2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Review

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer - Same name, completely different vehicle.


After 29 years, the Wagoneer nameplate is back in action on an all-new full-size premium three-row Jeep. The first image that pops in my head when I hear Wagoneer is an eighties SUV covered in woodgrain, but Jeep is aiming to change that image with an SUV that competes directly with luxury icons such as the Lincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade. It is naturally being compared to the old version, but after a week in the Grand Wagoneer Series I model, I can assure you, this is something completely different. Jeep has plans for the Wagoneer to be its own portfolio of vehicles beginning with the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer. At first glance, you'll have to hunt for Jeep badging as all the usual placements just say Wagoneer (grille, tailgate, wheel covers and steering wheel). Small one-inch Jeep branding can be found hidden in the headlights, tail lights, and on the side mirror surround, but that's it. Even at Jeep.com, Wagoneer is separated from the rest of Jeep vehicles with its own tab and a listing.

The Grand Wagoneer is available in four trim levels known as Series I, Series II, Obsidian, and Series III. All feature standard four-wheel drive and a 6.4L V8 engine that delivers 471 horsepower mated to an eight-speed automatic. Standard on all versions is a Quadra-Lift air suspension system, rear load-leveling, selec-terrain management system, LED lighting, remote start, tri-pane panoramic sunroof, 12.3" multi-view digital cluster, McIntosh entertainment system, Uconnect 5C with Nav on a 12" display and more. Prices start at $90,440 for a Series I and can climb as high as $112,615 for a Series III equipped with optional packages and accessories. Competition includes the aforementioned Navigator and Escalade as well as the Chevrolet Suburban, GMC Yukon, Lexus LX, Mercedes-Benz G-Class, and Land Rover Range Rover. After a week of driving, here's what stands out...

Interior Refinement (+)
There were no corners cut when designing the inside of this SUV. The styling is luxurious while maintaining a certain level of ruggedness found in Jeeps. Premium materials are used throughout including touches of American walnut and authentic metals. Stretching across the dash are the wood trimmings with Grand Wagoneer etched in metal giving it a very sophisticated feel. Various kinds of leather and suede round out the materials on the seats and headliners that look and feel premium. Small details such as the metal rotary gear selection dial and adjacent toggle switches offer a welcome break from digital touch buttons. Regardless of where you are in the Grand Wagoneer, the space is inviting and built well.

Comfort (+)
The Grand Wagoneer comes standard with seating for seven in the form of captain's chairs in the second row and a bench seat in the third row. A 60/40 split bench is optional in the second row. All of the seats offer plenty of head and legroom, even the third-row seats that recline. We packed seven (4 adults, 3 kids) into the SUV for an extended amount of time to participate in a local Jeeps on the Run charity event/convoy to deliver toys and the interior was referred to as the "living room" with everyone having enough personal space. The seats must have been comfortable because 3 of the seven even managed a relaxing nap. Access to the third row is easy via the touch of a button on the second-row captain's chairs, although they take a bit of strength to push back down... a task not as easy for kids climbing in and out.

Heated and ventilated seats are standard up front, while second row passengers get heated seats standard on all models and ventilated seats standard on the Obsidian and Series III versions.  Either Nappa leather or Palermo leather are available depending on the trim. Power 24-way driver and front passenger seats allow for the ultimate customization and perfection of the seating position. Controls for adjustment are placed on the doors rather than at the bottom of the seats so that you can easily see the area you're adjusting. In addition to room, comfort can be individualized via a four-zone climate control system with comfort display. Rear seat passengers have their own digital screen between the captain's chairs for adjustments and ultimately, all zones can be controlled up front.

Massaging Seats (+)
Beyond the ability to fully customize your seats to your comfort level, the Grand Wagoneer comes standard with massaging capabilities up front. Below the primary touchscreen is a second screen with comfort controls that include both climate systems and the massage functions. A built-in massage system has three level settings (low, medium, and high) and five different patterns available (waterfall, lower back, extend, low extend, and rock climb) that cover both the back and bottom portions of the seats which can operate independently. The system works well and  pairs nicely with the heated seats on a cold day. It's a luxury amenity that makes a long drive or time in traffic much more tolerable.

Technology (+/-)
This SUV is loaded with technology including hidden compartments, digital screens, premium audio, and more.  Drivers will face a 12.3" digital gauge cluster that can be configured in many different ways and an available head-up display will also project information on the windshield. A leather-wrapped heated steering wheel is standard that includes additional controls for the display, audio, and cruise control.

