by Gerhard Horn
The new Jeep Wagoneer doesn't have a single Jeep badge anywhere on it. It's a subtle way to differentiate this new luxury model from lesser Jeeps like the Grand Cherokee. The new Wagoneer's premium polish both inside and out is reminiscent of truly luxurious SUVs from the likes of Lexus. The Wagoneer hasn't been available since 1991, and Jeep arguably hasn't offered a proper luxury SUV for almost as long. We guess you could make a case for top-spec variants of the Grand Cherokee, but it has always been more of a budget option compared to rivals from Germany and is a better match for the likes of the Ford Explorer. The pricier, bigger Wagoneer is still equipped with Jeep's aging 5.7-liter Hemi V8 producing 392 horsepower and 404 lb-ft of torque. While it may be an old engine, it does have a modern 48-volt mild-hybrid eTorque system delivering an additional 130 lb-ft low down. Not only is the Wagoneer one of the most powerful competitors in this segment, it also has a best-in-class tow rating. We're definitely off to a good start.
The Wagoneer is an all-new model for 2022, though it uses one of Jeep's most famous names to take the battle to the high-end SUV segment. Jeep is attacking this market with a two-pronged strategy. The Grand Wagoneer is aimed at the ultra-high-end crowd, while the standard Wagoneer takes care of the middle classes. Even so, it's not a watered-down luxury car. It's built on an all-new platform and proudly displays Jeep's brand-new design language. The only components carried over are the 5.7-liter V8, eight-speed automatic transmission, and the selection of 4WD systems.
See trim levels and configurations:
The Wagoneer is a blend of old and new. It simply wouldn't be a Jeep without the seven-slot grille. We do like Jeep's new sleek headlight and taillight design, though the design was obviously limited by the nomenclature. The old Wagoneer was a box, and so is the new one. It's rather slab-sided, but there are enough exterior features to help it stand out. LED headlights and taillights are standard, as are 20-inch wheels. You can go down to a set of 18s or up to 22s depending on what the Wagoneer will be used for. An interesting design feature we like is the lack of Jeep badges. This car relies entirely on its design to tell the world that it's a Jeep. The only badge Jeep uses is "Wagoneer," and it's used on every surface where you'd typically find a badge, including the steering wheel. A tri-pane panoramic sunroof is available.
The Wagoneer is a large box meant to carry a family in comfort, and its dimensions reflect that. It has an impressive 123-inch wheelbase, placing it within spitting distance of ultra-luxury offerings like the Mercedes-Benz GLS. The overall length is 214.7 inches, and it's 94 inches wide with the mirrors included. It stands 75.6 inches tall, measured up the roof rails.
Ground clearance is rated at 8.3 inches with the standard suspension, while the air suspension in the Series III sees this lifted to 10 inches. This kind of footprint comes with a considerable curb weight. It's rather telling that the lightest model is just shy of 6,000 pounds. The Wagoneer Series II with a 4x2 system weighs 5,960 lbs, while a top-spec Wagoneer Series III with 4WD weighs 6,230 lbs.
The off-road-related figures are not that impressive with the standard steel suspension. The approach, breakover, and departure angle are claimed to be 21.5, 18.5, and 21.1 degrees, respectively. The Series III comes as standard with an air suspension, taking these figures up to an impressive 25, 22, and 24 degrees.
The Wagoneer doesn't have access to Jeep's usual vivid color palette. This SUV wants to be taken seriously, so the selection is quite Germanic. Bright White is the only no-cost option, while the rest of the palette options retail for $595. The selection includes pearl paints like Diamond Black Crystal, Luxury White, and Velvet Red. Baltic-Gray is the only metallic option, and other extra-cost colors are Silver-Zynith and River Rock. Even the color names are grown up compared to Jeep's usual Firecracker Red, Nacho, and Snazberry color names.
We understand why Jeep did this, but perhaps it's a step too far. One of the reasons you buy a Jeep is because it's not a German car. The colors are fine, but we'd much rather drive around in Wagoneer in a hue called RedAF or Black Baller.
Only one engine option is available. The 5.7-liter V8 should be familiar to most as it has been around since the early 2000s. What may not be familiar is the 392 hp/404 lb-ft output.
The secret behind these more impressive figures is the addition of mild-hybrid assistance. Jeep mounted a 16-hp and 130-lb-ft electric motor driven by a 48-volt 12-cell lithium-ion battery between the engine and gearbox. It improves low-down torque and fills in the torque gaps between zero and the 5,800-rpm maximum engine speed.
