For the Jeep® brand, the Wagoneer nameplate is a piece of Americana that has a special place in tens of thousands of Americans’ hearts. Whether it be a former owner, a family member of someone who owned one, or remembering one being in your favorite movie, the Wagoneer (Grand Wagoneer from 1984 to 1991) symbolized the ultimate vehicle for the upper-middle-class family who enjoyed the weekend’s outdoor adventures. Although it has been out of production for 30-years, the Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer (SJ) is still gaining fans thanks to restorers and resto-mod builds.
After former Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) CEO, the late Sergio Marchionne revealed that the Jeep brand would be bringing back the iconic Grand Wagoneer nameplate just over a decade ago, an all-new Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer is here. The newest vision of the Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer is more of a modern expression of the Wagoneer philosophy, while the Grand Cherokee (WL) is the more direct descendant of the original Wagoneer in size and capability.
While some Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer traditionalists will struggle to find that connection between the beloved SJ models of the past, the new Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer (WS) models are focused on the premium full-size segment (think Lincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade) than weekend outdoor family adventure vehicle.
That isn’t saying that it’s not capable of doing so, especially with packages like the All-Terrain Package on Wagoneer Series II and III models. But how many people are going to take a full-size premium luxury SUV that can hit north of $100,000 on Colorado’s Alpine Loop?
It is easier to think of the all-new Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer as its own unique thing. So starting with that aspect, let’s dig into the all-new 2022 Jeep Wagoneer first.
The 2021 Jeep Wagoneer is the more tamed “mainstream” offering of the pair. With a starting U.S. Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $57,995, the Wagoneer will compete against other full-size offerings like the Ford Expedition, Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon, and Toyota Sequoia. The Wagoneer does have a premium cost over its arrivals since you are buying into the Jeep lifestyle. But Jeep does reward its Wagoneer customers with standard leather seating, class-leading third-row space, and that beloved Jeep off-road capability that the original Wagoneer was known for.
Now while the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer have a lot in common, there is a lot of differences as well. While both vehicles may look to share a majority of sheet metal, the Wagoneer receives its own unique front-end styling treatment. The Wagoneer’s take on the signature Jeep seven-slot grille is more traditional than its Grand Wagoneer counterpart. The grille features a slight kink mimicking the “waterfall” design of grilles from the SJ models. Instead of boldly put the W-A-G-O-N-E-E-R text on the top of the grille like the Grand Wagoneer, Wagoneer ditches the Jeep badge on the hood for its standard text above the grille.
Wagoneer does get its own unique styled LED headlamps, however, the styling of the headlamps looks similar to the ones found on the Chinese-market Grand Commander that was launched in 2018. Giving it the more aggressive front-end treatment, when compared to its Grand Wagoneer alternative. The lower front fascia looks bold with chrome accents outlining the grille mesh. Chrome tow hooks and a beefy front skidplate tell you that this luxury Jeep is more than just a pavement princess.
From the side, the Wagoneer features slab-sided door panels and tall windows, paying homage to the original SJ model. But that is about as close to the heritage you are going to get with this new Wagoneer. Instead of having a slanted rear pillar like the original model, the new generation of Wagoneer is a box. It’s bold and looks more like a modern take on the three-row 2006 to 2010 Jeep Commander (XK) than the original SJ.
But if you can get past the more modern design, the Wagoneer does look very handsome compared to much of the industry’s current offerings. Subtle chrome trim flows from the A-pillar over the side windows to the rear of the vehicle, something picked up from the all-new three-row Jeep Grand Cherokee L. One of the biggest differences when looking at the side of the Wagoneer compared to its new Grand Wagoneer sibling is the lack of liquid-chrome trim around the windows. We also can see that the wheel arches on the Wagoneer are left in black, while the Grand Wagoneer has body-matched wheel arches. W-A-G-O-N-E-E-R text is prominent on the lower part of the front doors of the vehicle and is wearing little U.S. flags similar to the ones on the new Grand Cherokee proudly showing off its “Made In The USA” heritage.
