For a brand that’s notorious for its SUVs, there have been at least a few holes in the Jeep lineup for some time now.
The most gaping of them all was the lack of a three-row offering, with the long since discontinued Commander doing away with seating for seven way back in 2010. More than a decade later, the brand finally got around to addressing the issue with the midsize Grand Cherokee L, as well the larger Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer.
Whereas the sans-Grand version is akin to the Chevrolet Tahoe and Ford Expedition, the 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer has its sights squarely aimed at the luxurious likes of the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator. Expensive though it may be, with pricing that starts in the six figures, this behemoth has everything an entry in this segment needs to impress.
The cheapest version of the Grand Wagoneer starts just shy of $105,000 before tax, while the Series II comes in at nearly $111,000 (both include a non-negotiable freight charge of $2,695). There’s also a blacked-out Obsidian trim that starts at nearly $118,000, and then there’s this range-topping Series III and its asking price of nearly $125,000.
Of course, options can send that number even higher, with the one shown here ringing in with a pre-tax price of $131,370. That’s with extras like the rear-seat entertainment system, upgraded wheels, and tow package. By comparison, the Cadillac Escalade ranges from about $93,000 to $126,000 before any add-ons, while the Lincoln Navigator is offered in a single trim for a starting price of almost $105,000, but it stays below $120,000 even with every option box checked.
There’s an even longer version of the Grand Wagoneer on its way that adds 305 mm (12 in) of overall length to this already enormous SUV. Sticking with the standard version means there’s still tons of room inside for people and stuff – yes, even at the same time.
With the third-row upright, there’s 776 L of cargo room to work with, or enough to stash a set of tires for this author’s 1995 Mazda Miata behind the tailgate. Sure, they’re tiny 14s, but that’s still a lot of stuff to fit in the furthest reaches of any cabin. Better still, those seats are surprisingly roomy, as are the standard second-row captain’s chairs.
Should the rearmost seats not be required, this big-bodied SUV provides 2,008 L of space behind the tailgate, which is only a little less than the Escalade offers. The Grand Wagoneer also has a whopping 4,472-kg (9,850-lb) maximum towing capacity, which is more than any of its competitors.
User Friendliness: 10/10
With standard air suspension that automatically lowers to an access height and power-deployable running boards, the Grand Wagoneer rolls out the proverbial red carpet for would-be occupants. The door openings themselves are generous, too, making the task of entering or exiting as easy as it can be in a truck-based sport utility.
Beyond the exceptional space provided, the view from the driver’s seat is about as good as it gets, with few natural blind-spots to contend with. And while the control layout isn’t exactly conventional, it’s intuitive enough that it isn’t hard to get the hang of it in short order. A bank of buttons and rockers for cabin climate controls separates the dual touchscreens (12-inch upper; 10.25-inch lower) that handle infotainment and comfort settings like the front seats and, yes, climate.
The upper screen is flanked by volume and tune knobs, plus fixed touch sensors for seat and steering wheel temperature adjustment, among others, while the infotainment interface is the latest from the former Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and is as easy to use as ever. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connections are also included, with the ability to pair multiple phones at once and simply toggle between them – handy for family road trips when alternating drivers might want to call up their phones when it’s their turn behind the wheel.
Jeep and its compatriot brands aren’t known for including advanced safety equipment in their offerings, opting instead to stash desirable stuff like lane-keeping and adaptive cruise control in pricey packages. That’s not the case with the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer, however, with their entire lineups fitted with everything from forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking to blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and, yes, adaptive cruise and lane-keep assist.
There’s other good stuff, too, like rain-sensing wipers and automatic high-beam control, as well as parking sensors front and rear, while the Grand Wagoneer gets extras like a self-parking system that works in both parallel and perpendicular spots, traffic sign recognition, surround-view cameras, and a head-up display. The range-topping Series III trim, meanwhile, adds extras like a junction turn assist system that can warn of oncoming traffic when turning left, night vision, and hands-free highway driving – although the latter was not yet available at the time of this writing.
The various functions proved effective during testing, with the adaptive cruise and lane-keeping working well together on the highway to provide gentle steering inputs, while the various warning systems (forward collision, blind-spot, etc.) offered subtle audible and visual alerts rather than all-out panic. The only issue was the same one experienced recently in the Ram 1500: the head-up display can’t be lowered enough for tall users like this author, leaving the entire top half of it cut off completely while sitting upright.
Beyond advanced safety equipment, there really isn’t much missing from the Grand Wagoneer’s list of standard and available stuff – and graciously, most of it falls under the former. A panoramic sunroof plus a separate fixed one above the third-row seats; heated and ventilated front seats with 24-way adjustability and massage settings; a heated steering wheel; heated second-row captain’s chairs; a 19-speaker stereo; and the list goes on.
Little is left to the options list at the top of the lineup, with this Series III tester featuring a 23-speaker stereo, ventilated rear seats, and a separate screen on the dash for the front passenger, where entertainment and audio can be controlled, as well as navigation and even the vehicle’s various exterior and interior cameras. Unfortunately, the iOS and Android phone-mirroring systems can’t be called up on the supplementary display.