Jeep doesn't give sprint time estimates for the Wagoneer, but they wouldn't matter on a car like this anyway. What you want in a luxury car is effortless low-down grunt, and this old-school engine with its modern electric assistance provides just that. The upshot of this new powertrain is the excellent tow rating. In the proper configuration, the Wagoneer can tow a superb 10,000 lbs.
As standard, the Jeep Wagoneer SUV comes with rear-wheel drive. You can upgrade to 4x4, but then you still need to decide between two 4WD systems. The base Quadra-Trac I is a permanent 4WD system without low range and is available exclusively on the Series II. It has a 60/40 torque split and aims to provide traction in cold-weather states and some light off-roading.
If you're more serious about going off the beaten track, Quadra-Trac II is a better investment. It also comes with permanent 4WD but adds active low-range. Regardless of whether they're 4x2 or 4x4, all models come with a limited-slip differential fitted to the rear axle. Quadra-Trac II is available exclusively on the Series III.
Wagoneer models use a 5.7-liter naturally aspirated V8 engine coupled with a mild-hybrid assist system. The latter can add 16 hp and 130 lb-ft of torque. The resulting power output is 392 hp at 5,600 rpm and 404 lb-ft of torque at 3,950 rpm. Considering the torque-filling application of the electric motor, the maximum torque arrives quite late in the rev range. The maximum engine speed is 5,800 rpm, which means the full torque is only available for a short 1,850 rpm burst.
Luckily, the Wagoneer is equipped with an 8-speed automatic transmission with a wide spread of gear ratios.
Thanks to the incorporation of an eTorque motor, the stop/start system works beautifully. Before mild-hybrid systems came along, cars had to rely on deep-cycle batteries to do the heavy lifting, and most of these systems felt jerky. In the Wagoneer, you don't notice it. There's no need to get in and immediately disengage the stop/start system, which is our standard MO. The mild-hybrid system also allows the car to coast for short periods of time, completely shutting down the engine. It's not as advanced as a full-on plug-in hybrid system, but when it comes to big V8 engines, you take every free mile you can get.
As for the gearbox, it does an excellent job. In a luxury vehicle like this, it only has one real purpose. It has to fade into the background, providing smooth, seamless shifts. The eight-speed gearbox is particularly good at this, so we're more than happy to give it our stamp of approval.
The Wagoneer uses a similar suspension setup as the Ram 1500, widely recognized as the most refined truck available. It has double wishbones up front and multi-link coil-springs at the rear. This basic setup is already good enough to make the Wagoneer feel relaxed and compliant over bad surfaces. The Series II uses the basic suspension mentioned above, while the Series III gains the Quadra-Lift air suspension. The latter further enhances the comfort levels to a point where the Wagoneer now sits at the pinnacle of what can be done with a body-on-frame SUV. It's certainly a giant leap forward compared to the likes of the Nissan Armada and Toyota Land Cruiser.
There's no getting around the fact that the Wagoneer is a big SUV, though. To compensate for this, Jeep developed a variable steering system. The steering is extremely light, making it easy to move around in tight spaces. At higher speeds, the steering becomes heavier and requires less input. As for off-roading, the Wagoneer can do it. We mentioned the impressive approach, breakover, and departure angles earlier, which work a charm when combined with the Quadra-Drive II system that has low range and a mechanical limited-slip differential.
If you have no need for such hardcore features, you can select from a basic, and slightly more advanced 4WD system. Quadra-Trac I is a full-time system that does everything for you, while Quadra-Trac II comes with a transfer case with low range. We don't really see the point of the middle option as most Wagoneer customers fall into two categories: the off-roaders who will be happy to pay for the optional Advanced All-Terrain Package, and the city slickers who won't really care if they have 2WD or the basic 4WD with Quadra-Trac I.
A mild-hybrid system serves two functions. It provides low-down grunt for effortless acceleration, and because the engine doesn't have to work as hard, it theoretically reduces fuel consumption. Has it worked in the Wagoneer?
Nope. There's just no way the 5.7L V8 can power a 6,000 lbs SUV with the aerodynamic properties of a brick without using lots of fuel. According to the EPA, the RWD Wagoneer consumes 16/22/18 mpg city/highway/combined. With a 4WD system, these figures drop down to 15/20/17 mpg.
Mercifully, the Wagoneer has a substantial 26.5-gallon tank. This gives the 4x2 a theoretical range of 477 miles, while the 4x4 is capable of 451 miles between refills. It may be a thirsty beast, but at least you won't have to visit the gas station twice a day.
