Is The Luxury World Ready For A Six-Figure Jeep?
Jeep is known for its rugged vehicles, but recent years have seen this division of Chrysler expand into many new segments. The entry-level, subcompact Jeep Renegade is a global success for Jeep, and on the opposite end of the spectrum is the all-new 2022 Jeep Wagoneer lineup.
The Jeep Wagoneer name existed from 1963 until 1983 on what is now considered the first premium SUV ever made (long before anyone coined the term “SUV”), and it was renamed the Grand Wagoneer from 1984 until 1991. The Wagoneer name was used on the XJ Cherokee from 1983 until 1990, and the Grand Wagoneer name was later applied to a wood grained-version of the 1993 Grand Cherokee.
Bringing the Wagoneer Into the Modern Era
Looking to create a premium extension of the Jeep brand, the Jeep Wagoneer and Jeep Grand Wagoneer exist as a luxury sub-brand similar to how Land Rover has its Range Rover models. The 2022 Jeep Wagoneer is priced to go up against SUVs like the Chevrolet Tahoe, Ford Expedition, and Nissan Armada, while the 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer is grander with added content and a bigger engine to compete with traditional luxury SUVs such as the Cadillac Escalade, Infiniti QX80, and the Mercedes-Benz GLS. The Wagoneer is available in three trim levels with prices ranging from $57,995 up to $75,995, and the Grand Wagoneer comes in four trim levels starting at $86,995 and topping out at $103,995.
So is the luxury world ready for a six-figure Jeep? I spent a day driving both the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer to find out, and here are the five best things I found out about this newest Jeep.
To go along with the classic Wagoneer name, the 2022 Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer offer up a modern take on the old-school SUV design. The tall roofline and boxy lines are accentuated with thin roof pillars and an abundance of glass. The Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer each get distinctive front end designs and subtle interior differences as well. While these big SUVs proudly display Jeep’s iconic seven-slot grille, you’ll have to look very carefully to find any Jeep logos – they’re there but more like a hidden Jeep Easter egg rather than traditional branding.
Smooth, Confident Ride
The Wagoneer is a true full-size luxury SUV riding on a similar chassis as the Ram 1500 truck, but this big Jeep hardly rides like a truck. Most of my time with the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer was spent driving through New York from the hustle and bustle of New York City to the more rural and hilly terrain of South Salem, NY. In the city, the Wagoneer does a great job of drowning out all of the noise for a whisper-quiet interior, and on the road, both versions I drove had the adaptive air suspension that resulted in a true luxury ride.
The level of luxury is intensified in the Grand Wagoneer, but the key difference between these two SUVs is the powertrain. The 2022 Jeep Wagoneer is only available with a 5.7-liter V8 engine with a mild-hybrid drive assist that produces 392 horsepower and 404 lb-ft of torque, and the Grand Wagoneer uses a 6.4-liter V8 that puts out 471 hp and 455 lb-ft of torque. All Grand Wagoneer models come standard with 4×4, while all Wagoneers come with two-wheel drive and most offer 4×4.
Impressive Off Road, Too
Since most customers aren’t likely to take their fancy new Wagoneers off-roading, it’s no surprise that neither of these SUVs wears Jeep’s coveted Trail Rated badge. Even so, the Wagoneer performs quite well off-road as I found out on a rock- and mud-covered portion of the drive route. With the air suspension as its highest, the Wagoneer offers 10 inches of ground clearance, which made easy work of the man-made course.
There’s no doubt these SUVs will be put to work as tow vehicles, and the Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer is extremely capable in that regard. The 2022 Jeep Wagoneer has a 10,000-pound tow rating and the Grand Wagoneer is slightly lower at 9,850 pounds, and the latter had absolutely no problem hauling a 7,000-pound horse trailer along a short and hilly drive loop.
Room To Relax
When I say that the 2022 Jeep Wagoneer is big, I mean it. In fact, the sheer size took me by surprise when I first saw this SUV in person, and looking at the spec sheet shows that this Jeep is bigger and roomier than a Chevrolet Tahoe! Those big exterior dimensions equate to a massive interior with three rows of seating that can hold up to eight passengers. Every inch of the Wagoneer’s interior was designed to maximize comfort and convenience, and that includes the center console. Rather than just making a place to throw clutter, the Wagoneer’s console can be configured with a cooler large enough to fit six bottles of water or a lockable, metal safe to keep sensitive items safe and secure.
Screens, Lots Of Screens!
What will really blow customers away is the class-leading technology available inside the 2022 Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer. These SUVs are available with up to seven digital displays spanning up to 45 inches across the instrument panel.
These screens include the innovative 10.25-inch screen located on the passenger side of the dash available for either streaming videos or assisting the driver with navigation directions, and this screen is not viewable from the driver’s seat. On the Grand Wagoneer, the driver has a 12.3-inch gauge cluster, 12-inch information display, and 10.25-inch comfort display, while the passengers in the back can get a pair of 10.25-inch rear entertainment screens and another 10.1-inch screen for HVAC and audio controls.
It’s been exactly 30 years since the original Jeep Wagoneer ended production, and the return of this classic nameplate promises to take the Jeep brand to new heights. It was so much fun to drive, in fact, that the 2022 Jeep Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer will certainly make it onto our next list of the best road trip vehicles!
Lifelong automotive enthusiast with a soft spot for offroading. Wrencher turned writer, but I still love to tinker on just about anything with an engine. Dream car: tie between a ‘71 Hemi ‘Cuda and a ’91 GMC Syclone. #GirlDad #SaveTheManuals