So you’re in the market for a large, American SUV. The choice has always been between the Lincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade. But now there’s a 3rd contender from an unlikely brand. Jeep is known more for off-road capability rather than luxury. But they are trying to join the luxury segment with an off-road capable full-size SUV known as the Grand Wagoneer.
Engine – The Grand Wagoneer is powered by a 6.4L naturally aspirated V8 engine. It produces a very healthy 471 hp and 455 lb-ft of torque (351 kW & 617 Nm) which is significantly more than what the Navigator and Escalade can produce in terms of power. The Navigator’s turbo V6 engine though produces more torque. However, this 2,912 kg (6,420 lbs) aircraft carrier can accelerate like as though it’s a nimble speedboat. Every time you put your foot down, the low end grunt of the 6.4L V8 engine sheds the weight of the big body and really gets the SUV going. As well, this engine is powerful enough to tow up to 9,850 lbs, that’s best in class. However, there is a huge price to pay for all the grunt.
Fuel Economy – EnerGuide rates the 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer 4×4 at 18.6 L/100km (12.6 MPG) in a city and 12.8 L/100km (18.4 MPG) on a highway. The only other vehicle that I’ve reviewed that had worse fuel economy numbers was the Ram TRX. But that truck had a racing engine under the hood so it gets a pass. This however, is appalling. Of course, it’s going to get even worse once you hitch a trailer to it. Yes, it is decent on a highway but once you drive in city traffic, realistically the fuel economy gauge is going to be in the low 20 L/100km (11 MPG) range.
Transmission – Just like many other Jeep vehicles, the Grand Wagoneer’s V8 engine is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. In everyday driving situations, the shifts between gears are buttery smooth. You genuinely don’t feel them. It does not have paddle shifters but you can limit how high of a gear the transmission can go into when towing.
Braking – Stopping this huge SUV is actually pretty easy and smooth. The brake pedal feels firm, even under light applications, and can easily be modulated for smooth stops.
Handling – For such a massive SUV, the 2022 Grand Wagoneer has some manners when it goes around corners. It doesn’t feel as athletic as the Cadillac Escalade but the steering wheel is direct, responsive, and it feels connected to the front wheels. There is quite a bit of body roll but the Wagoneer doesn’t give you the feeling of tipping over.
Off the beaten path, it can easily keep up with all other Jeep SUVs. Maybe not so much with the most extreme versions of the Wrangler & Gladiator but you can have fun with this Grand Wagoneer in mud, sand, snow, and even mild rock climbing. That is, if you feel comfortable taking your 6-figure SUV into the wilderness. This particular Series 3 Grand Wagoneer has a full-time 4×4 system with low range and a limited slip differential in the back. It has three off-road programs and two off-road ride heights for the air suspension.
Ride Comfort – The 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer is a perfect daily commuter and family long haul trip vehicle. The air suspension absorbs bumps but it still lets you know that you’ve driven over it. It doesn’t give you the “floaty” feeling that one would expect from a large SUV like this.
Further aiding to the ride comfort are the seats. They are plush but also supportive. As well, the front seats are massaging with five different programs to choose from.
Interior Space – As is the norm, front passengers have an abundance of space. At 6’4”, I could have moved the driver’s seat further back but didn’t need to. I did lower it to the lowest position but even so, the seating position is high up which provides excellent outward visibility.
In the second row, there are captain’s chairs with a center console. Bench seats can be optioned. The Grand Wagoneer has an identical amount of 2nd row legroom as the Lincoln Navigator L and about an inch more than the Escalade ESV. It also has more headroom than both in the 2nd row. The 2nd row seats are not powered but they do slide forwards and backwards and are also heated & ventilated.
Slide the 2nd row seats forward via a touch of a button and you will find that the 3rd row is pretty commodious. The Grand Wagoneer has the same amount of legroom as the Escalade ESV but about 4 inches less than the Navigator L. The standard Navigator has the same amount of passenger space but less cargo. In the Grand Wagoneer, the 3rd row seats can recline via power buttons and you get your own little sunroof which unfortunately does not open.
