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2022 Jeep Wagoneer - Review by Larry Nutson +VIDEO

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Rebirth of an icon

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau

A true icon of the automotive world has been revived with the introduction by Jeep of the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer premium utility vehicles (UV). The first Wagoneer was introduced for the 1963 model year and is THE original full-size utility vehicle. The name lived on within the Jeep brand for 30 years.

Now as Jeep celebrates its 80th year, the storied Wagoneer has returned as a premium, sub-brand, full-size body-on-frame utility vehicle to compete with the likes of the well know large-utes from GM and FoMoCo, as well as those from non-domestic brands.

The premium 2022 Wagoneer and luxury 2022 Grand Wagoneer are offered in one size, with seating for seven or eight, with V8 power, rear-drive or four-wheel drive, and towing capacity of up to 10,000 lbs.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

The Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer vary in exterior and interior trim as well as features and equipment. This is a different approach than GM or Ford take with their use of significant styling and design elements to separate and distinguish their full-size UV models.

I recently drove a 2022 Wagoneer about 150 miles north from my Chicago home to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. I was participating in the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) 2021 Rally held at Road America. Along with my highway drive I was able to drive the Wagoneer along the country roads of Wisconsin’s glacial Kettle Moraine as well as on a technical off-road course created by the team at Jeep Jamboree.

Scott Tallon, Product Director, Jeep Brand – North America provided a product overview of the new Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer. Tallon said “This year's Midwest Automotive Media Association Rally was the perfect place to showcase the newest Jeep models.”

Tallon pointed out that the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will offer a unique and premium customer service experience. The company is working with its dealers to help them achieve Wagoneer Certification, ensuring the dealer is delivering on 10 customer promises they collectively are making to their customers. Not every Jeep dealer may be a Wagoneer dealer. Rooted in Jeep brand heritage, Wagoneer will become a portfolio of vehicles that defines “American premium” and delivers a unique customer experience.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer ride on an all-new steel frame that employs multiple steel grades to make it both lightweight and yet durable. The body-on-frame design provides good torsional stiffness and also premium-class ride and handling. Wheelbase is 123 inches and overall length is 214.7 inches. GM’s trio of full-size utes and the Ford and Lincoln big utes are all within inches of the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer.

Wagoneer models are eight passenger with optional second row captain’s chairs reducing seating to seven. Whereas, Grand Wagoneer models are seven passenger with an optional second row bench for eight passenger seating.

Wagoneer cargo space is voluminous with a total of 116.7 cu.ft. behind the first row. There’s 27.4 cu.ft. behind the third row and 70.8 cu.ft. behind the second row. The Grand Wagoneer has a bit less due to its second-row center console design.

Under the hood the Wagoneer features a 392-hp 5.7-liter V-8 engine with 404 lb-ft. of torque fitted with the next generation of eTorque 48-volt mild hybrid. Grand Wagoneer is equipped with a 471-hp 6.4-liter V-8 with 455 lb.-ft. of torque. Each engine mates to a TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission.

Wagoneers are offered in rear-drive or four-wheel drive (4X4). Grand Wagoneers are only 4X4. Three 4x4 systems are available depending on model, namely Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II and Quadra-Drive II with active low range and rear electronic limited slip differential. Quadra-Lift air suspension is standard on the Grand Wagoneer.

EPA fuel economy ratings for the rear drive Wagoneer are 18 mpg combined with 16 city mpg and 22 highway mpg. The Wagoneer four-wheel drive is EPA rated at 17 mpg combined with 15 city mpg and 20 highway mpg. Grand Wagoneer’s EPA fuel economy rating is 15 mpg combined with 13 city mpg and 18 highway mpg.

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PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

In the cabin there’s a lot to like. It’s elegant with premium materials and well-crafted finishes. Beauty abounds. Every seat is a first class accommodation. The rear bench seats three adults, comfortably. Along with the usual center touchscreen there is an available 10.25-inch passenger screen with four major functions: Co-Pilot for navigation and device management, entertainment via HDMI or Rear Seat Entertainment control, the ability to view the exterior vehicle cameras and, the first ever Fire TV for Auto integration, featuring touchscreen displays, Alexa, and access to hundreds of thousands of movies, TV shows and apps.

Available is an industry-first McIntosh 1,375-watt premium audio system featuring 23 speakers, including a 12-inch subwoofer with 3D Surround System. This audio system has better sound than many home systems.

A full contingent of advanced driver-assistance safety (ADAS) features are available as well as semi-autonomous vehicle capabilities, including Hands-free Active Driving Assist (late availability) and ParkSense Automated Parking System

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More details on the 2022 Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer can be found at Wagoneer prices start at U.S. MSRP of $57,995; Grand Wagoneer starts at U.S. MSRP of $86,995. Destination charge is $2,000. At launch twelve pre-configured models will be offered priced to start at $67,995.

The Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer move the Jeep brand into a new segment. I’ve driven all of GM’s as well as the Ford and Lincoln entries. One of my daughters has a new GMC Yukon that I have spent a bunch of time driving during her visits. As I see it the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer have got all the bases covered and are very viable entries in the traditional full-size utility vehicle segment. I was pleasantly surprised at how the spacious and roomy Wagoneer drove like it was smaller than it actually is. Driving dynamics are very comfortable and refined.

The Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer might just become THE fashionable full-size utility vehicle to have.

Happy motoring

© 2021 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy