By on August 16, 2021

 

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer

When the invite hit to drive the 2022 Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer hit my inbox, I found myself a tad surprised by the location – New York City.

Or, to be precise, the roads outside the city in the Hudson Valley and Westchester County. We’d merely be laying our heads in Manhattan, with the real action taking place in the suburbs. With brief forays into strange lands named New Jersey and Connecticut.

There’s a reason why so many first drives are held in California – good roads and good weather. It’s the same reason why drives don’t take place as often in places like New York, Chicago, or even Detroit. The roads aren’t as fun to drive and are often in bad shape, and the weather is less predictable. Events that involve the (mostly) controlled environment of a track are an exception, of course.

On the other hand, sometimes a place is picked because it fits the marketing, or the PR folks think the car will look good in the photos we snap, or the chief spinmeister just really likes a certain hotel/restaurant/golf course nearby.

That said, sometimes I wonder if the vehicle just isn’t very good when the drive-event takes place on roads that are mostly freeway or rural roads with few tricky turns.

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer

That was my fear with the Grand Wagoneer. Especially since Jeep loves to take us off-road, and Westchester County isn’t exactly Moab. But about an hour into the drive, it hit me – Jeep didn’t have us there to hide the Wagoneer’s flaws. I mean, who cares how fast it can run the Snake in Malibu, anyway? It’s a large three-row SUV, for chrissake. No, the company had us driving around moneyed old-school suburbs because the Grand Wagoneer is meant to fit right in with the Lincoln Navigators and Cadillac Escalades that well-heeled executive types are used to buying.

Which it does reasonably well enough.

(Full Disclosure: Jeep flew me to New York City, put me up in two very nice hotels, and offered meals. The company also offered a hat, which I didn’t take.)

The exterior styling is certainly polarizing – a few of the wags around here have been merciless in their criticism. I don’t find it quite as offensive to the eyes as they do, and I think it looks better up close than in photos, but I do agree that it is far from sexy. It’s not going to turn heads like the Caddy does or even provide bland handsomeness like some Lincolns (think Aviator) do. But it blends just fine, to my eye.

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer

The cabin is a better story, though some materials felt downmarket in a six-figure SUV. I liked that Jeep is offering interior color choices other than black and also dug the fact that Jeep has gone all-in on screens on this thing. In many circumstances, I’d find a screen-heavy interior to be cheesy and off-putting, but it works here, in part because the screens are easy to read and use, and in part because the available passenger-side screen is not in the driver’s eye-line.

That passenger-side screen can be used for navigation, viewing the exterior cameras, or entertainment. Including, yes, television via Fire TV. All told, up to 75 inches of total screen display area is available. Second-row passengers get a 10.25-inch center-row screen and seat-mounted screens are available.

It doesn’t hurt that the newest version of Uconnect is well done. The system continues to be among the best of the infotainment options out there, and the Uconnect 5 upgrades look sharp and work well.

Big body-on-frame SUVs tend to have big motors, and the Grand Wagoneer, which rides on what Jeep calls an all-new architecture, is no exception. Standard is a 6.4-liter V8 making 471 horsepower and 455 lb-ft of torque and pairing with an eight-speed automatic transmission. All Grand Wagoneers are four-wheel drive.

Once I got settled in and adjusted the customizable digital gauge cluster to my liking, I turned the shift knob/dial to Drive and motored north from NYC, riding in quiet comfort.

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer

Wind noise was mostly muted, and the V8 was largely silent unless I needed to dig deep to pass. The Grand Wagoneer was more well-behaved on the freeway than the Grand Cherokee L I drove earlier this year, with a lot less wander. The ride was compliant without ever dropping into the territory of soft – no float, no wallow. Broken pavement mostly didn’t upset the chassis, though some of the roughest of the rough stuff eventually filtered up to my backside.

Thank the standard Quadra-Lift air suspension for that – it uses air springs at each wheel and also has rear load-leveling. Drivers can adjust the height manually, too.

There is a Sport mode, along with the requisite off-road modes (rock, snow, sand/mud) that are part of the Quadra-Drive II 4WD system that comes standard on the Grand Wagoneer and includes a two-speed transfer case and an electronically-controlled limited-slip rear differential and hill-descent control. Sport mode livened up the handling a little, making the few curves I encountered slightly more fun to navigate, but you never forget how large this beast is, or how its mission is to haul people and cargo and not carve corners. Even if it is more capable at that last task than I expected it to be.

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer

The weight is noticeable when the V8 is employed for passing – it’s stout and up to the task, but it’s obvious it has a lot of curb weight to move around. Six-thousand four-hundred and twenty pounds of curb weight, to be exact.

