2022 Grand Wagoneer: First Drive Review

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceGrand Wagoneer Returns
As automakers and American drivers go all-in on SUVs, consumer tastes extend beyond mainstream vehicles to luxury models. Building on a legacy as one of the original premium SUVs, Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer return for 2022, expanding the current Jeep lineup into the large premium SUV segment. One of the first sport-utility vehicles when it debuted in 1962 as a 1963 model, the Jeep Wagoneer was the first 4-wheel-drive vehicle with an automatic transmission and independent front suspension. Twenty years later in the 1980s, the Grand Wagoneer became Jeep’s first premium SUV. Now 30 years since Grand Wagoneer’s previous availability, the 2022 Grand Wagoneer and Wagoneer return as modern reimagined versions of the originals.

© Stellantis North AmericaWagoneer Brand
Wagoneer returns for 2022, expanding on the Jeep brand for Stellantis — the parent company recently formed by the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Groupe PSA. Although Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will not be marketed as Jeep models, Stellantis describes Wagoneer as “a premium extension of the Jeep brand.” Grand Wagoneer takes luxury and refinement to an even higher level with unique styling, premium materials and exclusive features.

© StellantisModel Lineup
The 2022 Wagoneer will be available in both 2-wheel and 4-wheel drive, while Grand Wagoneer will be exclusively 4-wheel drive. Wagoneer will start at $57,995 for Wagoneer Series I (4 x 2) and Grand Wagoneer Series I will start at $86,995. All prices exclude a destination charge of $2,000. Wagoneer is also offered in Series II (4 x 2) at $67,995, Series II (4 x 4) at $70,995, Series III (4 x 2) at $72,995 and Series III (4 x 4) at $75,995. Grand Wagoneer Series II starts at $93,995, Obsidian at $98,995 and Series III at $103,995.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceElegant Design
Our first glimpse of a new Wagoneer came last September with the reveal of a Jeep Grand Wagoneer concept. The production version has few readily discernible differences, although the concept’s lighted grille is notably absent. The elegant design and its timeless silhouette remain true to the original Wagoneer — but with modern interpretations.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceWagoneer Design
Inspired by the original model, the 2022 Wagoneer exterior has a wide stance while emphasizing length with a flat roofline and shoulder line that circumnavigates the entire vehicle, similar to the original. Wagoneer designers and engineers minimized the pillars to permit large windows for better outward visibility. A chrome strip runs from mirror to mirror along the top of the window line, meeting across the tailgate. The seven-slot grille ties Wagoneer to the Jeep brand, and above the grille “Wagoneer” is spelled out in bold letters on the front edge of the hood. Wagoneer badging on the sides includes the American flag.

© Stellantis North AmericaGrand Wagoneer
The Grand Wagoneer grille features paint-over-chrome laser-etched grille rings similar to a knurled finish. The leading edge of the hood steps up to surround the grille, and “Grand Wagoneer” lettering adorns the top edge of the grille rather than the hood. Grand Wagoneer Series III features raised aluminum badging with two-piece copperchino-accented letters. Grand Wagoneer also adds a contrasting black roof and chrome window surrounds.

© StellantisWagoneer at the Rear
At the rear, Wagoneer’s LED taillights wrap from the rear quarter panels to the tailgate, connected by a chrome strip at the top edge of the lights and across the tailgate above the license plate. “Wagoneer” is spelled boldly between the chrome strip and the rear glass, with a small badge in the lower corner of the liftgate for the Series trim level.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceGrand Wagoneer at the Rear
The Grand Wagoneer gets differentiated by Liquid Chrome trim that outlines the taillights and connects above and below the license plate. The area between the taillights, within the chrome trim, is finished in black with a textured surface.

© StellantisWagoneer Wheels
Wagoneer rides on 20-inch wheels; 22-inch painted and polished wheels are also available. Grand Wagoneer includes standard 20- or 22-inch aluminum wheels featuring four different finishes and textures. A three-dimensional wheel cap highlighting the Wagoneer logo is suspended in acrylic.

© Stellantis North AmericaExterior Colors
Exterior color choices for Wagoneer include Diamond Black, Bright White, Luxury White, Silver Zynith, Baltic Gray, Velvet Red and River Rock Blue . Grand Wagoneer adds three additional colors: Midnight Sky Blue, Rocky Mountain Green and Ember Red.

