Jeep moves upstream. The last time Jeep placed the Wagoneer name on an SUV was in 1991. For 2022, Jeep has revived the Wagoneer name after a roughly 30-year hiatus in an upscale package. Huge, imposing, and bold, there’s no missing the Wagoneer, even in the competitive full-size class.
Not only does the Wagoneer give Jeep a competitive body-on-frame SUV for the large segment, but it also helps kick off a new sub-brand for the automaker. The goal with the Wagoneer is to prove that it can build a three-row SUV that can contend with other American brands. Has it worked? You bet.
Unmistakably a Jeep. Thoughts are split on the Wagoneer’s design. Some may be turned off by the look, but it’s certainly unique and gallant. Whether you like the SUV’s design or not, there’s no denying that it looks like a Jeep. While the Wagoneer looks like a Jeep, you won’t find a “Jeep” badge anywhere on the SUV.
The Wagoneer wears Jeep’s iconic seven-slot grille, though it’s been updated for the large SUV. It’s somewhat shorter in length, is angled slightly forward, and sits higher up on the front bumper than on other Jeeps. Seeing the smaller seven-slot grille on an SUV as large as the Wagoneer only works because other elements, like the headlights and air intake on the front fascia, are also slim in size.
The rear end of the Wagoneer is the most controversial part of the SUV. It’s tall, upright, and overly boxy. The relatively small taillights throw the rear proportions out of wack, but result in a distinct look. The boxy design also allows the Wagoneer to have U-shaped side windows that mimic the original model’s.
Packed with goodies. Jeep will offer the Wagoneer in three trims — Series I, Series II, and Series III. With the Series I set to come out at a later date than the other two models, Jeep hasn’t provided all of the SUV’s details yet. With a starting MSRP of $69,996 for the Series II, the Wagoneer isn’t cheap, even by large SUV standards. Still, you get a lot of features for that price.
The Wagoneer Series II comes with Nappa leather upholstery, 12-way power front seats, heated and ventilated front seats, a 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster, 21-inch wheels, a hands-free power liftgate, a 10.1-inch touchscreen, wireless smartphone compatibility, and Jeep’s latest Uconnect 5 infotainment system. Jeep offers a variety of optional features on the Series II that make the Wagoneer feel even more high-end. Some of our favorites include two 10.1-inch rear screens, a tri-pane sunroof, 22-inch wheels, and air suspension.
With so many options to choose from and a well-equipped model from the get-go, most consumers will find that the Series II will fit their needs, especially with a few optional extras.
Space and luxury for everyone. As one would expect from an SUV as large as the Wagoneer, the large Jeep offers a spacious cabin in all three rows of seats. Additionally, the Wagoneer offers a competitive amount of total cargo space with 116.7 cubic feet. The Wagoneer’s rating of 27.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row is one of the larger figures for the class.
Even more impressive than the amount of space on the inside is just how luxurious the Wagoneer is. Its cabin is wrapped in high-end materials and features a stylish design. The seats themselves are plush and offer plenty of space for passengers to stretch out on long drives.
The way the Wagoneer handles also helps it feel luxurious. The SUV’s softly-tuned ride smooths out bumps and imperfections in the road to result in a capable cruiser that won’t beat you up on a cross-country trip. The available adaptive air suspension results in an even more luscious ride and can raise the Wagoneer to provide up to 10 inches of ground clearance for light off-roading excursions.
Not an athlete. Because of its large size and top-heavy design, no one considers a Wagoneer expecting it to be a high-performance SUV. Every Wagoneer comes with a 5.7-liter V8 engine that’s added by a 48-volt mild-hybrid system. The powertrain is rated at 391 horsepower and 404 pound-feet of torque. With a zero-to-60 mph time of 7.3 seconds, the powertrain does a decent job of getting down the road, but it’s not what we would call quick.
Another downside to the powertrain is fuel economy. Tipping the scales at up to 6,560 pounds, the Wagoneer isn’t a light vehicle. And it comes with a powerful V8 engine. So, fuel economy was never going to be good. Rear-wheel-drive models are rated at up to 18 mpg combined, while four-wheel-drive models can get up to 17 mpg combined.
Then there’s the way the Wagoneer handles. The large SUV focuses on being a comfortable vehicle, not a canyon carver. Its soft suspension and top-heavy design result in a large amount of body roll around corners. The SUV’s body-on-frame platform can make the Wagoneer feel clumsy at slow speeds.
Final thoughts. Consumers have been waiting decades for Jeep to come out with a three-row SUV. While the 2022 Wagoneer is late to the party, it was definitely worth the wait. Huge, bold, luxurious, and high-tech, the Wagoneer is a capable large SUV with Jeep’s premium touch. Get past the sticker shock, and the Wagoneer does the historic nameplate proud.
The majority of the Wagoneer’s downsides are to be expected from a large SUV. Body-on-frame SUVs rarely feel athletic around corners or get good fuel economy. These SUVs focus on other things. Still, it would’ve been nice to see the Wagoneer have better fuel economy figures and a more affordable price tag.
The GMC Yukon isn’t as luxurious or as high-tech as the Wagoneer, but it’s available with three powertrains, which includes an available turbodiesel engine, an off-road-ready AT4 model, and just as much interior space.
The Ford Expedition is available with a more powerful twin-turbo V6 engine that’s rated at up to 400 horsepower and can get up to 19 mpg combined. Has a similar amount of interior space as the Wagoneer, but isn’t nearly as luxurious, comfortable, or high-tech.
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