the new Jeep Wagoneer be different than the new Jeep Grand Wagoneer? UPDATE</li>
  • Will there be a Subaru mini SUV to go against the Honda HR-V and Jeep Renegade?
  • Was the 2017 NAIAS a total bust?

This first question comes from a fan who wants to know more information about the upcoming Jeep Wagoneer.

2018 jeep cherokee xl stretch spy shots ptototypes
2018 Jeep Cherokee prototypes (by William H.)

Q: I am confused. What is the difference between the future Jeep Wagoneer and the Jeep Grand Wagoneer?

I own a 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee which I love. The one thing I am missing out on is a third row seat. It’s not that important but it’s something that I wouldn’t mind having. I hear that the Jeep Grand Wagoneer will have a third row. What about the Jeep Wagoneer? Is it just a different lesser trim level?

I know there’s nothing official out yet. What have you heard?


Jeep Wrangler Africa – Easter Jeep Safari 2015

A: Hi!

Thanks for the email! I have two theories about the upcoming Jeep Wagoneer. Mind you, I have nothing concrete other than FCA/Jeep announcing an investment for building both vehicles (and adding room in Ohio to build the Wrangler-based pickup).

There is a chance that the Jeep Wagoneer is a stretched Jeep Cherokee. It may have a small third row and a longer wheelbase. If this is the case, it may be shorter than the Dodge Durango. Its overall drivetrain and suspension setup could be the same as the Jeep Cherokee too. As the Jeep Cherokee is front-wheel drive biased, the Jeep Wagoneer could be as well.

The other theory is that the Jeep Grand Wagoneer will be based on the next Jeep Grand Cherokee’s lengthened platform – and the regular Jeep Wagoneer could be a (wider than a Grand Cherokee, but shorter than a Grand Wagoneer) smaller option. Basically, it could be as wide as the Grand Wagoneer, but not as long.

That’s all I have. Remember: this is all speculation. I think we’ll learn a lot more in the next few months.


Thanks to a few intrepid readers, I was notified that FCA announced the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will be based on a body-on-frame platform. While the announcement was made by Sergio Marchionne, Chief Executive Officer of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. AND Chairman and CEO of FCA US LLC – we still need to hear it from Jeep before we begin our happy dance. The frame used is (supposedly) coming from the next generation’s Ram 1500.

We will be keeping an eye on this story!


This next question comes from a reader who is wondering if Subaru will build a crossover comparable to the Honda HR-V and Jeep Renegade.

Subaru R1

Q: Hi Nathan and the TFLcar crew! In your professional opinion, will Subaru build something that can compete with the Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade and the Chevrolet Trax?

I know Subaru is against you, but you seem to be good at digging up dirt about future models from most car builders. I remember your old story about the Subaru Forester you owned, so I know you still like the brand.

Do you think they will build something like a lifted Subaru R2 for the American market?

Please let me know and have a great 2017!!

Mel K


A: Hi Mel,

Subaru is currently focusing on their new seven passenger SUV. It’s costly and time consuming to build anything for our market. The Subaru R1 and R2 are built on very small platforms and are a bit out of date. I don’t think Subaru would use them for our market.

With that being said, it’s possible that, if the small crossover market remains hot in the United States, they may bring something over. Remember, their smallest vehicle offered here is the Impreza, it’s a bit too large to compete in such a small class.

You never know. We’ll see what the future holds.




The last question comes from a viewer who is worried about losing his right to drive his car.

Q: What the hell happened at the 2017 NAIAS?

Was it a complete bust?


Acura Precision Concept at 2016 NAIAS in Detroit

A: Howdy!

While the 2017 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) was disappointing, it did have a few surprises. The Kia Stinger, next Toyota Camry and the Volkswagen ID Buzz concept were pretty cool. I was pleased that Ford didn’t completely disappoint showing the new F-150 and a bunch of new power-plants (including a diesel).

There were some interesting unveilings from Nissan (Rogue Sport), Volkswagen (7-passenger Tiguan), GMC (diesel/push-button Terrain) and the Honda Odyssey were great consumer unveils.

Still, if felt so empty this year. All this repetitive talk about “mobility” and so little about “passion.” I mean, you can try to make autonomous, electric vehicles sexy, but it’s old-hat and it does nothing to inspire.

Ford did mention that they will build the Ford Ranger and Ford Bronco – but there was nothing to be seen in person. Nobody gets excited about vehicles they can’t look at in person.

I hope next year is better.



Sorry, no “Ask Nathan” video from Detroit. Maybe next time!

Here’s the latest video episode of “Ask Nathan!”

Nathan and The Fast Lane Car team are here to answer your (reasonable) questions. Interesting and/or entertaining emails will be posted to this column. If it’s relevant in the automotive universe, there’s a chance we may know something about it. The author’s email address and name will be omitted – leaving your initials or nickname, your preference.

From day one, The Fast Lane Car has made it our policy to answer as many questions and comments as we can. We get thousands of emails and comments and feel that,as part of a tight-knit automotive community, having an open dialogue with you keeps things fresh and exciting.

Got a question for Nathan? Drop him a line at: asknathan@tflcar.com[