2022 Jeep Wagoneer First Drive - Luxury Light

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey
2022 jeep wagoneer first drive luxury light

The differences between the 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer and the 2022 Jeep Wagoneer aren’t many.

The latter has a smaller-displacement V8, less power, an available 4×2 drive train, a cheaper price tag, and isn’t quite as deluxe. But it’s still upscale – just not quite as much as the SUV with Grand as part of the moniker.

That means the overall experience of driving the Wagoneer isn’t too different from the Grand Wagoneer, yet there are still some noticeable variations.

(Full disclosure: Jeep flew me to New York City, put me in two nice hotels, and fed me so that I could drive the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer. They offered a hat, which I did not take.)

For starters, the Wagoneer has a 5.7-liter V8 with a mild-hybrid setup making 392 horsepower and 404 lb-ft of torque. The engine pairs to an eight-speed automatic transmission and the Wagoneer is available in 4×2 or 4×4 setups. Four-wheel-drive Wagoneers are available with a single-speed Quadra-Trac I transfer case, a two-speed Quadra-Trac II two-speed transfer case that includes hill-descent control, or a Quadra-Drive II transfer case that includes an electronically-controlled limited-slip rear differential and hill-descent control.

The biggest on-road difference is that the Wagoneer felt slightly more spry than its more well-heeled brother. The difference isn’t huge, but it’s noticeable. The Wagoneer isn’t much lighter than the Grand, but it did feel just a tad more responsive in corners, both in Sport mode and not.

It doesn’t necessarily feel much quicker, though. It’s only a couple hundred pounds lighter and the 5.7 has less grunt than the 6.4. Like the Grand, acceleration is acceptable for the size but not barn burning.

Ride quality isn’t sacrificed, at least. The Grand Wagoneer’s air suspension is available on the Wagoneer, and my tester had it. Those who don’t opt for it get a short- and long-arm independent suspension with hybrid steel composite upper control arm and aluminum lower control arm and coil springs with monotube shocks up front and a five-link independent suspension with coil springs and monotube load-leveling shocks in the rear.

Like the Grand Wagoneer, the Wagoneer is a comfortable freeway cruiser. Also like its more luxurious sibling, it’s a bit better at cornering than one would expect, though it’s still obviously a big, boxy SUV meant to haul three rows of humans.

Its styling is similarly polarizing, though the reduction of chrome in the grille of the Wagoneer will be pleasing to some. The cabin is a bit drabber and the instrument panel here is one piece as opposed to two, but you still get the customizable gauge cluster and Jeep’s excellent Uconnect infotainment. The passenger infotainment screen is available as an option on the regular Wagoneer.

I found the rear-seat space to be a tad tighter than in the Grand Wagoneer, though the spec sheet shows that the third-row legroom is the same for both vehicles. Access remained easy.

Jeep gave us the chance to do some light off-roading/rock crawling in the Wagoneer, and while it’s far from a Wrangler, or even a Trailhawk Cherokee, it can do some minor off-pavement work without much trouble.

There are three trims available – Series I, Series II, and Series III. For now, you can only get a II or III, as the I is late availability.

Standard features on the Series II 4×4 I drove included remote start, adaptive cruise control, with Stop and Go, active lane management, blind-spot and rear cross-path detection, hill start assist, rearview camera, park assist, pedestrian emergency braking, power-adjustable pedals with memory, rain-sensing wipers, Uconnect with navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, 10.25-inch infotainment screen, Alpine audio, wireless charger, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, cooled front seats, and tri-zone climate control. That was for $70,995.

Options included a Convenience package that ran $3,995 and included a head-up display, 360-degree camera, second-row window shades, drowsy driver detection, parallel and perpendicular park assist, intersection collision assist system, traffic-sign recognition, semi-active damping, automatic high beams, heated second-row seats, and the air suspension. A towing package added a 3.92 rear-axle ratio, electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential, trailer brake control, two-speed transfer case, heavy-duty engine cooling, and electronic goodies to make hooking up a trailer easier. That ran $1,495.