At the rear of the vehicle, much of the styling is shared with the Grand Wagoneer. Wagoneer models get their own unique liftgate sheet metal. Gone again is the Jeep badge in favor of more W-A-G-O-N-E-E-R text underneath the rear glass. While there is the chrome trim wrapping around the top of the “greenhouse” from the sides of the vehicle, the rear glass is not outlined in liquid chrome like the Grand Wagoneer.
Both the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer ride on a 123-inch wheelbase of a modified version of the Ram 1500-architecture. All Wagoneer models get a fully independent front and rear suspension. The front suspension uses a double-wishbone design and features lightweight composite upper control arms and aluminum lower control arms. The rear suspension setup is a multi-link layout. Wagoneer also comes with steel springs and standard load-leveling shocks. An available Quadra-Lift air suspension is also available, which can lift the standard ground clearance of the Wagoneer from 8.3-inches to 10-inches and allows for up to 24-inches of water fording capability.
Despite today’s models being the standard wheelbase versions of the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer (a long-wheelbase model will debut in 2022), the three-row standard model has a 2.1-inch longer wheelbase than the Chevrolet Tahoe. According to the official specifications, the Wagoneer is 3.3-inches longer in overall length which allows the Wagoneer to have additional 1.9 cubic feet of cargo room (27.4 cubic feet in total) than the Tahoe.
For those who opt for an additional $3,000, there are three available four-wheel-drive (4×4) systems available. Quadra-Trac I offers a full-time, single-speed unit, while Quadra-Trac II offers a full-time, two-speed transfer case. For those who are looking for the optimum off-road capability, the Quadra-Drive II system offers a full-time, two-speed transfer case with an electronic limited-slip differential (eLSD).
With two different Advance All-Terrain Group (AM2) options (one for the Wagoneer Series II and the other for the Wagoneer Series III), the package puts a number of off-roading goodies in the hands of Wagoneer owners.
Unfortunately, the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are not “Trail Rated”. Jeep explains that the reason is due to the size of the vehicle and that it does not meet the criteria for maneuverability to receive the brand’s iconic Trail Rated badge on its fender.
The Advance All-Terrain Group comes with the following equipment…
- 275/65R18 Falken Wildpeak A/T All-Terrain Tires (Wagoneer Series II)
- 18-inch x 8-inch Machined Cast Aluminum with Black Noise-Painted Pockets (Wagoneer Series II)
- 275/55R20 Falken Wildpeak A/T All-Terrain Tires (Wagoneer Series III)
- 20-inch x 9-inch Machined Cast Aluminum with Satin Granite Crystal-Painted Pockets (Wagoneer Series III)
- Quadra-Drive II® Transfer Case with 4×4 Low Active, Neutral, Full-Time Active 4×4
- Electronic Limited-Slip Rear Differential
- Quadra-Lift Air Suspension
- 3.92 Rear Axle Ratio
- Selec-Speed® Control
- Transfer Case Skid Plate
- Fuel Tank Skid Plate
- Front Suspension Skid Plate
- Bright Tow Hooks
- Removable Rear Tow Hook
Under the hood of the 2022 Jeep Wagoneer is the legendary 5.7-liter HEMI V8 with an eTorque mild-hybrid system, which is standard across the lineup. The 5.7-liter HEMI is good for 392 horsepower (292kW) and 404 lb.-ft. (548 Nm) of torque. It is paired up with an 8HP75 8-speed automatic transmission powering the rear-wheel-wheels.
For those who are looking for a rugged SUV to tow the boat, camper, or snowmobile trailer for that weekend away from home, the Wagoneer will be a great choice with its best-in-class towing capacity. Now, while Jeep hasn’t released any official towing numbers, they said the Wagoneer will have up to 10,000 lbs towing capability for both the rear-wheel-drive and 4×4 models.
Inside, the Wagoneer doesn’t disappoint, welcoming passengers with best-in-class passenger room in all three rows. Upfront, the driver is welcomed with a standard 10.3-inch digital cluster that can be customized to meet the driver’s preferences. Wagoneer models come standard with a 10.1-inch Uconnect 5 touchscreen display, despite it being housed in a 12-inch frame. The new Uconnect 5 system offers wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability and is 5-times faster than the system it replaces.