It’s not a Jeep event without off-roading, and I got the chance to put the regular Wagoneer through its paces on a light off-road course that included some rock crawling. Not the Grand, though. I was told the Grand Wagoneer was, in theory, capable of tackling the course – it does have skid plates – but the retractable running boards might suffer some damage.

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer

Vehicles like this are meant to eat highway miles in comfort, and the Grand Wagoneer did that just fine. Between the comfortable yet not soft ride and the fairly quiet cabin, I felt pretty coddled on the highway. My nitpicks were few – as noted above, some materials felt a bit downmarket and some touchpoints used plastics that were a bit too hard for this price point. I occasionally fumbled the HVAC controls – toggling the switches up wasn’t intuitive at first, though I got used to it.

I had little trouble accessing the third row, and I had room once situated back there. At six-one and rocking a dad bod, that’s no small deal. The third row will work for most adults, and not just for short trips.

If you’re wondering where the exterior wood paneling is, Jeep told a colleague that the designers felt it too retro for the Grand Wagoneer, which they’re trying to paint as a modern alternative to the iron already on sale in this class.

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer

With a six-figure asking price, maybe it’s good to avoid the wood. The Grand Wagoneer starts at $86,995 and comes in four trims: Series I, Series II, Obsidian, and Series III. The loaded Series III I tested started at $103,995 and came with a head-up display, traffic-sign recognition, digital rear-view mirror, 360-degree camera, active driving-assist system, full-speed forward-collision warning plus, blind-spot and rear cross-path detection, night vision with pedestrian and animal detection, a 12.0-inch infotainment screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, navigation, satellite radio, in-car Wi-Fi, rear-seat monitoring camera, wood interior accents, rear center console, heated second-row seats, cooled rear seats, four-zone climate control, second-row captain’s chairs with power tilt and slide, reclining and split-folding third-row seat, panoramic sunroof, a power liftgate, and 22-inch wheels.

The only option was a $995 trailer tow package. On that note, a Grand Wagoneer equipped as mine was can tow 9,850 pounds.

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer

Fuel economy is a predictably dismal 13 mpg city/18 mpg highway/15 mpg combined.

With the towing package and a full two grand (!) for destination, my tester cost $106,990.

That’s a lot of money for a lot of Jeep. I haven’t driven the Escalade or Navigator recently, so I can’t say exactly how well the Grand Wagoneer stacks up, but I can say it seems like it will fit right in among the well-heeled masses occupying the higher-priced ZIP codes surrounding whichever city you care to name.

It’s been a long time since Jeep offered a large three-row SUV of this type. The Grand Wagoneers of old are classics now. This new one doesn’t seem destined to be a future collectible, but that’s probably OK with Jeep. The new Grand Wagoneer will fit in just fine in the private-school pickup line.

It’s not without flaws. The styling is going to put some folks off. All those screens might be pricey to replace should things break beyond the warranty period. The fuel economy is going to punish people’s wallets, and the hefty curb weight impacts acceleration a bit.

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer

Yet the Grand Wagoneer will happily eat miles while keeping the driver (and more than a few passengers) coddled in complete comfort.

The fashionistas will shop elsewhere. The rest of the wealthy world now has one more SUV on the shopping list – one that’s good enough to stay on said list. Maybe the Wagoneer isn’t an immediate class champion, but it’s in contention, and being in the mix out of the gate might just be good enough.

[Images © 2021 Tim Healey/TTAC]

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45 Comments on “2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer First Drive – In the Mix...”


  • avatar
    jmo

    The styling isn’t bad so much as it doesn’t convey that this vehicle starts and nearly $70k. If it was intended to compete against something like a Tahoe (starts at $49k) then I could see it.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    By far the best luxury SUV on the market. The interior is jaw dropping good (much like the 2019 Ram which continues to outclass the newest entries in the segment), the platform is exactly right, the engines are proper and exactly right. The styling doesn’t raise the bar but is very good. It’s nice not to have an SUV that is styled so it looks like it’s rear airbags are blown out (like the Aviator).

    They will not be able to build these fast enough. Demand will be through the roof. It’s nice to see a manufacturer build what people want. Jeep has a grand slam here and I bet the roof won’t need to be recalled.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      This will flop due to pricing. It’s 10 to 20k too expensive.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Nope, it won’t flop.

        • 0 avatar

          It won’t flop, but it’s not going to make the impact they think it is.

          AND

          Everyone who wants one will buy in 2021 or 2022, then sales will fall precipitously.