At the center of the dash is a 12" multi-function touchscreen that integrates with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa wirelessly. The Uconnect 5 system is rather intuitive and easy to use, although can be a bit glitchy with the wireless connection disconnecting. An available 10.25" passenger interactive display offers a new level of engagement with a screen located just above the glove compartment and the ability to access navigation, cameras, and entertainment.

Below the primary display screen is the aforementioned climate control screen and hidden behind that is the wireless charger with USB and AUX connection ports. The first button below this screen will flip the screen back to reveal the hidden space. Note this function is only operable when the Jeep is turned on. On several occasions, I had to restart the SUV to open this compartment to pull my phone out after forgetting to grab it. It's a fun feature to show off, but does lack some practicality.

Camera Systems (+/-)
A standard 360-degree surround view camera and available night vision with pedestrian and animal detection provide all around visibility. The high-res imagery and guidelines are prominently displayed on the digital screen with the ability to change views. Also available is a digital rearview mirror which utilizes a real-time camera in the back hatch to offer an unobstructed view of what's behind you. During my time with the Grand Wagoneer though, the back-up camera would not activate on a few occasions. After some trial and error, it seemed to happen when I started the SUV with the remote start. I was driving a pre-production version so it could be an unfortunate glitch, but it proved how vital and useful the cameras actually are when parking a vehicle of this size.

Surround Sound Audio (+)
Jeep worked closely with McIntosh to develop an entertainment system suitable for this vehicle. A base MX950 system is standard with a 19-speaker, 950-watt sound system and 10" subwoofer. An upgraded MX1375 system includes a 23-speaker, 1,375-watt sound system with a 12" subwoofer. Both systems deliver a crystal-clear sound that fills the mass amount of space inside.

Powertrain (+)
This big, heavy SUV requires a big engine to get it moving and the 6.4L V8 does that well. It delivers 471 horsepower and 455 lb-ft of torque. Upon starting it up, you'll hear the low tones rumbling from the V8 to remind you there is more to this SUV than luxury amenities inside. Acceleration is sufficient and the transmission shifts smoothly through the gears. It won't throw you back in your seat, but it provides plenty of power to merge into traffic or pass vehicles on the highway. Jeep estimates a 0-60 time of around 6 seconds.

Handling is responsive despite some expected body lean in harsher turns. It feels grounded and absorbs road perfections providing an overall smooth and quiet ride. It makes for a great highway cruiser with low road noise and a sophisticated composure. I spent some longer drives in this one and never felt any fatigue from driving such a large vehicle.

Off-Road Capability (+)
Designers did not forget its origins and while it's definitely an upscale vehicle, it remains more than capable of getting dirty off-road. Four-wheel drive is standard with the Quadra-Drive II system that includes a rear electronic limited-slip differential. When any kind of tire slippage is detected, the system will smoothly distribute engine torque to aid in traction. Also standard is a Quadra-Lift air suspension that will adjust the ride height for various types of terrain. Minimum ground clearance is 8.3" and it can be raised as high as 10" when in position 2. It features a 25-degree approach angle, 24-degree departure angle, and a 22-degree breakover angle. This combination with maximum ground clearance of 10" enables up to 2 two feet of water-fording capability.

360-degree cameras will also aid in off-roading adventures. I had the chance to drive the Wagoneer version off-road and was very impressed with its turning radius and ability to traverse through some tighter trails. Outside of that it climbed over rocks, uneven terrain, climbed some fairly steep mud hills and splashed through the water with all the other off-road vehicles at the Midwest Automotive Association's off-road rally course. Perhaps its biggest obstacle will be sheer size as some paths just won't be wide enough for this beast.

Selec-Terrain Management System (+)
This automatic system can be controlled through the push of the toggle button located in the center console next to the gear selector. There are five modes available known as rock, sand/mud, snow, auto, and sport. The names are self-explanatory as each optimizes driving dynamics for the situation. The system is easy to use and works in conjunction with the Quadra-Lift air suspension. For example, selecting sport mode will also trigger the air suspension to lower into a more optimal ride height for better aerodynamics.

Fuel Economy (-)

No real surprise here, but the Grand Wagoneer is a thirsty one. It houses a 26.5-gallon fuel tank and requires premium fuel. It's rated at 13/18/15 MPG city/highway/combined. When my test vehicle arrived, it offered a range of around 370 miles. After a week of driving, I average 13.2 MPG. These ratings are lower than competitors such as the Expedition, Escalade, and Navigator.

Exterior (+/-)
While I personally like the exterior design, there are a lot of strong opinions on both sides of the fence. Understandably everyone is comparing it to the former 80s and 90s version with the most common comments questioning where the wood grain side panels are. Let's be real, it's 2022 and there is a very small niche appetite for wood paneling. While it would be a cool build for SEMA or maybe an optional exterior add-on, the new Grand Wagoneer looks best as is in the luxury SUV class it's now competing in. Some things are better remembered in the past.