The Wagoneer will also feature a two-spoke steering wheel, reminiscent of the original SJ models. It features a flat-bottom design and looks rather sporty compared to the steering wheels offered on the rest of the Jeep lineup. Nappa leather is standard. Wagoneer also features a backlit aluminum rotary dial shift knob, with switches for the available Selec-Terrain selector and ride height adjustments for models with the optional Quadra-Lift air suspension.
Wagoneer, like the newly unveiled three-row Grand Cherokee L, will offer hands-free Active Driving Assist, which incorporates lane-centering technology, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and forward-collision warning. It will be available later this fall, more than likely on the top-tier Wagoneer Series III models.
Wagoneers can be had with a second-row bench seat with seating for eight or a pair of second-row captain’s chairs with room for seven. Wagoneer’s third-row offers best-in-class legroom, too, which is more than 6.3-inches more than the three-row Grand Cherokee L.
Wagoneer Series III models will come standard with the McIntosh MX950 system offered in the Grand Cherokee L. It will feature 19-speakers which include a 10-inch subwoofer, and a 950-watt amplifier.
But what makes the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer different? Lots of different content, amenities, materials, powertrain, and technology.
On the exterior, the Grand Wagoneer looks much like its Wagoneer sibling. But there are several differences to tell each model apart. The Grand Wagoneer receives its own unique hood, front fascia, grille design, and set of twin bi-functional projector headlamps. The Grand Wagoneer grille retains a similar shape to the original Wagoneer SJ. It features W-A-G-O-N-E-E-R text on top of the grille as opposed to the hood like the standard Wagoneer models.
The side windows are outlined in liquid-chrome trim, with a chrome piece running from the A-pillar, over the side glass, and wrapping around the back of the vehicle above the rear glass and outlines a black two-tone roof. Unlike the Wagoneer, Grand Wagoneer features wheel-arches that are body-matched making the exterior look more upscale. Puddle lamps under the exterior mirrors project the Wagoneer logo as you approach the vehicle.
t the rear of the vehicle, the Grand Wagoneer features unique sheet metal to the liftgate allowing for a unique set of clear-lens LED taillamps. LED reverse lights are mounted low on the rear bumper and a unique bezel wraps around the area where the license plate is located. Liquid-chrome trim wraps around the liftgate glass, while bold G-R-A-N-D and W-A-G-O-N-E-E-R text are prominently placed just below.
While the more mainstream Wagoneer comes with the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 with an eTorque mild-hybrid system as standard equipment, the Grand Wagoneer ups the ante with a 6.4-liter HEMI V8 delivering 471 horsepower (351 kW) and 455 lb.-ft. (617 Nm) of torque. The 6.4-liter HEMI is mated to an 8-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission. All Grand Wagoneer models come with the Quadra-Drive II 4×4 system. The Quadra-Drive II system features a full-time, two-speed transfer case with an eLSD.
For those who are wondering, yes, the 6.4-liter in the Grand Wagoneer is a version of the SRT 392 cubic-inch “Apache” HEMI V8 and not the 6.4-liter “BGE” (or Big Gas Engine) HEMI V8 from the Ram Heavy Duty pickups. Jeep states that the 6.4-liter is tuned for more of a refined experience rather than performance like it is under the hood of the Grand Cherokee and Durango SRT models.
For those who are looking for a rugged SUV to tow the boat, camper, or snowmobile trailer for that weekend away from home, the Grand Wagoneer will be a great choice with its best-in-class towing capacity of 9,860 lbs.
The four-corner air suspension system allows for optimal ride and aerodynamic performance. Another benefit of the air suspension is the load-leveling capability, which automatically detects load on the suspension from a trailer or payload. The gas pressure increases until the vehicle reaches normal ride height, leveling the vehicle and improving the loaded ride. Additionally, a separate button on the key fob gives the operator the ability to manually lower the vehicle, allowing for ease of passenger entry and cargo loading. The Quadra-Lift suspension can lift the Grand Wagoneer up to 10.1-inches of ground clearance.