        • 0 avatar
          jmo

          At nearly the same price as an X7, GLS, Escalade, Navigator?

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            @jmo:

            It’ll sell for a simple reason: people want vehicles like this one. I agree with Corey that they won’t sell as many as they think they will (for starters, the thing’s ugly), but they’ll sell them. And since it’s based on a Ram chassis, it’ll print money for the company. It doesn’t have to be a Kia Telluride-type, hope-you-enjoy-the-waiting-list style hit to be a success for them.

            The only thing surprising here is that they didn’t do this as a Ram, an error in judgment which I expect will soon be rectified.

          • 0 avatar
            jmo

            They will sell some but not at the price and volume they hope for. It won’t be a blowout success like the Telluride or GV80 e.g. selling out at sticker.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            OK, but there’s a lot of real estate between “it’ll flop” and “it won’t sell as well as they think it will.” The key question is whether it’ll make money. It will – it’s basically a six-figure Ram pickup with a hatch.

          • 0 avatar
            RHD

            Highlight the Navigator picture. Right click, then click Copy.
            Click on Grand Cherokee design sheet. Right click, then click Paste.
            Highlight the roof, make it black. Click on Save.
            Good job! You are done designing the new Grand Cherokee!

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          Do beached whales flop?

          • 0 avatar
            swilliams41

            We should hope it succeeds but is not too successful. It seems okay but the average family will be hard-pressed to buy a 70k SUV and probably still need another vehicle as well. There is a serious market for the 30-40k great car or pickup with rock-solid quality and a little lux thrown in for good measure.

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        “ It’s 10 to 20k too expensive.”

        No. It’s not. The interior is so good it’s almost a steal for that price. On top of that the you have a phenomenal powertrain and suspension.

        Unsurprisingly, TTAC doesn’t convey how good this vehicle is. If it was a Ford this article would be much longer. I suggest watching Alex on Autos or TFL for a more thorough review of this and the GCL

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      “By far the best luxury SUV on the market”

      Was that part of the weekly Stelantis sales briefing and pep talk?

      • 0 avatar
        TheBird

        But the interior is so good it’s almost a steal!

        Just disregard this reviewer saying a number of bits felt downmarket for a six-figure car. Good thing that can be dismissed by discrediting said reviewer then again another review on this site called the Wagoneer “luxury light” so EBFlex (or F as he goes by on Autoblog) is probably just tired from his one-man, online fight against Ford.

    • 0 avatar
      Loser

      So EB, to make a statement like this must mean you have either driven one or just pulling this from your rectum. My bet is on the latter.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    One word comes to mind: yecch.

    But it’ll sell.

  • avatar
    Johnster

    I wonder if they are considering face-lifted and rebadged versions to be sold as Dodge, Chrysler and Imperial?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      If Stellantis tries to make this into an Imperial, God should go full O.G. Old Testament Mode on the plant and remove it from existence, Sodom and Gomorrah style.

      • 0 avatar
        Johnster

        Considering that GM has rebadged the Tahoe and Suburban as the Cadillac Escalade, and that Ford has rebadged the Expedition as the Lincoln Navigator, to great sales success, I don’t see why Stellantis shouldn’t follow suit with their full-sized SUVs.

  • avatar
    seanx37

    That’s a lot of money for Hemi tick.

    I like the styling. Of course, I live a mile away from where it’s built. I see them all the time

  • avatar

    I’ve got many thoughts about the GW:

    -They waited far too long to resurrect it, but it makes sense as ChryCo has been off their full-size SUV game since 1994 and continues to be so.

    -At $70k MAX this thing makes much more sense with its styling and image than a $70k entry price. At $103,000 it cost the same as a Range Rover Westminster Edition, which has a much better image among the moneyed, and an even better image among people who can’t afford one. If I have to put up with a fragile air suspension and breakable running boards, why not just get the RR? Nobody under 35 knows what the Grand Wagoneer name means. It was extinct before they were born.

    -It does not look good. There’s too much bulk in the metal, and they tried to go too literal with the “modern interpretation of classic GW” thing. There’s too much chrome and it’s too thick, and the back end especially is an absolute mess. The front isn’t distinguished enough to say anything but “this is a Jeep.” Hard to tell whether it’s a GC, GC-L, or regular Wagoneer. And there’s a $30,000+ price difference in a Grand Cherokee and a regular Wagoneer.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      The success of the Escalade tells me one thing: people don’t care that they’re spending almost six figures on an unbelievably ugly vehicle.

