Reviving an old vehicle nameplate can be hit or miss, and the latest one to be exhumed is also the absolute biggest. After taking a break from the market since 1994, the 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer is back, and bigger than ever. Desperate to finally have an entrant to battle the recently updated full size SUVs from General Motors and Ford, the Grand Wagoneer rides on the same platform as the Ram 1500 trucks, and shares a lot of the same styling cues.
Out of the gate it is clear the Grand Wagoneer (and its shorter twin, the Wagoneer) is aiming for the top tier players, namely the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator. The interior is appointed with wood trim throughout, with shiny black plastic, screens galore and premium-feel materials. Stepping into the Grand Wagoneer for the first time felt very much like our first time experiencing the Navigator, as if they used it as a benchmark.
Our test vehicle, the Grand Wagoneer Series III 4×4 is the top tier package, full of every technological goodie you can imagine, including some optional ones like a rear-seat entertainment package adding Amazon Fire tablets to the back of the first-row headrests. The front passenger also has their own built in touch screen display, that can display a bunch of built in apps, or whatever you please via the HDMI port.
We spent two weeks over the Christmas break with the Grand Wagoneer, and it was a great family vehicle for a ski-getaway. The 2,007-liters of cargo space behind the second row swallowed up everything we needed to bring with us, and the built-in FamCam let us check in on the sleeping kids from the massive 12.3-inch Uconnect 5 screen in the dashboard. The Quadra-Lift Air Suspension pinched from the Ram certainly helps make the big beast a great highway cruiser, squatting the body low to the ground in Aero mode, and helping soften body roll around big turns.
Despite being loaded to the brim with cargo and passengers, there was never a lack of power thanks to the beastly 6.4-liter V8 under the hood, growling away with its 471 horsepower and 455 lb-ft. of torque. The eight-speed transmission kept RPMs low at all times and shifted smoothly. Compounding this on top of the air ride left for a very smooth and cushy ride no matter what you the Wagoneer was driving over. Steering response is adequate, and considering the sheer heft and size of this beast, its pretty good for a truck based vehicle.
The Grand Wagoneer is rife with small details throwing back a nod to the generations before it, while trying to jump itself up to a top-tier vehicle. This of course comes at a cost, both at the bank, and at the pump. While the shorter wheelbase Jeep Wagoneer starts with a five-figure price tag, the cheapest Grand Wagoneer starts at just over $100,000. Our test vehicle was a Series III, whose starting MSRP is $120,995, and as-tested that number was cranked up to $130,270 thanks to some paint, towing and wheel upgrades, as well as that rear-seat entertainment package adding $2,695.
Fuel economy, as expected for a brawny V8 isn’t stellar, with ratings clocking in at 18.6L/100km city, 12.8L/100km highway, and 16L/100km combined, all while demanding premium fuel. We observed 17.8L/100km over the course of our test.
After spending two weeks behind the wheel of this beast, I can honestly say this is the kind of vehicle you lease, and not buy, for several reasons. First up is the abundant use of shiny black plastic throughout the interior. This stuff looks great when new, but after two weeks, it was covered in fingerprints and grime, and it was only a matter of time before it will start showing scratches. Secondly, all of the technology throughout the car is nice, but it is so superfluous that things will inevitably break and cost a fortune to repair.
We experienced minor system failures and quality issues during the time spent with the Grand Wagoneer, and it became apparent this vehicle is not a keeper and will be visiting the dealership quite a bit for warranty work. To give Jeep some credit, this was a vehicle that was developed and brought to market in the middle of a global pandemic, with chip and part shortages happening all around. As a new vehicle toying around with tons of technology while in that environment, it’s a miracle it made it to market on time at all.
The Grand Wagoneer ends up being somewhere in between the shorter and longer versions of each of its competitors, which could be a good sweet spot for a lot of people. Aside from size, and therefore cargo capacity, choosing the Series III over either of its most likely competitors, the Cadillac Escalade and the Lincoln Navigator will mostly come down to brand loyalty and stylistic preference at this point. Each has their own flaws, pros, and cons but generally all offer similar technology, capability and utility.
If a V8 is on your wish list, then scratch the Lincoln off the list. If you like the idea of filling up with diesel and saving at the pump, go to your local Caddy dealer. If that big Jeep grille is all you can think about, then the 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Series III is the ticket – just make sure you tick the “lease” checkbox.
2021 Lincoln Navigator Reserve