Acceleration is quite lively for a vehicle of this type. It compares favorably to most of the passenger cars of its size. A top speed of 90 mph (true -- not indicated) was reached on the test track at Riverside Raceway. The standing quarter-mile took 20.5 seconds, with a speed of 68 mph. Standing-start acceleration runs of 0-30, 0-45, and 0-60 mph took 4.6, 8.8, and 16.1 seconds. We didn't use forced shifts during any of the acceleration tests, but let the transmission do its own work. Maximum speeds, at shift points, were 31 mph (4000 rpm) in first and 51 mph (3800 rpm) in second.

At this time, Willys is selling all of this model they can produce, and they even have a rather large quantity of back orders. As a result, we couldn't keep the Wagoneer as long as we'd have liked (it was already sold), so our fuel consumption figures aren't as complete as they usually are. We were able to determine that normal city and freeway driving will give figures in the 14-to-18-mpg range, going as high as 21 or 22 mpg for steady, legal-limit highway cruising. In rough back country, with all four wheels pulling, the range drops to 10 to 14 mpg. With the 20-gallon fuel tank, this gives an operating range of anywhere from 200 to slightly over 400 miles to a tank of gas -- regular grade at that.

One of the few complaints we had with the car centers on the fuel tank. Its a long, narrow tank that nestles up between the rear driveshaft and the curb-side frame rail. This in itself is fine, because it's out of the way and well protected, but by necessity, the fill pipe, located on the driver's side. is extremely long and almost horizontal -- and because of this, it seems to take forever to fill the tank. Owners will have to make sure that station attendants really fill the tank, because most of them have a tendency to assume that the tank is full when gas begins to slosh out on the ground -- and this happens constantly as the Wagoneer's tank is being filled.

While we're on the minus side, we'll mention the compass that comes as standard equipment on all Wagoneers. This can be a very useful accessory in a vehicle such as this, and while it was accurate (as near as we could tell), it was designed in such a way as to make it a nuisance during night driving. The compass light is within the unit and not shielded at all. As a result, the light shines in the driver's eyes, a perfect reflection of the compass is thrown up on the windshield, and since the light is behind the compass dial, the dial isn't illuminated and can't be read from the driver's seat.