There's no doubt that the Jeep's interior will be a significant selling point. Jeep studied the latest interiors and replicated them for the Wagoneer. The minimalist interior is stunning, and material quality is unlike anything we've seen in a Jeep before. Quality is high with soft leather upholstery making it feel warm and inviting. Previous high-end Jeeps like the dismal Commander only offered various shades of grey plastic.
According to Jeep, the interior will last. Every last bit of the cabin was subjected to rigorous testing, which means it was some poor man's job to sit there and open the center armrest storage space thousands of times to ensure it didn't fall apart.
The centerpiece of the minimalist interior is the 10.1-inch Uconnect 5 touchscreen infotainment system. It's configurable and comes standard with split-screen capability. Below the screen, the Wagoneer has separate climate control buttons, just as it should. Finally, there's a beautiful steering wheel. It's the most obvious homage to the old Wagoneer. It may not be to everyone's taste, but we dig the throwback.
Two seating arrangements are available. The standard configuration is 2/3/3, but a seven-seater setup with second-row captain's chairs is available. Passengers in the front get 40.9 inches of legroom and 41.3 inches of headroom. The second-row headroom is 40 inches, coupled with 42.7 inches of legroom. That makes it the most spacious place to be in the new Wagoneer.
Third-row benches usually aren't large enough for adults, but it's less of a problem in the Wagoneer. You won't be able to seat three adults side-by-side back there unless they're of smaller stature, but two adults will be perfectly comfortable with the 36.6 inches of legroom. Thankfully, the headroom is still plentiful, rated at 39 inches. Access to the third row is also good.
As a high-end model, the Wagoneer comes standard with Nappa leather-trimmed seats. You can have it in Global Black or a combination of Sea Salt (white) and Black. We'd stick with the Black interior if you have small kids.
The Grand Wagoneer offers real wood trim, but in the Wagoneer you only get faux dark wood trim. You can tell it's fake because it's just too smooth and the lines are simply too perfect to be the real thing. We don't mind, as it still looks good. It's a giant leap forward from the terrible knock-off bur walnut Jeep used a decade ago. As standard, all Wagoneers get a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
The trunk is impressive, even with all three rows in place, offering a standard 27.4 cubic feet of cargo capacity. This is more than enough for weekly tasks and even the monthly grocery shop. There's simply no need to fold them down to get access to usable space. If you do fold the third row flat, you can expand this to 70.8 cubes, while folding the second row flat gives you 116.7 cubes. If you can't fit it in a Wagoneer, you need a trailer. A power-reclining/folding function for the 60/40 third row is available.
Interior storage space is epic. Each row has at least two cupholders and a storage bin, and as standard, this SUV has eight USB charging ports. Each door also has a capacious pocket. You won't be hearing any complaints from the rear of this massive SUV.
At the price level, the Wagoneer boasts an impressive list of features. The Series I will only be available later, with Series II and III models on sale currently.
Both models come standard with full LED lights, an auto-dimming interior rearview mirror, and a power tailgate. The interior ramps up the luxury, boasting several features you have to pay extra for in more expensive German rivals. Nappa leather is standard, as are 12-way power-adjustable front seats that are heated and ventilated. The driver also gets a memory function for the seat and a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster. Jeep adds keyless entry with push-button start, remote start, wireless phone charging, tri-zone climate control, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
Jeep is seriously upping its safety game with the Wagoneer. As standard, both Wagoneer models have adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, active lane management, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, full-speed forward collision warning with automatic braking, parking sensors front and rear, and a tire pressure monitoring display perfect for off-roading. Naturally, a rearview camera is standard too. The Series III model also boasts a head-up display, while both models can be specced with a tri-pane panoramic sunroof.
The Series II and Series III both come standard with the all-new Uconnect 5C infotainment system with navigation and a 10.1-inch touchscreen display. It's much faster than the old Uconnect system, and the graphics are a big step forward. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connect wirelessly. As standard, you get a six-month trial subscription to SiriusXM, TomTom Traffic, and TomTom Travel. Eight USB ports are standard.
Both models also ship as standard with an Alpine sound system consisting of nine speakers, a subwoofer, and an amplifier. A 19-speaker premium McIntosh sound system is available for the Series III. Another highlight on the options menu is the rear-seat entertainment package. It consists of dual 10.1-inch screens running Amazon Fire TV for Auto, and a USB/HDMI ports for external videos.