© Stellantis North AmericaUnder the Hood — Wagoneer
Wagoneer is powered by a 5.7-liter V8 engine producing 392 horsepower and 404 lb-ft of torque combined with a 48-volt mild hybrid eTorque system and 8-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission. The eTorque system replaces the traditional alternator with a belt-driven motor; it provides seamless start/stop, additional torque in certain driving situations, and stores electricity in a 390 watt-hour lithium-ion 12-cell Nickel Manganese Cobalt-Graphite battery. The eTorque motor provides electric assist to the engine from launch.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceUnder the Hood — Grand Wagoneer
Grand Wagoneer is powered by a 6.4-liter V8 engine producing 471 horsepower and 455 lb-ft of torque that gets combined with an 8-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission. According to Stellantis, Grand Wagoneer will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 6.0 seconds.

© Stellantis North AmericaThree All-Wheel-Drive Systems
Available all-wheel drive systems are Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II and Quadra-Drive II. Quadra-Trac I is a full-time all-wheel-drive system with a one-speed transfer case for automatic operation in a variety of conditions, transferring torque to the wheel with the most available traction. Quadra-Trac II adds a 2-speed transfer case and takes input from a variety of sensors for quick response before tire slip occurs. Quadra-Drive II includes an electronic limited-slip rear differential. Selec-Terrain is standard with Quadra-Trac II and Quadra-Drive II with five drive modes: Auto, Sport, Rock, Snow and Sand/Mud.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceNew Architecture
Nearly 10 inches longer and 4 inches taller than the new Jeep Grand Cherokee L, Wagoneer sits on new architecture with a body-on-frame design and high-strength steels to improve performance and safety while also reducing weight. A Class 4 hitch receiver gets integrated with the rear frame rails; towing capacity is up to 10,000 pounds. Independent front and rear suspension includes standard front and rear coil-over shocks. The front double wishbone suspension has lightweight composite upper control arms and aluminum lower control arms, and the rear suspension is a multi-link design. A standard steel suspension features rear load leveling. Air suspension with electronically controlled semi-active damping is available for Wagoneer and standard on Grand Wagoneer.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceInterior Design
The new Wagoneer’s exterior design focuses on elegant attention to detail, although the interior design is where Wagoneer really shines. According to Chris Benjamin, head of interior design for Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer, the exterior design makes a promise that the interior must uphold. Once again the designers looked to the original — not so much for design but for organization — pursuing the future while honoring Wagoneer heritage.

© StellantisWagoneer
Wagoneer features a one-piece instrument panel, while the Grand Wagoneer is a two-piece design. The standard 10.25-inch frameless digital instrument cluster includes two dozen menus. The available full-color 10-inch head-up display offers three configurations. The 10.1-inch center display features the all-new Uconnect 5 infotainment system with an Android operating system and reconfigurable touchscreen with split-screen capability.

© Stellantis North AmericaGrand Wagoneer
Grand Wagoneer adds a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and 12-inch center touchscreen, along with a 10.25-inch comfort display touchscreen below and a 10.25-inch comfort display touchscreen for the second row. An available 10.25-inch passenger display gives the passenger control with four major functions: Co-Pilot (navigation, device management), entertainment, Fire TV for Auto and view the exterior vehicle cameras. Passenger screens in both the front and rear feature an HDMI plug to use the screen to view a phone or tablet. When equipped with front passenger display, Relax Mode is available while the vehicle is in park and combines multi-screen visuals with ambient lighting across the entire cockpit.

© StellantisWagoneer Seating
The 2022 Wagoneer features standard Nappa leather-trimmed seats with 12-way power front seats, power lumbar support and four-way manual head restraint adjustment. Interior ambient lighting features two zones with five colors choices: White, Blue, Aqua, Gold and Amber. Three-row seating with room for eight is standard, with second-row captain’s chairs and an optional removable center console.

© Stellantis North AmericaGrand Wagoneer Seating
The 2022 Grand Wagoneer has premium Nappa leather-trimmed seats as standard equipment, while Grand Wagoneer Series II and Series III models offer available quilted Palermo leather-trimmed seats with an optional leather-wrapped instrument panel, consoles and door panels. Grand Wagoneer comes with 24-way power front seats with massage, power lumbar support and 4-way powered head restraints. Also standard are heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, adjustable pedals, as well as heated and ventilated second-row seats. Second-row captain’s chairs are standard equipment, although a second-row bench for eight-passenger seating is also available.