      • 0 avatar

        Escalade has made a name for itself over decades appearing in popular culture. It is ugly, but it’s distinct and people want it.

        This is ugly and -not- distinct, and doesn’t have a name like Escalade.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          I think it does stand out – maybe not in the way they were shooting for, but it’s distinctive nonetheless.

          We’ll see whether there’s any brand loyalty in this segment, I guess. My guess is that for the folks buying these, brand loyalty is about as important as exercising restrained good taste.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          I agree that the Escalade has a name. They tend to appeal to the “in your face nouveau riche”.

          I’m not sure who will want this. It doesn’t stand out nor does it have brand prestige.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        They will spend six figures on a vehicle that looks like it costs six figures. They won’t spend six figures on a vehicle that looks like a poor man’s Kia Telluride.

      • 0 avatar
        seanx37

        Dope boys have never been accused of having good taste

    • 0 avatar
      NJRide

      Dodge should have brought back a Ramcharger long ago versus always half-asssing it with Durangoes (which btw is another car that should have been redesigned like 5 yrs ago)

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      @Corey: Agreed. I even see public school bus tops that look like a range rover rally meeting point. Although, I think GLS’ are starting to take over.

      BTW the private schools near me have tuition that averages in the $30’s for elementary, $40’s for middle school, and High School is $48k for day students and $62k for boarding. So $192k to $272k per kid for high school and $235,130 for pre-k through grade 9. That’s the kind of money in private school pickup lines.

      • 0 avatar
        redapple

        Corey
        From the pictures, it looks like the windows are too small.
        Roof too low?
        Belt line too high.?

        Designers. Redapple Rule #1for a luxury SUV.
        The rear wiper ALWAYS MUST be articulated from above the backlite. That way it is hidden from view when not in use.
        MUCH cleaner look.
        Not where it is on this car.

        Jeez.

  • avatar
    NJRide

    Would like to see a wood trim option. Still good to see two cool ’70s/80s SUVs back in modern form (other being Bronco)

  • avatar
    jack4x

    People acting surprised that a Jeep branded product can command a $100K sticker are not paying attention to how many upscale moms have driven loaded Grand Cherokees for years now.

    Jeep has one of the strongest brand names in the business, and this is going to do just fine vs. the X7, GLS, Escalade, etc, especially in places that are well saturated with CDJR dealers but may not have a BMW, Land Rover, or Benz store for many miles.

    I personally think it’s ugly from every angle except the front, but they won’t be able to keep them on the lots.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      “especially in places that are well saturated with CDJR dealers but may not have a BMW or Benz store for many miles.”

      Those aren’t places with a lot of people making the kinds of income that supports the purchase of a 100k SUV. That’s why there are no BMW/Benz stores. They build them where the money is.

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        Judging from the number of $80K lux trucks, Escalades, Corvettes, etc. I see on the roads around me (45+ minutes from any European branded dealer), I will dispute that statement.

        In the Midwest at least, you won’t find luxury car dealers outside major cities’ metros, but you will find people with money much more widely spread than that.

    • 0 avatar

      Even in places with multiple luxury car dealers like here in CT,The number of 60K jeeps running around is astounding. Also the number parked in front of 7 figure houses is also huge. I think the pricing is a bit steep but I’m not the target market.

  • avatar
    ajla

    The normal Wagoneer seems like a better option. Less money, same tow rating, very similar look. It’s slower but early reviews make it seem like it doesn’t feel like a huge gap on the road.

  • avatar
    Goatshadow

    Handsome and stately, if a little Canyonero-proportioned. I think it looks great, not ugly.

    The price had better come with some concierge-like dealership experience and not your average Autonation-style jerking around and indifference.

    • 0 avatar
      Tim Healey

      There is a concierge service and I goofed and forgot to mention it in this post. I did mention it in the second Wagoneer review, as the service is standard with both vehicles.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Looks like it was designed by an intern designer without supervision.

  • avatar
    kcflyer

    This vehicle at this price makes me wonder if Ford might consider bringing back the Excursion. With the diesel it would get better fuel mileage than this with double the torque. The old one’s with the good motor (7.3) still sell for serious money with over 200000 miles. So why not bring it back and start the pricing at 100K. If Jeep can sell this for 100K (and I’m guessing they will do that easily) than something much more capable in power and towing should be a no brainer.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    I don’t care for the looks, but I don’t think the Caddy is better.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I am largely indifferent to all types of SUVs and crossovers. But I feel like I need to specifically give the design team kudos for delivering a vehicle with an upright rear profile instead of a faux-coupe fastback thing that needlessly takes away from cargo space.

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