2022 Jeep Wagoneer Review – Rolling Confusion

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey
Fast Facts

2022 Jeep Wagoneer Series II 4x4 Fast Facts

5.7-liter V8 with belt-starter/generator (392 horsepower @ 5,600 RPM, 404 lb-ft @ 3,950 RPM)
Transmission/Drive Wheels
Eight-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel drive
Fuel Economy, U.S.
15 city / 20 highway / 17 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)
Fuel Economy, Canada
15.6 city / 11.7 highway / 13.8 combined. (NRCan Rating, L/100km)
Base Price
$71,845 (U.S.) / $81,495 (Canada)
As-Tested Price
$82,820 (U.S.) / $94,470 (Canada)
Prices include $2,000 destination charge in the United States and $1,995 to $2,695 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.
2022 jeep wagoneer review rolling confusion

The consensus, at least among us shrimp-sucking keyboard warriors who get paid to review cars, is that the Jeep Wagoneer is a bit of a flop, mostly due to an oddly-proportioned exterior design.

Sure, the overfed journo writes between bites of shellfish, the Wagoneer has a nice interior, an excellent stereo, and an unobjectionable, if unremarkable powertrain. But its looks frighten small dogs.

I’ve gone a bit easier on the Wagoneer and its Grand Wagoneer sibling so far, in part because, while I don’t think this vehicle is a looker, I don’t find it to be quite as ugly, at least not in terms of overall package, as others do. It’s not until I drill down into some details – and think about the various bits of wisdom I’ve heard from talking to actual car designers over the years, that I start to realize that Jeep missed the mark with styling. A relative rarity from a Stellantis brand, at least lately.

While not all Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep/Ram/Alfa products have been attractive over the past decade or so – may I remind you of the Journey? – I’ve also found myself saying, when it comes to certain vehicles under the former FCA/now Stellantis umbrella “well, at least it LOOKS good.”

I may not think the Wagoneer is ugly enough to banish from my neighborhood, but I won’t say it looks good, either.

This is a bummer, since the interior truly is nice, the audio does indeed rock, and the Jeep’s powertrain is nice and smooth, as to be expected at this price point.

The Wagoneer looks just fine to me from the front. The standard seven-slot grille is familiar and attractive. The hood seems proportioned just right. You start to think the Wagoneer might just be styled as a Grand Cherokee, but longer, and that gives you hope.

Then you make your way aft.

It’s the oddly proportioned – there’s that word again – rear overhang that ruins the look. Or, at least, it does for me. I had a recent conversation with two colleagues about the looks of the full-size, three-row American luxury SUVs and one pointed out that Chevy’s Suburban looks better to his eye due to swoopy styling bits that give the illusion of motion. Fair enough, and while I quibble with many of Chevy’s recent design choices, the Suburban isn’t unattractive.

What irks me about this Jeep land barge is the proportions (I may have to start fining myself $5 per use of the “p” word if I don’t find a thesaurus soon). I can handle slab-sided styling. Boxy may be bland but that doesn’t necessarily make it bad.

But then again – that rear overhang. Woof.

You don’t have to see any of this from the inside, however. And the cabin is pretty nice. Some of the materials disappoint for the price, but the styling looks good, and form mostly follows function – controls are generally easy to use. It’s not perfect – the infotainment screen isn’t well integrated and the two-spoke steering wheel looks a little too old-school – but I generally liked it. Even the rotary-dial shifter is pretty easy to use once you get used to it.

These luxo-barge SUVs are about more than style, of course. Buyers in this class are seeking a silky-smooth V8 with torque and a buttery velvet ride. The Wagoneer generally delivers on the latter – despite Jeep’s propensity for off-road tuning. The Wagoneer is as smooth-riding as anything else in this class.

The Wagoneer comes standard with a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 that has a mild-hybrid setup. The belt/generator has 12 kW of power and 130 lb-ft of launch torque. Total system power is 392 horsepower and 404 lb-ft of torque, and the transmission that gets the power to the wheels is an eight-speed automatic.

Wagoneer ain’t light, and the acceleration reflects that. The Hemi is smooth, sure, and it pulls fairly well, but you won’t be dusting too many folks at the stoplight drag races. You can, with a heavy-enough foot, get enough power for passing and merging, though. Towing capacity is 10,000 pounds.

Handling – well, it exists. And it’s about as good as something this large can be. Which is to say, not great but at least acceptable for suburbia. It’s on par with the last Suburban I drove.