The $2,995 Premium Group package closed it out with a reversible cargo mat, foldable cargo shade, adjustable roof-rail crossbars, three-pane panoramic sunroof, and 22-inch wheels. With the $2,000(!) destination fee, the total came to $81,480.

Fuel economy is listed at 16/22/18 with two-wheel drive and 15/20/17 with 4WD.

One thing I forgot to mention in the Grand Wagoneer writeup is that Jeep is including what it calls Wagoneer Client Services as standard. That includes five years of maintenance, 24/7 concierge and roadside support, vehicle pickup and delivery for service, and service loaners. The kinds of services that luxury brands have provided for a long time.

The Wagoneer isn’t super fun on-road, but it’s a bit frisky for its size, and it eats miles with ease. It also has some minor off-road ability, thanks to the Jeep branding. It’s nice enough inside, and nice enough overall to compete, though like with the Grand Wagoneer some of the interior materials feel a little downmarket.

It’s a bit more responsive on-road than the Grand without sacrificing ride quality.

Its looks will be off-putting to some, especially aft of the rear doors. That doesn’t matter from the driver’s seat while cruising the highway with ease.

Cadillac offers more style, so does Lincoln. But Jeep has an otherwise solid new entry to the upscale/luxo-barge class.

The Grand Wagoneer will be more “special”, with pricing to match. But the Wagoneer offers most of the comfort at a lower price and lighter curb weight. If this Jeep duo tickles your particular fancy, you’re probably best served by the Wagoneer, unless you simply must have all the bells and whistles.

Let those highway miles fly by.

[Images © 2021 Tim Healey/TTAC]

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2 of 18 comments
  • Wjtinfwb Wjtinfwb on Sep 01, 2021

    Ummm.... regardless of how it drives, etc. It sure doesn't look like a 70 grand plus SUV. Particularly in stark white, the badge may as well say Maytag. A M-B GLS450 or BMW X7 is about 6k more but looks like it's 20 grand more. The Yukon Denali is also a more attractive package for about 2k more base than the Jeep, and can be had with the 3.0L Turbo Diesel. I'm sure these will sell well, all SUVs do these days. But it's no game changer and breaks no new ground. So why did it take Jeep so long to enter this segment?

  • Swilliams41 Swilliams41 on Sep 03, 2021

    Why all the ugly? The last-gen GM ute's hit the style sweet spot. Kudo's to the new Navigator and Aviator too. The new GM Tahoe, Suburban, Yukon, not so much Escalade, are not as good-looking as the last-gen. The side profile gave up the taught chiseled square jaw look for the sake of change. Not better, just different. Jeep missed an opportunity to take the styling crown. At least the rest of the platform seems decent if a bit on the heavy side. So many vehicles prove you can have an enormously strong shell without all the weight.

  • Bobby D'Oppo Great sound and smooth power delivery in a heavier RWD or AWD vehicle is a nice blend, but current V8 pickup trucks deliver an unsophisticated driving experience. I think a modern full-size pickup could be very well suited to a manual transmission.In reality, old school, revvy atmo engines pair best with manual transmissions because it's so rewarding to keep them in the power band on a winding road. Modern turbo engines have flattened the torque curve and often make changing gears feel more like a chore.
  • Chuck Norton For those worried about a complex power train-What vehicle doesn't have one? I drive a twin turbo F-150 (3.5) Talk about complexity.. It seems reliability based on the number of F-150s sold is a non-issue. As with many other makes/models. I mean how many operations are handle by micro processors...in today's vehicles?
  • Ravenuer The Long Island Expressway.
  • Kwik_Shift A nice stretch of fairly remote road that would be great for test driving a car's potential, rally style, is Flinton Road off of Highway 41 in Ontario. Twists/turns/dips/rises. Just hope a deer doesn't jump out at you. Also Highway 60 through Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario. Great scenery with lots of hills.
  • Saeed Hello, I need a series of other accessories from Lincoln. Do you have front window, front and rear lights, etc. from the 1972 and 1976 models