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  5. 2022 Grand Wagoneer Series II 4x4 Test Drive Review

Exterior view of the Grand Wagoneer

After a 30-year hiatus, the Grand Wagoneer is back. First introduced by Jeep in 1963, the full-size Wagoneer was sold until 1984, and by the time it left production, it had been renamed the Grand Wagoneer. Now, Stellantis (the new parent company of Jeep, RAM, and Chrysler), has revealed big plans for the line - and they include making Wagoneer a standalone brand. It's a huge play in an immensely profitable segment. 

For 2022, there's both a Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer on the menu. However, unlike the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee, the difference between the two Wagoneer models has nothing to do with size: It's all about power and luxury. Back in September, I spent a day in New York driving and learning all about these new Wagoneers, and recently, I took my family on a Thanksgiving holiday trip in the Grand Wagoneer Series II 4x4.

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2022 Grand Wagoneer Series II 4x4 Exterior

Exterior view of the Grand Wagoneer

The styling of the 2022 Grand Wagoneer might look like a scaled-up version of the fifth-gen Grand Cherokee. But cues such as the thin pillar, boxy lines, and long roof indicate the designers were actually inspired by the original Wagoneer. While the overall style has proven somewhat polarizing, what's really interesting is how well the dimensions and proportions hide some of the Grand Wagoneer's size. But rest assured, if it's parked next to a standard-wheelbase Escalade, you'll get a proper appreciation for the size of the Wagoneer. Especially if it's riding on the massive 22-inch wheels standard on the Series II trim. 

While the main differences between the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are more noticeable inside and under the hood, each has its own subtle yet effective styling cues. Each has a completely unique front bumper, grille shape, headlights and hood. But with a grille that cuts into the hood, it's the Grand Wagoneer which features the coolest nod to the original Wagoneer. With the exception of my tester's Diamond Black paint job, all other Grand Wagoneer color options include a standard two-tone paint scheme. 

Because Stellantis is launching Wagoneer as a standalone brand, you'll have to look hard to find any Jeep badging on this vehicle. But Jeep's unmistakable seven-slot grille design is proudly displayed front and center.

 

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2022 Grand Wagoneer Series II 4x4 Interior

Interior view of the Grand Wagoneer

The cabin of the 2022 Grand Wagoneer is a triumph, and puts Cadillac, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz on notice. While it's easy to fake luxury with high-tech gadgetry, it's important to note that every inch of the Grand Wagoneer's cabin looks and feels luxurious. The leather and wood are sumptuous as you'd expect in a six-figure vehicle, and, like the exterior, the Grand Wagoneer's cabin gets several distinctive touches, including intricate instrument panel stitching, "Grand Wagoneer" inlaid  below the passenger side airbag, and unique door panels that house the controls for the 24-way power-adjustable driver and front passenger seats. Heated and ventilated front seats standard on all Wagoneer models, while a tri-pane panoramic roof brings more natural light into the Grand Wagoneer.

With a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and a 12-inch Uconnect 5 touchscreen infotainment display both standard, the Grand Wagoneer shows off impressive cabin tech. While this tester wasn't equipped with the full battery of available entertainment screens, which includes one for the front passenger and two for the rear passengers, I did get to sample the 23-speaker McIntosh entertainment system. In the audiophile community, McIntosh is a legendary brand, and the sound was simply phenomenal. 

When it comes to comfort, the Grand Wagoneer delivers with spacious seating for seven passengers, while the Wagoneer accommodates eight thanks to a standard three-person bench seat. The true indication of the Grand Wagoneer's size, however, is the fact that three adults can sit comfortably in the third row without a complaint! With all seats in place, the Grand Wagoneer can hold 27.4 cubic feet of cargo, which beats the Escalade. But with both rows of rear seats folded flat, the Grand Wagoneer can only fit 94.2 cubic feet of gear. For those keeping score, that's significantly less than the 116.7 cubic feet of max cargo capacity of the standard Wagoneer, or 121 cubic feet of the Cadillac.

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2022 Grand Wagoneer Series II 4x4 Powertrain

Engine bay of the Grand Wagoneer

Interior and exterior styling aside, there's also a big difference between the Wagoneer and the Grand Wagoneer under the hood. Whereas the Wagoneer uses a 5.7-liter eTorque Hemi V8 rated at 392 horsepower, the Grand Wagoneer is powered exclusively by a 6.4-liter Hemi V8 with 471 horsepower and 455 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. With this setup and the available two-speed transfer case 4x4 system, the Grand Wagoneer returns EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 13 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway. Fortunately, the 26.5-gallon tank will keep fuel stops to a minimum.  

The Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer both ride on a chassis shared with the Ram 1500 pickup. But thanks to a fully independent suspension and standard Quadra-Lift air suspension, neither rides like a truck. Not only does the Grand Wagoneer deliver an ultra-smooth ride on the interstate, it also has a whisper-quiet cabin that drowns out all outside noises, whether you're in a loud city environment or cruising at 80 mph on the highway. Even better, the 7,500-pound towing capacity makes it easy to haul just about any toy, and during this test drive review, I towed a loaded, 6x12 enclosed trailer without a drop in performance or fuel economy.

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2022 Grand Wagoneer Series II Safety

Interior view of the Grand Wagoneer

The 2022 Grand Wagoneer has not been rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. But all Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer models come with a robust list of standard safety features. These include Forward Collision Warning with Active Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, Active Lane Management, Blind Spot Monitoring and Front and Rear Park Assist Sensors. The Grand Wagoneer is also equipped with a 360-degree camera and the ParkSense automated parking system.

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2022 Grand Wagoneer Series II 4x4 Overall

Interior view of the Grand Wagoneer

For clarification, the standard Wagoneer is positioned against vehicles like the GMC Yukon Denali and Lexus LX. The more luxurious and powerful Grand Wagoneer competes with the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator, along with two-row luxury SUVs like the Range Rover and Mercedes-Benz G-Class. 

Given the lofty competition in their sights, these luxurious SUVa are priced accordingly, with the Wagoneer starting at $69,440, and the Grand Wagoneer at $88,440. The Grand Wagoneer used for this review was a well-equipped Series II 4x4, and it carried an as-tested price of $101,580. That figure, along with the polarizing design, represent a challenge for the brand as this SUV establishes itself in the luxury segment. But my time behind the wheel proved there's little doubt that both the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer have the style, comfort, and technology to become iconic SUVs.

  

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Jeffrey N. Ross | Dec 16, 2021

2022 Grand Wagoneer Specs

Layout

4-door, 7-passenger, 4x4

Engine/Transmission

6.4L V8
471 hp, 455 lb-ft
Eight-speed auto

Mileage

13/18
(city/hwy)

NHTSA Rating

N/A


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