Size and luxury aren’t cheap – this Wagoneer is based at $71,845. Diamond Black Crystal Pearl Coat paint added $595, and a Convenience Package (second-row manual window shades, head-up display, 360-degree camera, drowsy-driver detection, parallel and perpendicular park assist with stop, intersection collision-assist system, traffic-sign recognition, automatic high beams, and heated second-row seats) added $3,295.

The Heavy Duty Trailer-Tow package (trailer-brake control, trailer hitch line-up assist, trailer-hitch zoom, heavy-duty engine cooling) added another $795. Finally, a $2,295 Advanced All-Terrain Group added 18-inch wheels, all-terrain tires, two-speed transfer case, 3.92 rear-axle ratio, chrome tow hooks, electronic rear limited-slip differential, front-axle skidplate, gas tank skidplate, air suspension, removable rear tow hook, Selec-Speed control (allows the driver to control speed on hill descents via the steering wheel), and a skidplate for the transfer case.

Add in another two grand for destination and you have an $82,820 update on the ‘ole Family Truckster.

This is purely anecdotal, but it seems most of the Wagoneer hate I’ve heard centers around the exterior. That makes sense – the cabin is fine and the driving experience is about what you’d expect from such a beast.

All of this leaves me confused as a car reviewer. My job is to be honest – even if it means being harsh – and to give my opinions, regardless of whether they match the consensus or not. Furthermore, I try to be nuanced and not give in to simplistic takes such as “it sucks!” or “it’s great!” I’m paid to be more thoughtful than that.

And the Wagoneer’s existence taxes me a bit. Style-wise, it’s a swing and a miss. I have eyes, and while styling is subjective, I agree with the overall consensus view, although I am a bit less hard on the rig than most. But the cabin is generally good and the Wagoneer isn’t so offensive from behind the wheel.

It’s easy to hate a vehicle. And there are some vehicles on the market that deserve all the haterade they get. The Wagoneer is a more nuanced case. Jeep’s design team needs to get to work on a styling refresh, stat. But the rest of the package is pretty good.

Problem is, “pretty good” might not be good enough to overcome its styling deficiencies. Or to help Jeep compete with stalwarts like the Suburban.

Jeep hasn’t missed often recently. But they have fallen a bit short here.

What’s New for 2022

The 2022 Jeep Wagoneer is a new three-row large SUV from Jeep.

Who Should Buy It

Jeep fans seeking a large SUV, those who like the ugly duckling.

[Images © 2022 Tim Healey/TTAC, Jeep]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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3 of 31 comments
  • Joseph Leonard Joseph Leonard on Oct 20, 2022

    It kind of funny how some can review the looks of the wagoneer or any vehicle. I feel it is up to the person forking out the cash. I personally love the looks of it.

    I personally think the new escalade is ugly huge box with ugly front end. The interior can not compare to the wagoneer or grand wagoneer.

    Once again I truly feel most reviews are a personal opinion.

    • Tassos Tassos on Dec 10, 2022

      OF COURSE not most but EVERY REVIEW is and SHOULD be the personal opinion of the reviewer. Otherwise, we would just go to any website and just study the DAMNED SPECS AND PERFORMANCE of the vehicle. Just out of curiosity, do YOU own ANY Crysler-DOdge-Ram-(insert lame division) POS? (I sure as hell don't) Then your comment is even more biased than the review.

  • Tassos Tassos on Dec 10, 2022

    The boring exterior is unacceptable at this price level. Not that the Escalade and Navigator are much better. It is insane to pay S Class money for these vastly inferior vehicles.

  • ToolGuy "Mr. President, no government agency, no think tank, and no polling firm knows more about the automobile customer than us. We talk to customers every day. As retail automotive dealerships, we are agnostic as to what we sell. Our business is to provide customers with vehicles that meet the needs of their budgets and lifestyles.”• How many lies can you fit into one paragraph?
  • Spamvw Three on the tree, even Generation X would have a hard time stealing one of those.
  • ToolGuy This trend of cyan wheels needs to end NOW.
  • Kwik_Shift Interesting nugget(s) of EV follies. https://x.com/WallStreetApes/status/1729212326237327708?s=20
  • SaulTigh I've said it before and I'll say it again...if you really cared about the environment you'd be encouraging everyone to drive a standard hybrid. Mature and reliable technology that uses less resources yet can still be conveniently driven cross country and use existing infrastructure.These young people have no concept of how far we've come. Cars were dirty, stinking things when I was a kid. They've never been cleaner. You hardly ever see a car smoking out the tail pipe or smell it running rich these days, even the most clapped out 20 year old POS. Hybrids are even cleaner.