You can also add an interactive display for the front passenger. It's a 10.25-inch touchscreen in front of the passenger seat that gives them access to functions like media and navigation. The passenger can also use it for entertainment purposes without distracting the driver. We suspect Jeep just included this as an option so it could state that it has the highest number of screens in any production car. It serves no real purpose, as the passenger can easily just lean over and use the main infotainment hub.
The Wagoneer is brand new with no recalls against its name. We can speculate, however. There's both good and bad news. The 5.7-liter engine was first used in the excavators to build the pyramids, which means it's a reliable powertrain. Then again, Jeep doesn't have the best reputation for reliability and build quality. As proof, look no further than the Jeep Wrangler, first introduced in 2018. Even though it was a late launch, the 2018 model received over 1,200 complaints from customers. The 2019 model received over 390 complaints, which is also high. Since Jeep is so committed to offering prospective owners a luxury experience, we're willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.
One of the big selling points will be the Wagoneer Client Services. In short, you get 24-hour access to a concierge and a five-year dealership maintenance plan that includes oil changes and tire rotations. There is also a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has had the opportunity to review the 2022 Jeep Wagoneer. Except for the Wrangler, Jeep products tend to do well in safety tests. Not great, mind you, just well.
Given the impressive list of standard safety equipment, we think the Wagoneer will continue this trend. And we do expect Jeep will eventually subject the Wagoneer to proper safety testing, as it will likely provide another selling point in the luxury segment if it scores well.
The traditional safety items include multistage front, front-side, and curtain airbags for all three rows. It also includes tire pressure monitoring, hill start assist, traction and stability control, and a rearview camera. And don't forget about the basic Quadra-Trac I 4WD system with its open center differential, meant to provide additional grip even on tarmac. Of course, this does not apply to the standard 2WD model.
Jeep includes almost every available driver-assistance system in the Wagoneer. The list includes adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, active lane management, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, full-speed forward collision warning with active braking, and front/rear parking sensors. The standard rearview camera can be upgraded to a 360-degree surround-view camera system. More often than not, these are optional extras even on high-end SUVs like the Mercedes-Benz GLE.
Optimally, buyers can also opt for parallel/perpendicular parking assistance, intersection collision assist, drowsy driver detection, and traffic sign recognition.
In our review, we found the Wagoneer to be a brilliant SUV, taking the fight directly to the Europeans and emerging victorious. Similarly sized rivals from BMW and Mercedes cost anywhere from $75,000 to $100,000, and that's before you start adding options. Jeep simply gives you loads of kit as standard, with only the high-end stuff left on the options menu.
We also like the model selection. The Series II, which comes standard with Quadra-Trac I in 4x4 guise, is perfect for the family who wants a large luxury SUV that can provide additional grip when it snows or rains. It can be ordered with an off-road pack, which is perfect for the more adventurous family that likes exploring in comfort and style. The V8 engine is powerful and the tow rating is impressive. It uses a lot of fuel, but large SUVs always do.
There's also an emotional side to the purchase of a Wagoneer. It's a beloved name, right up there with the likes of Mustang, Miata, GTI, Wrangler, and Defender. We won't deny that it feels good to have a proper USA competitor that can stand toe-to-toe with European cars when it comes to quality and luxury.
The Wagoneer will eventually be available in three trims: Series I, II, and III. Series I models will only be introduced at a later stage. For now, the Series II has an MSRP of $68,845, and the more upmarket Series III retails for $73,845. The price of the Jeep Wagoneer excludes the $2,000 destination charge. Upgrading to the 4x4 system adds $3,000 to the price.
There are currently two trim levels available: Series II and Series III. Both are powered by a naturally aspirated 5.7-liter V8 with mild-hybrid assist. Power is sent to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission, and a 4x4 drivetrain is available as an optional extra.
The specification differences between the trim levels aren't vastly different. Both cars have LED exterior lights, a power tailgate, keyless entry with push-button start, remote start, tri-zone climate control, an auto-dimming interior rearview mirror, and 12-way power-adjustable heated and ventilated front seats. Nappa leather is standard.
The standard safety specs consist of the usual airbags and electronic nannies, plus adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, active lane management, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, full-speed forward collision warning with automatic braking, and parking sensors front and rear.
Both models have a 10.25 digital instrument cluster and a 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity, and Wagoneer Connect. Both models get a nine-speaker Alpine Sound system, while the Series III gives you the option of upgrading to a 19-speaker McIntosh entertainment system.
