After years of rumors of the Grand Wagoneer returning, Jeep® finally got in on the full-sized body-on-frame SUV game with the Wagoneer and ultra-premium Grand Wagoneer in late 2021. I recently spent a week with the top-of-the-line Grand Wagoneer Series III. Does it have what it takes to compete with the Escalade, Yukon Denali, and the Navigator? Let’s find out…
At almost 215-inches long, the Grand Wagoneer is 4-inches longer than the Escalade and 5-inches longer than the Navigator. Styling is, of course, subjective, but the design of the Grand Wagoneer has been a little controversial. I think it looks great from the front and front 3/4 views, but I do feel that it squares off too much at the rear, and I’m not a fan of the uptick Jeep is running on their quarter windows. Jeep seems to be targeting a premium, substantial, stately look, and I believe they achieved that overall with the Grand Wagoneer. Our tester is finished in Silver Zynith with a black roof, which helps out the design, in my opinion.
All lighting is led with projector-led headlights that perform exceptionally well at night. The Grand Wagoneer also has adaptive headlights which follow curves in the road by following the steering wheel input. The foglights are formed from 3 LED pods, giving the Grand Wagoneer a unique look. The taillights are LED, and I think they look very nice, while all the turn signals are sequential, adding to that premium look.
The Grand Wagoneer rides on a nice-looking set of 22-inch wheels and features the ride height-adjustable air suspension.
While the exterior design might be controversial, the interior of the Grand Wagoneer is stunning. The interior materials are all very high quality, with real metal, wood, and high-grade leather covering most of the cabin.
The Grand Wagoneer is also a technological tour de force. In front of the driver are a digital gauge cluster and customizable heads-up display. There is a 12-inch infotainment screen running the newest UConnect 5 software with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Another screen down below can also slide up out of the way to reveal USB and HDMI ports and a wireless charger. The front passenger gets their own screen, which they can watch movies on or input a navigation destination and send it to the driver, among other functions.
There are physical controls for the climate control system and touch-sensitive controls to operate the heated and ventilated seats and the heated steering wheel. The front seats are exceptionally comfortable and feature a relaxing massage function with multiple settings.
The middle row is extremely roomy as well with heated and ventilated bucket seats, a bench seat is an option, along with this large center console and yet another touch screen. Mounted to the backs of the front seats are screens for the onboard Amazon Fire TV system.
Even at 6’1, I found the third row quite comfortable with enough head and legroom. Third-row passengers are also treated to reclining seats, cup holders, USB ports, and their own sunroof.
Under the hood of the Grand Wagoneer is the 6.4-liter HEMI V8, putting out 471 horsepower and 455 lb. ft of torque, backed by the excellent ZF 8-speed automatic transmission. Our tester featured a full-time 4wd with the 2-speed transfer case, and all Grand Wagoneers have the 3.92 gear ratio.
While regular Wagoneers with the 5.7-liter HEMI are rated to tow 10,000 lbs, the Grand Wagoneer with the 6.4-liter HEMI falls 150 lbs short of that at 9,850 lbs, both class-leading numbers by a good bit. I found the 6.4-liter HEMI and 8-speed trans to be a willing dance partner, feeling almost sports car-like with immediate throttle tip-in and enough power to motivate the Grand Wagoneer to 60 MPH in just under 6 seconds in our testing.
While the Grand Wagoneer is EPA rated at 18 MPG on the highway, we put it through our highway MPG test and were able to best the EPA numbers with a result of 20 MPG with just over 100 miles of highway driving.
Driving Impressions –
Out on the road, the Grand Wagoneer is exceptionally refined and quiet. Sitting on a heavily-modified Ram 1500 (DT) platform, the Grand Wagoneer does away with the solid rear axle in favor of an independent rear suspension setup. The ride is exceptionally smooth and soaks up bumps very well, with no jitters being transferred into the cabin. The 6.4-liter HEMI is extraordinarily smooth and, as mentioned above, features more than enough power in this application. The ride is tranquil with wind noise and mechanical sounds nicely subdued in the cabin but a strong exhaust note on the outside. (Make sure to watch our video to hear just how good it sounds.)
Steering effort is on point for this type of vehicle, with no vibrations or potholes sending feedback through the steering wheel (which is a problem I had with an Escalade shortly after this review.) The large disc brakes work well with a linear pedal and good bite, effortlessly bringing the Grand Wagoneer to a stop from any speed.
Visibility is excellent all the way around, and there is a ton of technology on board to help drivers out in all situations. There is a night vision camera on the cluster that works exceptionally well and identifies pedestrians while drawing a yellow box around them. There is also the self-parking system and travel assist, which uses the adaptive cruise and lane-keep assist to keep you centered in your lane, even around corners, but requires you to keep your hands on the steering wheel.
Of course, there is a 360-degree camera system which is very high resolution, and the McIntosh audio system features 23-speakers, a 12-inch subwoofer, puts out 1,375-watts, and at least to my ear, sounds fantastic.
After a week with this Grand Wagoneer, it sets a new bar for luxury in the American full-size SUV class. The technology, features, interior quality, and fit and finish are a step above the competition. While I think the Escalade is still the best-looking vehicle in this segment, I spent a few weeks with an Escalade Sport Platinum right after this review. The Cadillac is a step behind in interior materials and overall refinement. Not a big step behind, but a step back, making the Grand Wagoneer the new king of the hill in the full-sized SUV segment.
As for how I’d order it, gotta go with the Series II-based Obsidian trim to get rid of the chrome, and I’d go with either Silver Zynith or Bright White to give a nice contrast to the Gloss Black accents.
2022 Jeep® Grand Wagoneer Series III Image Gallery:
No replies yet
Loading new replies...
Join the full discussion at the Mopar Insiders Forum →