There’s also a built-in subscription-based Wi-Fi hotspot and Amazon Alexa assistant, while the optional rear-seat entertainment system that includes a pair of touchscreens can be used with streaming services like Netflix, among others, as long as there’s an internet connection.
Open the door, and there’s an unmistakable living room vibe to this luxurious seven-seater. Yes, all the screens in this tester help, but it’s more functional than formal – a warm and inviting space that’s lounge-like in execution. It’s perhaps not quite as nice as it could be up close, with the wood trim that comes in the Series III not feeling especially convincing as the genuine article (it is, in fact, real wood). Where the open-pore stuff offered by brands like BMW and Mercedes-Benz manage to present as slightly more premium, this is a short step below.
Looking at it from the outside, there are some – ummm – proportional challenges here that make this Jeep look a little awkward. For instance, the window-to-door ratio seems a little off, with a high beltline resulting in all kinds of bland sheet metal below. It looks a bit like the design team planned to include wood panelling like the original Grand Wagoneer’s, but then executives got cold feet, leaving it with more flat surfaces than a countertop warehouse.
The massaging front seats aren’t the only reason this monster is so comfortable, although they certainly don’t hurt. Other standard items like active noise cancelling make it reasonably quiet inside, although the massive door mirrors generate a bit of wind noise, while the combination of the adaptive dampers and air suspension make it incredibly smooth and composed.
Driving Feel: 9/10
Road comfort and drivability rocket the Grand Wagoneer straight to the top of the segment, with its size and weight well disguised. All that’s good and sacred about the Ram 1500 carries over here, but the setup was further blessed at the altar of the automotive gods, with results that are that much more impressive.
While a smooth and supple ride isn’t uncommon in vehicles this big – or expensive – it’s the controllability that stands out most. Body roll is hilariously well managed, with barely a hint that this SUV tips the scales at upwards of 2,912 kg (6,420 lb) in the case of the Series III. Pitching in on that near perfection is the steering rack that’s as direct as its Ram sibling’s while feeling nicely tailored to the Grand Wagoneer’s weight. Its progressive nature means the steering is light at low speeds for easier manoeuvrability, with resistance added as the needle climbs.
Fuel Economy: 5/10
The drivetrain presents something of a conundrum, with the standard full-time four-wheel drive and 6.4L V8 under the hood feeling right in a vehicle like this one. But then the combination is horribly inefficient, with the Grand Wagoneer officially ranking as the second-worst non-performance SUV listed in the Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) 2022 Fuel Consumption Guide.
At a combined rating of 16.0 L/100 km, and with a recommended diet of expensive 91-octane gas, the 100-L fuel tank is a necessary evil that isn’t for the faint of heart. And while the 13.0 L/100 km averaged during a highway-heavy 200-km initial evaluation drive was better than expected, it didn’t take long to climb past the official number. The final tally for the week came in at 17.4 L/100 km across a total of about 475 km of mixed driving.
Looking past the expensive premium-grade gas it runs on, this powertrain is just peachy. Smooth shifts from the eight-speed automatic transmission play off the engine’s progressive torque delivery to make this more than a muscle-bound brute. If the Dodge Challenger powered by this same engine hits like Mike Tyson, the Grand Wagoneer hits like Mike Tyson in a tuxedo. Yeah, it’s held back a bit by its opulence, but there’s no denying that all the force is there.
It officially dispatches with 471 hp and 455 lb-ft of torque – a little more than the Escalade’s 6.2L V8, while the Navigator’s 3.5L twin-turbocharged V6 makes more torque. Even so, situations where this Jeep will be outmuscled are few and far between.
Rather than feeling like a luxury vehicle first and a family-friendly one second – or vice versa, for that matter – the 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer strikes a welcome balance between both. Sure, the cabin looks and feels spectacularly opulent, particularly with all the Series III trim has to offer; but it’s also a disarmingly comfortable space that the whole family can kick back in on the way to the cottage.
It took a long time for Jeep to get here, but as far as halo products go, the Grand Wagoneer has all the class and character it needs to compete in this segment. Sure, the Grand Cherokee has practically been a premium product since it came out, but this Grand Wagoneer is unquestionably as luxurious as its rivals, both in features and in feel.
Spending six figures on a Jeep used to be reserved for those with aspirations for adventure. Decking out a Wrangler with long-arm suspension, meaty tires, and reinforced skid plates could push the price to somewhere north of that intimidating number. Now, spending upwards of $100,000 on something sporting the Jeep name takes on a whole new meaning, with the 2022 Grand Wagoneer feeling like the Cadillac of the lineup – and that’s because it is.
|Peak Horsepower||471 hp @ 6,000 rpm|
|Peak Torque||455 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm|
|Fuel Economy||18.6 / 12.8 / 16.0 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb|
|Cargo Space||776 / 2,008 / 2,667 L behind 3rd/2nd/1st|
|Model Tested||2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Series III|
|Price as Tested||$131,470|
$6,680 – Rear-Seat Entertainment System, $2,695; 22-inch Painted Aluminum Wheels, $1,995; Heavy-Duty Trailer Tow Package, $1,295; Velvet Red Pearl Paint, $695