Inside, the Grand Wagoneer can’t be compared to anything else on the road. Building on the Wagoneer’s interior there are more premium materials such as Satin America Walnut wood, aluminum, and Nappa or Palermo leather-trimmed seating. Grand Wagoneer features touchscreens everywhere throughout its interior. A 12.3-inch customizable digital instrument cluster and 12-inch center-mounted Uconnect 5 touchscreen offer the driver plenty of customizable features to allow them to make Grand Wagoneer meet all of their favorite preferences. Both driver and passenger seats offer 24-way power-adjustable seats including bolster adjustments, cushion extensions, and even massage features which can be controlled by a 10.25-inch touchscreen located in front of the vehicle’s rotary dial shifter.
There is an available 10.25-inch Uconnect 5 infotainment system located in front of the front-row passenger (which can be added to certain Wagoneer Series II and Series III packages). It offers several “co-pilot” features, allowing the driver to focus on the road while the front passenger finds navigation destinations, plays audio, and adjusts vehicle settings. The screen can also display a true smartphone mirror, allowing the passenger to do things like answer emails, play videos and games, and access social media. A privacy filter keeps the screen obscured from the driver, limiting distraction.
Grand Wagoneer models come standard with a set of second-row captain’s chairs and a fixed center console with a 10.3-inch comfort screen. For those who have larger families, you can opt for a bench seat which allows the Grand Wagoneer to seat 8 passengers comfortably. Second-row passengers also can be entertained with a pair of 10.1-inch Uconnect 5 entertainment screens mounted on the front seatbacks. These screens can access audio and video sources, and even stream Amazon Fire TV for Auto using the vehicle’s onboard WiFi.
All Grand Wagoneer models will come standard with the McIntosh MX950 sound system that is available on the Grand Cherokee L. It will feature 19-speakers which include a 10-inch subwoofer, and a 950-watt amplifier For those who are real audiophiles, available on Grand Wagoneer Series I and Series II models, and standard on Grand Wagoneer Series III is the MX1375 system. The McIntosh MX1375 sound system uses 23-speaker, 1950-watts of power, and features immersive 3D sound processing for clear and true-to-life audio.
Grand Wagoneer models also get adjustable ambient lighting, giving a special appearance to the vehicle’s interior at night.
Grand Wagoneer will be the ultimate ultra-premium halo vehicle for the Jeep brand. With a starting U.S. Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $86,995 for the Grand Wagoneer Series I (not including the $1,695 for destination charges) and $103,995 for the top-their Series III trim. There will also be a special all-blacked out Grand Wagoneer Obsidian model based on the Series II trim package, it will have an MSRP of $98,995. The Grand Wagoneer will top out at around $111,000 when all the options are checked off.
Jeep is also introducing an all-new Wagoneer Client Services that offers Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer customers support, keep up to date with vehicle maintenance, access to special events and contests, merchandise discounts, vehicle rental, and trip interruption coverage after the purchase of their new Wagoneer or Grand Wagoneer. The service will rival the Lincoln brand’s “Black Label” customer service program and will make sure that Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer owners delivering a unique customer experience, unlike any other Stellantis North American product before it.
“Wagoneer is unquestionably rooted in the legendary Jeep brand and its unmatched heritage of leading capability, authenticity, and freedom, and its return allows us to expand to a much more premium arena with new levels of design detail, and advanced safety and technology features,” said Christian Meunier, global president of the Jeep brand. “While Jeep vehicles bring leading capability, efficiency, and performance across the mainstream SUV market, Wagoneer will ultimately become a portfolio of vehicles that will once again define ‘American Premium,’ making it the standard of sophistication, authenticity, and modern mobility.”
We think the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are great choices in the premium SUV segment in today’s world. While they might be radically different than the original SJ, the mission of offering a premium vehicle, with the most capability in terms of off-road ruggedness is still there. However, true Jeep fans will continue to struggle to call the new Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer a true replacement for the original.
What do you think of the all-new Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer? Do you think it is worthy of the Wagoneer nameplate? Drop us a comment below or in our dedicated WagoneerForums.org owner forums.