© Stellantis North AmericaRear-Seat Entertainment
Available rear-seat entertainment adds two 10.1-inch entertainment screens with independent streaming from major content providers. The system offers the first Fire TV for Auto integration featuring touchscreen displays, Amazon Alexa and access to hundreds of thousands of movies, TV shows and apps. Passengers can watch separately with headphones or through the vehicle’s audio system. With Fire TV for Auto built-in, parents also have access to Amazon Kids+ to control available content.

© StellantisMcIntosh Audio
Wagoneer Series III and Grand Wagoneer Series I and Series II employ the McIntosh MX950 Entertainment System — a custom-tuned 19-speaker system with 10-inch subwoofers, powered by a 17-channel 950-watt amplifier. Available on Grand Wagoneer Series I and Series II, and standard on Grand Wagoneer Series III, the premium McIntosh MX1375 Reference Entertainment System creates a tailored and immersive 3D Adaptive Sound Processing experience. The system features 23 specifically tuned speakers, including one of the highest performing 12-inch subwoofers in the industry.

© StellantisDriver-Assist
Available driver-assist technologies include head-up display, adaptive cruise control, Active Driving Assist, Hands-free Active Driving Assist, night vision, drowsy driver detection and Traffic Sign Recognition.

© Stellantis North AmericaOn the Road
Stellantis invited select auto writers to New York for an initial opportunity to drive the Grand Wagoneer. With limited driving experience in Manhattan, we were glad to exit the city unscathed and explore country roads on the outskirts of New Jersey and New York in this stunning SUV. We spent most of our time on-road in the Grand Wagoneer Series II and Series III, with a chance to test off-road capabilities of the Wagoneer Series II 4 x 4.

© Stellantis North AmericaOn the Road
Departing from Manhattan during our press drive proved to be a bit harrowing, although the Grand Wagoneer is surprisingly capable at maneuvering through tight streets, getting journalists out onto open roads in no time. The 6.4-liter engine provides plenty of power for any situation, and the 8-speed automatic delivers smooth, responsive shifts. The ride is comfortable — even on 22-inch wheels — and the steering is direct. While piloting the Grand Wagoneer, drivers will instantly notice that this big SUV doesn’t feel as massive as its overall heft.

© Stellantis North AmericaBeautiful Outside — And In
We like the exterior design of the Grand Wagoneer a lot, although this SUV really shines from within via high-quality design and materials. The wing shape to the lower dash creates an open feeling, and the wood and metal trim can be tailored to any taste. We understand the two-spoke steering wheel is a tribute to the original Wagoneer, but it feels a little bulky while holding the wheel at standard 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions.

© Stellantis North AmericaOff-Road Capability
We drove the Wagoneer Series II 4 x 4 with 18-inch wheels and all-terrain tires on a short but very comprehensive off-road course, and it’s easy to see why Wagoneer has Jeep off-road capability — even though Stellantis doesn’t want folks to call Wagoneers Jeeps. Equipped with Quadra-Drive II, Quadra-Lift Air Suspension, adaptive damping and electronic limited-slip rear differential, the Wagoneer climbs rocks and navigates moguls that at times had two wheels in the air along with fun two in the dirt. Even though most Wagoneers will likely never negotiate serious off-road conditions very often — if at all — the capability is there and always available when needed if adverse weather or slippery conditions arise.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceRight for You?
Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer fill a need within the Jeep family, adding full-size luxury to the current lineup while paying tribute to pioneering models of the same names. The Grand Wagoneer adds a more powerful engine and luxury amenities to compete with the top luxury names on the market. Buyers in market for a full-size luxury SUV should give Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer a close look.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceRating: 8.5
Pros: Great looking design; luxurious interiors; latest technology and Jeep off-road capability.
Cons: Luxury comes with a high price tag; not very fuel efficient.
Bottom Line: The Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer premium full-size SUVs offer refinement wrapped in off-road prowess.

The post 2022 Grand Wagoneer: First Drive Review appeared first on autoNXT.net.

More from Our Auto Expert