In the trunk, the Grand Wagoneer sits between the regular sized Navigator & Escalade and their longer versions. So it has 776 L (27.4 cu-ft) of space behind the 3rd row which is more than both of its standard sized competitors but about 396 L (14 cu-ft) less than the Escalade ESV and 227 L (8 cu-ft) less than the Navigator L. Fold the power 3rd row seats and cargo capacity increases to 2,007 L (70.9 cu-ft). With the 2nd row folded, the maximum cargo capacity is 2,667 L (94.2 cu-ft). One thing to note, the liftgate may be a bit too low, even when fully opened, and taller individuals may hit their head on it.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – The V8 rumble is a pleasing sound to the ears. Wind and road noise, not so much. But thankfully the cabin is pretty well insulated from outside noises. However, it is not well insulated from inside noises, as in, creaks and rattles. The headrest squeaks when you rest your head on it, the trim around the b-pillar squeaks when driving over bumps as does the center console in the 2nd row. I’m not sure if this is just in this particular demo vehicle or a problem with others as well because I did not experience any rattles or squeaks when driving the Grand Cherokee L. So take what I say with a grain of salt.
Odds and Ends
Pricing – This being a luxury vehicle, it is priced like a luxury vehicle. The 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer starts at $101,495 CAD ($88,590 USD) with this Series 3 model starting at $121,495 CAD ($107,995 USD). A few options can be added but not many on this top Series 3 trim level.
Gadgets – With a starting price of 6-figures, the Grand Wagoneer has the usual luxury features that one would expect. However, it also has some features that are usually reserved for the luxury German brands. For example, it has a refrigerator under the armrest of the center console. It has night vision that can also detect and highlight pedestrians and large animals. It has a touchscreen directly in front of the front passenger. This screen is primarily used for the entertainment system and can play movies or TV shows via Amazon Fire TV. This screen also has a special filter on it so that only the passenger can see. The driver’s view of the screen is obscured. There are also touchscreens in the second row. Speaking of the second row, the captain’s chairs are heated & ventilated but unfortunately not massaging like the front seats. There’s also a very powerful McIntosh sound system that has an incredibly strong bass. It’s so strong that I had to turn the bass down which is something that I rarely do.
As for the infotainment system that controls all of the screens in the Grand Wagoneer, it is the new Uconnect 5 system. It is an Android Automotive based system that looks sharp and reacts quickly to inputs. It allows for wireless Apple CarPlay & Android Auto along with a lot of customization for the home screen and driver profiles. My favorite new feature is the Relax mode which plays calming music and displays a fire or ocean waves (among others) on all of the screens.
Interior Design – Stepping inside the 2022 Grand Wagoneer feels like you’ve stepped into a luxury restaurant or Polo club. It is exactly as a 6-figure SUV should be. There’s soft leather on nearly every surface, wood trim across the dash, door panels, & center console, and it feels “airy” thanks to not only the large panoramic sunroof but also the small sunroof above the 3rd row seats. There are also a lot of screens; 7 in total. Four for the front occupants and three for the second row. The screen for the climate controls can actually retract and reveal the charging pad for the wireless phone charging.
It is a very impressive interior but it’s not without its faults. One minor issue I have is with the use of gloss black plastics around the gear selector. It will get scratched as time goes on. But my bigger issue with the interior is the amount of squeaks and rattles when driving over bumps as I mentioned in the NVH section of the review.
Exterior Design – The exterior is a blend of the current Jeep design language with hints of the classic Wagoneer sprinkled throughout. The forward facing grille, the headlights, and taillights are all modern looking. The side and back windows with chrome surrounds harken back to the Wagoneer of the 1970’s. Thankfully it doesn’t have the wood trim on the outside of the car. Personally, I’m not a fan of the chrome which is why I’d choose the Obsidian trim with the black trim pieces.
Warranty – The 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer is covered by a 3 year / 60,000 km basic and 5 year / 100,000 km powertrain warranty. For more information on Canadian warranty, click here. For information on USA warranty, click here.
Conclusion – For a first attempt at a 6-figure luxury SUV, Jeep is heading in the right direction. It’s not perfect however. The 2022 Jeep grand Wagoneer needs a bit of refinement to address the interior rattles & squeaks (unless it’s only on this demo vehicle) and they need to do something about the atrocious fuel economy of the V8. I like the engine but not the fuel it guzzles down. Other than those issues, it is a worthy competitor to the established Escalade and Navigator.
Thank you to Jeep Canada for providing the vehicle. www.Jeep.ca