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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2 of 28 comments
  • MMaier - Audi S4 MMaier - Audi S4 on Sep 22, 2022

    I think the styling problem is that is looks like a SUV trying to morph to a minivan and it got stuck midway (or vice-versa).

    SUV's and off road vehicles normally have the bottom edge of the body above the wheel hubs - this appears to have that line at the hubs, and the plastic cladding below it makes it worse.

  • Allamericanred Allamericanred on Sep 25, 2022

    Interesting that as a car design nut that hates most American Suv designs that I think it is a pretty good design that stands apart but is not odd. The color really impacts how it looks to me. Some just do not work

  • Theflyersfan @Matthew Guy: You might have jumped the gun on this one a little bit. Chevy's website doesn't have a build/config page up yet, nor does KBB or Edmunds. All we have to go on is what Chevy has leaked out to us without seeing the finished product. And I don't see prices on options and each model just yet, just somewhat "around this amount." But all that being said, if I was in the market for a pickup, and saying that I close on a new home later this week (locked in rates before interest rates really went crazy), the MX-5 might need a stablemate. And the "regular" trucks that everyone thinks of have just gotten too large, too over-styled (except for the Ram), and way too expensive. So this size truck seems to hit the sweet spot of people, cargo, and ease of driving/parking needs. So, I'd probably go mid-range with something like the Z71 trim level. I'm guessing it'll be in the mid-30's with enough tech to keep everything connected, reasonable enough fuel economy, and comfort for a road trip. There are some great offroad trails all around Kentucky, and that would have me interested in something like a ZR2, but without knowing exact cost, not sure about that one.But in this class, the Tacoma and Ranger are up there in years and Nissan, while putting in a different engine and transmission, pretty much tidied up the same old bones and is selling it as all new...(Z car...cough...cough). I'd still have to try the Frontier vs. Colorado to make up my mind.
  • Bkojote I go off-roading quite a bit (nothing extreme, just some fun scenic trails) and everyone in our group with a Colorado has basically given up or switched to a Toyota/Jeep after dealing with constant issues and $$$ in repairs.The best trim for the Colorado is something on-road biased. These trucks are good for towing toys or some light duty stuff but a burly off road trim on this is silly as the 4WD system can't handle it. While I believe they fixed the major design flaws of the prior generation (an easily-damaged oil pan and poorly positioned shocks that hang precariously low), the clutch-based 4WD system is notorious for failing on moderate trails- look no further than the recent C&D "Trail Boss" review.
  • Arthur Dailey The absolute best series on TTAC and so few responses? I am going to assume that the readership (B&B) is either too young or did not have enough 'coin' to have enjoyed these vehicles during their heyday.
  • Arthur Dailey From circa 1985 to 1998 I was partially responsible for a 'fleet' (up to just over two dozen at any one time) of 15 passenger and 12 passenger vans as well as some converted/ex smaller school buses. All 3 domestic manufacturers were represented. We purchased one Dodge 15 passenger van that came from the factory propane powered. Later converted a number of other vans, predominantly GM's made at the Scarboro van plant to propane. The propane conversion did reduce the passenger capacity. In our experience the Fords were indeed the most robust.
  • Kcflyer I suppose it could be that more folks are broke or just getting by.