by Frank A. Aukofer ~
The yin and yang of the 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer surfaced on a modest trip around town, followed by a visit to a big city’s mangled traffic.
Puttering around Northern Virginia outside Washington, D.C., and stopped at a light, a late model Cadillac Escalade pulled up alongside. The driver stared at the big, black sport utility vehicle and asked what it was.
“The new Jeep Grand Wagoneer,” was the reply.
“Beautiful,” he replied.
Less than 10 minutes later, at another light, another driver in a 2001 Mitsubishi Montero Sport pulled up alongside, looked and asked what it was. The answer was the same.
“Beautiful,” he said.
Only later, after a comfortable and uneventful cruise to Baltimore on Interstate 95 — one of the most clogged freeways anywhere — were the encounters with sticky urban traffic. Highlights included the back-and-forth maneuvers trying to enter a narrow hotel parking garage with a giant Jeep that measures nearly 18 feet long, 7 feet wide and 6 feet 4 inches tall.
Passengers were unanimous. “It’s too big,” they said.
That phrase and the “beautiful” exclamation were repeated over the next couple of days at a family outing as other admirers and the curious either viewed or rode in the Grand Wagoneer.
So, the verdict is that this resurrection of a pioneering and storied sport utility vehicle with luxury accouterments and off-road credentials is that it is both beautiful and too big.
The latter certainly is true. It’s the most massive Jeep ever. It has three rows of seats and can comfortably accommodate seven passengers, including three adults in the third row, the latter almost unheard of even in big SUVs. An eight-passenger version with a second-row bench seat instead of captain’s chairs also is available.
Well, it’s not actually too big if you’re used to driving a full-size pickup truck or an SUV like the Chevrolet Suburban or Ford Expedition. Jeep is part of the Stellantis automotive group and the Grand Wagoneer is built on the full-size Ram pickup truck platform. However, it has an air suspension system, independent at the rear, for improved ride and handling instead of the Ram’s solid rear axle.
The first impression behind the wheel and moving off is that this is a luxury vehicle, not unlike a big GLS-Class Mercedes-Benz. It has a hefty, quality feel and delivers a quiet, comfortable ride on well-maintained road surfaces — what almost anyone would cherish for a long-distance trip without driver fatigue.
That should be no surprise given the tested Series II’s sticker price of $102,030, up from a base of $96,845, including the destination charge. And that’s not even the most expensive version. The top-of-the-line of five models, the Grand Wagoneer Series III Premium, starts at $109,980.
But the Series II with four-wheel drive comes with enough chops and goodies to satisfy almost any luxury SUV intender. Start with the power train.
The engine delivers 471 horsepower and 455 lb-ft of torque, or twisting force, from the company’s proven 6.4-liter V8 engine. It is hooked to an eight-speed automatic transmission with a two-speed transfer case for off-road adventures.
The combination is enough to move this more than three-ton beast to 60 mph in the six- to seven-second range, with a top speed of more than 100 mph. For boaters and those with luxury-home trailers, it can tow up to 6,400 pounds. Unsurprisingly, the penalty is an EPA city/highway/combined fuel consumption rating of 13/18/15 mpg.
The Grand Wagoneer comes with full safety equipment, including automatic emergency braking and collision warning, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning with lane-keeping assist, night vision with pedestrian and animal detection, adaptive cruise control, a head-up display, and a self-parking function.
Touch screens appear across the dash and in the second-row seats. They cover climate and other controls, including Apple Car Play, Android Auto, rear-seat entertainment, and high-performance McIntosh audio. There are 23 speakers, subscription Wi-Fi hotspot and USB ports in all three rows of seats.
After all, this is still a Jeep, so it has sophisticated off-road equipment like a front differential with a disconnect function, limited-slip rear differential, and terrain and speed control for slow-motion maneuvering in rugged areas. But you might want to give serious thought about whether to take it on something like the famed Rubicon Trail in California.
It’s too big.
- Model: 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Series II 4X4 three-row sport utility vehicle.
- Engine: 6.4-liter V8; 471 hp, 455 lb-ft torque.
- Transmission: Eight-speed automatic with four-wheel drive and two-speed transfer case.
- Overall length: 17 feet 11 inches.
- Height: 6 feet 4 inches.
- EPA/SAE passenger/cargo volume: 179/27 cubic feet. (71, 94)
- Weight: 6,400 pounds.
- Towing capability: 9,850 pounds.
- EPA city/highway/combined fuel consumption: 13/18/15 mpg.
- Base price, including destination charge: $96,845.
- Price as tested: $102,030.
Disclaimer: The manufacturer provided the vehicle used to conduct this test drive and review.
Photos (c) Jeep