After a hiatus of 30 years, the iconic Jeep® Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer nameplate has returned. It comes over a decade wait since Jeep announced its intentions to bring the nameplate back to its portfolio of sport-utility vehicles. The new Wagoneer duo comes into the 21st century with a whole new outlook and agenda, so it’s best to say this isn’t your father or grandfather’s Wagoneer. But can it live up to the original Jeep Wagoneer’s (SJ) legacy?
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. Sadly, it kind of dates the front styling a bit and doesn’t seem to encompass any new look to set this Jeep apart from the rest.
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 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.
What is disappointing about the exterior styling of the new Wagoneer is that it is more of a modern take on the current Jeep design language, rather than the iconic vehicle it ultimately envokes. While it does provide a more modern contemporary design, the Jeep brand has been pouring the Wagoneer SJ’s 28-year heritage into every promotion, commercial, and social media post. Unfortunately, the upcoming Jeep Grand Cherokee (WL) two-door looks to be more in line with the original SJ than this new WS model. That might keep some of the original Wagoneer owners at bay until they can accept the modern rendition of the iconic nameplate.
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.
Wagoneer models will offer 20-inch or 22-inch aluminum wheel options, depending on the package or series the customer has chosen.
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. Unlike the Wagoneer Concept vehicle, the tail lamps don’t stretch across most of the rear of the vehicle. 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).
There is an available Advanced All-Terrain Package that adds four protective steel skid plates underneath the Wagoneer.
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.
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.
Wagoneers will be available in three trim levels, Series I, Series II, and Series III.
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 which 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.
Optional 10.1-inch screens for the second-row seatbacks are available. Those units feature HDMI connections to plug in various devices or video game systems and now feature the ability to stream Amazon Fire TV for Auto over the onboard Wi-Fi.
Customers can also get a rear camera mirror similar to the FamCAM in the Chrysler Pacifica, an automatic parking system, and even a Head-Up Display (HUD). A lockable safe is stored inside the center armrest to help protect your personal items from theft.
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 includes a 10-inch subwoofer, and a 950-watt amplifier.
There will be 7 exterior colors available for the 2022 Jeep Wagoneer. Those colors include Diamond Black, Bright White, Luxury White, Silver Zynith, Baltic Gray, Velvet Red, and River Rock Blue. For those looking to purchase the Wagoneer Series I, for $59,995 USD, it won’t arrive until later this fall.
So what do you think of the new 2022 Jeep Wagoneer? Let us know in the comments below, or in our dedicated WagoneerForums.org owner’s forums.