The Series III adds 20-inch alloys with black noise pockets, a load-leveling rear suspension, heated rear seats, heated second-row seats, and Quadra-Trac II (4x4 models). The Series III also has access to more luxurious optional packages.
There are several packages available for the Wagoneer. The Series II can be equipped with the $995 Heavy-Duty Trailer-Tow package and the $1,995 Rear-Seat Entertainment Group. The latter is no longer DVD-based but uses Amazon Fire TV. Finally, the automotive world has caught up. The $2,995 Premium Group adds 22-inch alloy wheels, adjustable roof rail crossbars, a cargo shade, and a tri-pane panoramic sunroof. The $3,295 Convenience Group includes auto high beams, drowsy driver detection, a head-up display, heated second-row seats, intersection collision assist, park assist, a 360-degree camera system, traffic sign recognition, and second-row manual window shades. For $995, you can also convert the second row to a set of captain's chairs, though this takes the seating capacity down to seven. The Series II in 4x4 format can be equipped with the Advanced All-Terrain Group. It retails for $2,295 and adds 18-inch alloys with all-terrain rubber, a two-speed transfer case with low range, a 3.92 rear axle ratio, an electronic rear limited-slip differential, several skid plates, an air suspension, and a removable tow hook.
For the most part, the Series III can be equipped with the same packages, though at a lower cost since it already comes with some additional features attached. Here, the Convenience Group retails for $2,195, the second-row captain's chairs drop down to $595, and the Advanced All-Terrain Group for the 4x4 costs about half, as the Quadra-Trac II system is already standard. The Premium Group costs a lot more, though. For $5,495, you get everything included in the Series II package, but Jeep adds the McIntosh MX950 entertainment system.
Considering everything that comes standard on the base model, we'd pocket the $5,000 difference for optional packages and choose the Series II with 4x4. Paint it Baltic-Gray, add the dual-tone off-road alloys, and stick with the black interior. We'd also add the Premium Group for all the comfort, and the Convenience Group for the added safety. The rear-seat entertainment is pricey, but it should keep the kids amused for hours. Finally, we'd add the Advanced All-Terrain Group, just in case the mood to wander off-road ever strikes. All of that takes the price up to $84,020 including the destination charge, which sounds like a lot. But it is a fully-loaded three-row SUV with all the latest tech and real off-road ability.
There's a significant price gap between the Wagoneer and the Grand Wagoneer. A top-spec Wagoneer Series III retails for $73,845, while the base Grand Wagoneer Series I costs $87,845. That's a $14,000 difference, so what does the Grand Wagoneer offer? It has distinctive front and rear fascias, a more extensive 12.3-inch infotainment system, the McIntosh 19-speaker sound system, 24-way power-adjustable front seats, a standard air suspension, automated parking, Quadra-Trac II, a tri-pane sunroof, and a 6.4-liter V8 with 471 hp and 455 lb-ft of torque. The smaller 5.7-liter in the Wagoneer only produces 392 hp and 404 lb-ft of torque. As a matter of interest, we added all of the available optional extras to the Wagoneer Series II 4x4 to see if it comes in at a better price than the base Grand Wagoneer. The price difference is around $2,000, so we'd just bite the bullet and get the more luxurious entry-level Grand Wagoneer.
The Grand Cherokee L is perfect for those who want three rows at a more affordable price. Pricing for the Grand Cherokee L starts at $36,995, and there's a large selection of models going up to the 4x4 only Summit Reserve. We don't think you'd feel cheated opting for the more affordable Grand Cherokee L. The Summit 4x4 retails for just over $58,000. For that, you get Nappa leather seats, quad-zone climate control, 16-way power-adjustable seats with a massage function, and a driver assistance suite that consists of everything you get on the Wagoneer, but also a 360-degree camera system. The Summit also comes standard with the new 10.1-inch Uconnect 5 touchscreen infotainment system with a nine-speaker sound system. On the downside, it ships standard with a 3.6-liter V6 engine, asking for an additional $3,295 to upgrade to the 5.7-liter V8 (sans mild-hybrid assistance). The Grand Cherokee L is not as spacious, but it does have a third row that's suitable for adults. If you can afford a Wagoneer, it's worth going for, but the average consumer is a bit more careful after a somewhat tumultuous 2020. The Grand Cherokee L is not as much of a downgrade as you'd expect.
The most popular competitors of 2022 Jeep Wagoneer: