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2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer: Our First Drive Doesn't Disappoint

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer: Our First Drive Doesn't Disappoint

  • All-new large three-row SUV
  • Standard V8 power
  • Luxurious interior loaded with in-car tech
  • 2022 model kicks off the second Grand Wagoneer generation

What is the Jeep Grand Wagoneer?

What's old is new again. Just as Chevrolet and Ford have done with their Blazer and Bronco SUVs, Jeep is resurrecting an old nameplate for the new millennium. This time it's the Grand Wagoneer, a four-wheel-drive wagon-like SUV last seen for the 1991 model year. Doesn't ring a bell? The most distinctive styling element was its wood side paneling, if that helps.

But wait, there's more! Jeep is coming out with two Wagoneer versions for 2022. There's the standard Wagoneer and the Grand Wagoneer. Both are large three-row SUVs. Jeep elevates the Grand Wagoneer to a ritzier status with distinct styling elements, an upgraded interior, a more powerful engine and more high-end features.

The Grand Wagoneer is Jeep's new flagship SUV. The standard Wagoneer will compete with vehicles like the Chevy Tahoe and the Ford Expedition, while the Grand Wagoneer is more closely aligned to vehicles like the Cadillac Escalade and the Lincoln Navigator.

How does the Grand Wagoneer drive?

The 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer gets a 6.4-liter V8 that produces 471 horsepower and 455 lb-ft of torque. This is an upgrade over the Wagoneer, which gets a 392-hp 5.7-liter V8. Jeep has hinted that other powertrains could be available in the future. We'd guess that a diesel, a hybrid or even future electrified versions could be coming. Who knows, maybe we'll even get a Hellcat engine stuffed under that hood somehow. Properly equipped, the Grand Wagoneer can tow a class-leading 9,850 pounds, which is sufficient for a good-sized utility or recreational trailer.

In keeping with its premium status, the Grand Wagoneer also comes with standard adjustable air suspension that can automatically raise or lower the vehicle's ride height depending on the driving situation. Instead of a locking differential or disconnecting sway bars, the Grand Wagoneer uses a version of Jeep's Selec-Terrain system that's just a step below the standard Wagoneer's. Ride comfort takes priority but there's still a respectable amount of off-road ability.

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer

The big Grand Wagoneer Series III model we drove has a curb weight in excess of 6,400 pounds, tempering our performance expectations. Jeep estimates it will accelerate to 60 mph in 6 seconds. That's respectably quick for a large SUV, and Jeep's estimate seems realistic based on our own driving impressions. The Grand Wagoneer leaves the line with authority, accompanied by pleasing engine and exhaust noises. Even on short highway on-ramps, we never felt the need to floor the pedal thanks to the quick response and plentiful power.

The brake pedal is appropriately soft for a large luxury SUV, and it's easy to control to come to a very smooth stop. Handling is better than we expected from a large body-on-frame SUV, though we're constantly reminded of the vehicle's massive footprint on tighter roads. Body roll is well managed, and maneuverability is surprisingly good — the Grand Wagoneer is able to turn around on a narrow street with an easy three-point turn.

Even though the Grand Wagoneer doesn't earn Jeep's Trail Rated status, it still has strong off-road abilities for the class. You won't want to navigate the Rubicon Trail but you should be able to easily get past some moderate terrain and obstacles. The standard Quadra-Drive II off-road system paired with available all-terrain tires allows the Grand Wagoneer to conquer large loose rocks and steep angles with very little effort from the driver.

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer

How's the Grand Wagoneer's interior?

The new Grand Wagoneer has a long, wide dashboard enhanced with premium materials including wood and aluminum. There is eye-catching detail to just about everything, including the air vents and metal rotary shifter. The leather seats have diamond-pattern stitching and perforation. The deluxe elements extend also to the doors, dashboard, and all buttons and controls.

Two available seating configurations — a choice of captain's chairs or a bench in the second row — mean that the Grand Wagoneer can hold seven or eight passengers. Four-zone automatic climate control is standard, and the front seats can be had with 24-way adjustability, massage functions, and heating and ventilation. Jeep is aiming this Grand Wagoneer at discerning buyers who expect top-notch equipment at every turn.

Second-row space is generous, and the captain's chairs offer plenty of slide and recline so passengers can catch up on some sleep on road trips. A large center console includes a touchscreen for climate control, a shallow tray with USB ports for phones, and a very large bin underneath. Unfortunately, that console is not removable and it also protrudes above the seats when folded, which will complicate the loading of large bulky cargo. The third row of seats can easily accommodate adult passengers with reasonable levels of comfort. Unlike many third-row seats, those in the Grand Wagoneer provide adequate thigh support and headroom.

Behind the third-row seats is 24.7 cubic feet of cargo space. That's similar to what you get from the Cadillac Escalade (25.5 cubic feet) and Lincoln Navigator (19.3 cubic feet). At its maximum, with the second-row bench and third row folded, you have up to 116.7 cubic feet. Again, that's right on par with the Escalade's 109.1 cubic feet and the Navigator's 103.3 cubes.

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer

How's the Grand Wagoneer's tech?

In the front row of seating alone, there's the potential for 44 inches of total screen space. There's a 12-inch digital cluster display, a 12-inch center touchscreen, a 10-inch lower touchscreen to control the seats and climate control, and a 10.25-inch front passenger screen that can be used for entertainment. The passenger can even search for directions and send them to the driver. An optional McIntosh stereo offers 23 speakers and 1,375 watts of power. Jeep has said that hands-free active driving assist will be available later in the model year as well.

The infotainment system runs on Jeep's latest Uconnect 5 software. This new Android-powered Uconnect 5 system will operate more like a mobile device. It can process information five times quicker than previous iterations, allows for over-the-air updates of firmware and maps, has Amazon Alexa integration and enables two wireless phone connections simultaneously. (Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are supported.) In back, there's an available dual-entertainment display and a central touchscreen for the seats and climate controls. Both the front passenger and rear entertainment screens have multiple input options and apps, including Amazon Fire TV, which allows users to pick up where they left off on shows they were watching at home.

How economical is the Grand Wagoneer?

The EPA estimates the Grand Wagoneer with four-wheel drive will get 15 mpg combined (13 city/18 highway). This is less than the Escalade with its V8 engine (16 mpg combined) and Navigator (17 mpg combined). One or 2 mpg might not seem like much, but it does add up over time. We'll know for sure how the Grand Wagoneer performs once we get one in for testing and measure its fuel economy on our standardized real-world evaluation route.

Edmunds says

The 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer has distinctive styling, a gorgeous interior and the promise of paramount capability. At the very least this new three-row SUV is evocative and has quite a bit of potential. We give Jeep credit for thinking creatively and adding some enticing next-generation features. Check back in the coming months for new updates and our full testing evaluation.