This new model takes inspiration from the original, but that's about it. It features a confident, wide stance with generally good proportions all around. There's a lot of detail in the exterior including the signature 7-slot grille with chrome grill rings inside. A two-tone black accent roof is standard with chrome outlining the windows. Either 20 or 22" aluminum wheels are available in four different finishes. All of them compliment the styling well. Around back the tail lights are encompassed in a casing embedded in the tailgate that creates a separation from the body and aligns with the beltline.

Power Retractable Side Steps (+)
In an effort to create a smooth, luxurious look Jeep has given it power retractable side steps. When closed, they are black with a chrome accent that blends right into the lower portion of the body. These steps automatically fold down and up as you approach or exit the SUV. Combined with a park mode in the air suspension will lower the vehicle 1.6" from the normal ride height for easy entry and exit for passengers of all sizes.

LED Lighting (+)
All models come with premium LED lighting in front and back. Signature daytime running lights flank the grill with a gloss black background giving it a jewel like presence. Lower in the grille are three individual LED fog lights on either side. When the turn signals or emergency lights are illuminated, they light up with sequential amber lighting that is very distinctive. In the back, the rear LEDs stretch from the quarter panel to the hands-free power liftgate. These lights are also encased with a red LED light bar at the top and four individual rectangles that also light up red sequentially from the inside out when in operation.

Badging (+)
Jeep put a lot of effort into branding these vehicles as Wagoneers first and foremost. Individual letters spell out the model name across the tailgate in a brushed silver finish. The letters have dimension and are done in a font that is both tough and luxurious. The same letter treatment can be found on both front doors while up front Wagoneer is done in chrome above the 7-slot grille. And on the wheels a three-dimensional wheel cap highlighting the Wagoneer logo is suspended in acrylic. Jeep badging is minimal and requires some hunting.

Safety (+)
The 2022 Grand Wagoneer offers over 120 safety and security features including standard ones such as:
* Automatic Emergency Braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection
* Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go
* Active Lane Management
* Blind-spot Monitoring
* Rear Cross Path detection
* Rear park assist sensors with stop
* Switch-activated electric park brake

Other available features include active driving assist which is a semi-autonomous cruise control. It requires hands on the wheel and eyes on the road while the Jeep maintains speed, distance, and lane centering. The system works well in smoothly adjusting to traffic by utilizing radars and cameras. Night vision with pedestrian and animal detection uses thermographic technology to search for the heat signatures of pedestrians and animals in the road ahead, at distances up to 109 yards. When located, their positions, relative to the vehicle, are outlined in the instrument cluster directly in front of the driver. These features, among others, will provide drivers some added confidence on the road.

Final Statement (+)

The revival of the Wagoneer name is welcomed in this all-new premium SUV. The name will attract attention while the actual vehicle will stand fine on its own. As a competitor to staples like the Navigator and the Escalade, the Grand Wagoneer offers something more with its off-road abilities that will appeal to its targeted audience. The level of refinement and luxury inside is impressive and comfortable. Jeep has given it plenty of modern technology with things like multiple digital screens, sequential LED lighting, power retractable side steps, wireless integration, and more. This SUV is much more than just a retro name.

First Impression Summary:
Test Vehicle:
2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Series I
Exterior Color: Velvet Red Pearl
Interior Color: Sea Salt / Black Leather
MSRP as tested: $91,735 (With Delivery/Destination)

Jim OBrill

Jim is Director of Marketing for the Chicago Automobile Trade Association and Chicago Auto Show and a co-host of Drive Chicago Radio on WLS 890 AM Chicago. His passion for cars started young and he’s often referred to as the ‘car-guy’ among family and friends. As a former auto detailer, he has an eye for identifying solid used cars and tags along on many car buying adventures. Early in his career he worked at several car dealerships in various areas of the business. As a co-host on Drive Chicago and member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, Jim has had opportunities to attend track school and drive vehicles on multiple circuits such as Road America and Gingerman Raceway. With a background in photography, taking pictures of vehicles has always been a hobby.

Jim also enjoys the trails and taking trucks like his 4Runner off road. He has a special appreciation for older cars and can often be found spending free time at cruise nights or home washing one his four vehicles. Jim resides in the northwest suburbs with his wife and three kids. Follow Jim on Instagram at @jpcars22 for new vehicle content or @forgotten_survivors.312 for shots of older cars still on the streets of Chicagoland.