A Closer Look at the Pros and Cons of the 2022 Jeep Wagoneer

    The Jeep Grand Wagoneer: A Review of Luxury and Mainstream Appeal

    The Jeep Grand Wagoneer has been compared to Icarus, the famed figure from Greek mythology who flew too close to the sun. In its attempt to soar to the heights of luxury, the Grand Wagoneer may have missed the mark. When I had the opportunity to test-drive the vehicle during the summer of 2021, I couldn’t help but notice its shortcomings. The rough ride and underwhelming power overshadowed the sumptuous cabin and advanced tech that the Grand Wagoneer offered.

    However, there is a silver lining to this story. After spending a week with the standard model, I realized that the Wagoneer, without all the grandeur, actually fits much better in the mainstream segment. As the first full-size three-row SUV from America’s off-road icon, the Wagoneer is a more sensible choice for those seeking a reliable and functional vehicle without the extravagant luxury. While I wouldn’t choose the Wagoneer over competitors like the Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator, or Land Rover Range Rover, if I were in the market for a Chevy Tahoe or Ford Expedition, the plain-Jane Wagoneer would be a strong contender.

    Visually, it’s hard to spot the differences between the Wagoneer and the Grand Wagoneer. The cabin of both models exudes luxury and sophistication, with high-quality materials such as leather, wood, and metal accents. The Wagoneer loses the lower central display found in the Grand Wagoneer, but in return, gains more intuitive physical controls. The fit and finish of the Wagoneer’s cabin are truly exceptional, setting a high standard for the class.

    The seating in the Wagoneer is just as comfortable and spacious as its upscale counterpart. The 12-way seats provide ample adjustability, and the second and third rows offer plenty of room for passengers. However, compared to the Grand Wagoneer, the standard model lacks the standard second-row captain’s chairs and power-operated third row. Despite these minor drawbacks, the overall cabin experience in the Wagoneer is fantastic.

    In terms of performance, I must admit that the Wagoneer doesn’t quite measure up to its competitors. With a 5.7-liter V8/mild-hybrid combo producing 392 horsepower and 404 pound-feet of torque, the Wagoneer falls short in terms of power. The Ford Expedition and Chevrolet Tahoe, with their superior engines, offer a more energetic driving experience. However, when comparing the Wagoneer to the standard 5.3-liter Chevy Tahoe, the Jeep holds its own. It delivers strong off-the-line acceleration and a satisfying engine note as the revs climb. While it may require a heavier foot to achieve the same level of performance as its competitors, the Wagoneer still offers a respectable driving experience.

    One of the complaints about the Grand Wagoneer was its rough ride. Surprisingly, in the context of a non-luxury offering, the Wagoneer’s optional air suspension actually performs quite well. It may not match the comfort of a Range Rover or Escalade, but it comes close, especially when compared to a fully equipped Tahoe with air springs and magnetic dampers. The suspension effectively absorbs bumps and road imperfections, while the large SUV feels stable and composed on rough city streets.

    The Wagoneer truly shines when it comes to the technology it offers. Equipped with Uconnect 5 and a standard 10.1-inch central touchscreen, the Wagoneer’s tech suite is already impressive. The graphics are sharp, the response times are quick, and the overall user experience is excellent. Additional features, such as the standard 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, rear-seat entertainment system with built-in Amazon Fire TV, and the promise of future hands-free driving capabilities, make the Wagoneer a technophile’s dream. The only disappointment is that the excellent 19-speaker McIntosh audio system is only available as part of a $6,000 option package, making it an expensive upgrade.

    While the Wagoneer has many positive attributes, it does have a few drawbacks. One notable issue is the occasional glitch in the touch-capacitive button for the driver’s heated seat. It froze up and became unresponsive, which is frustrating, particularly in cold weather. Additionally, the seat heaters have a tendency to shut off prematurely, reducing their effectiveness. These issues may seem minor, but they have been consistently reported by other testers and need to be addressed.

    Fuel efficiency is another area where the Wagoneer falls short. With its weight and powertrain, the vehicle is not particularly fuel-efficient. The four-wheel-drive model achieves an average of 17 combined miles per gallon, which is comparable to the Chevy Tahoe with a 5.3-liter V8 engine. However, it pales in comparison to the Ford Expedition’s modest advantage of 18 combined miles per gallon with its smaller V6 engine. Given its lackluster efficiency, the Wagoneer’s fuel consumption is disappointing, especially considering its less-impressive performance.

    The price of the Wagoneer is another factor to consider. Starting at $60,995, the base model is not cheap. The Series II featured in this review comes in at $71,640, while the Series III is priced at $76,640. Adding four-wheel drive increases the cost by an additional $3,000. There is no denying that the Jeep comes with a hefty price tag. However, considering its exceptional technology, luxurious cabin, and overall value, the Wagoneer still manages to hold its own against competitors like the Chevy Tahoe and Ford Expedition, both of which offer more affordable options but without the same level of refinement and features.

    In conclusion, the Jeep Grand Wagoneer’s attempt to compete in the luxury segment may have been a bit ambitious. However, the standard Wagoneer, with its more mainstream appeal, finds its footing in the market. With its enticing cabin, advanced tech suite, and a price tag that, while high, offers considerable value, the Wagoneer is a compelling choice for those seeking a reliable and well-equipped SUV. While it may not outshine the luxury SUVs in its class, the Wagoneer certainly holds its own against its mainstream counterparts. So, if you’re in the market for a Chevy Tahoe or Ford Expedition, don’t overlook the plain-Jane Wagoneer – it just might be the SUV that earns your hard-earned money.

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