(This story has been updated with additional information, including specifications and pricing.)
The Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are back – and luxurious.
The long-awaited debut of what will now be the brand’s flagship model took place in Los Angeles Thursday morning. The new leader of the pack is a full-sized, 8-passenger luxury vehicle ready to challenge names like Navigator and Escalade, among others, for the big dollars spent in the segment.
“We announced we were going to bring an American icon back and expand it into the premium world,” said Christian Meunier, Jeep brand CEO, during an earlier background webinar about the vehicles. The new models, aside from the names, share very little in common with their predecessors. The original Wagoneer was a go-anywhere and haul a lot of stuff while doing it vehicle.
The new Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are supposed to deliver a unique customer experience, separate from their more rugged, off-roading — and downmarket — siblings. The models are not “simply another Jeep,” Meunier explained. They’re definitely not as these are the first Jeeps that are not trail-rated, although officials attribute that to the size of the vehicle more so than their capability.
It’s a new day for Jeep
The new models are “born from Jeep, but their character is different from the rest of the brand,” he said, noting their development stems from the four C’s: culture, consumer, category and character. The culture comes from the brand’s history of innovation and craftsmanship Jeep looks to replicate with the new models. The company targeted a specific type of buyer — the consumer — for the new luxury utes.
“These people live life to the fullest. They enjoy every bit of it. They don’t let friends, status symbols or someone else’s expectation define them, or limit them,” Meunier noted. “No, they are in charge, and they are free. They are free to follow their own path and change it as many times as they want. They don’t seek the perfect life.
“Perfection to them is cold, because it is something unremarkable rational and repeatable. Their life is beautiful because it’s unique, it’s emotional and it’s intense. In a collection of imperfect moments that become memorable experiences. When you leave such a fulfilling life you choose a vehicle with a personality.”
Jeep achieved “category,” the third C, a long time ago as the Wagoneer was a founding father of the large, sport-utility segment. The name carries with it a certain connotation or expectation. The company is confident the new versions of the vehicle will carry forward a unique and notable reputation like their ancestors, but different.
The new models are different
The 2022 Wagoneer underwent a complete reimagination, right down to style of lettering used on the two versions. The exterior hearkens back to the previous design, but it’s definitely the modernized version of that iconic look.
Starting at the front of the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer, both feature the recognizable seven-slot grille Jeep is known for and sliding down the side of the vehicle, the roof and beltline are clearly inspired by the original Wagoneer. However, this is where the similarities with the original end and the differentiation between the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer also begin.
For example, the aforementioned grille looks similar on both variants; however, the Grand Wagoneer features paint-over-chrome laser-etched grille rings, similar to a knurled finish seen on fine watches, officials noted. Additionally, as you go up in scale within the Grand Wagoneer there are differences. The Series III models feature raised aluminum badging with two-piece copperchino-accented letters that add to the refinement and highlights the attention to detail.
There are other differences. Wagoneer models feature LED headlamps, fog lamps, accent badging and a standard side step. Grand Wagoneers feature a two-tone black accent roof, distinctive hood, front-end, grille, unique premium LED lighting, fender flares and power retractable side-steps as standard equipment. Each model incorporates front tow hooks into the front end when equipped with the Heavy-Duty Trailer Tow package.
A world of opulence
The interiors of the 8-passenger utes make a statement. To clear up any misconception about the meaning of “8-passenger,” Jeep executive Tim Anness climbed into the third-row seat during the presentation. At 6-foot 1-inches tall, he sat comfortably in the way back seats. And the seats themselves? Palermo leather, of course.
“This vehicle has got more real wood, more real leather and more real metal than anybody would expect,” said Jim Morrison, head of Jeep Brand, North America. “But it’s really the combination of how the team has put all of that together in a very thoughtful way.”
In addition to the materials, the technology found in the new Wagoneer family is designed to ensure not only the safety of the vehicles occupants, but also their comfort and entertainment. On the Grand Wagoneer there is 75 inches of screen real estate within the entirety of the vehicle, including nearly four feet along the front instrument panel.
The 10.1- and 12-inch touchscreens in the center stack can be configured to the owner’s liking. Additionally, there is a “first in segment” 10.25-inch screen exclusively for the front-seat passenger that cannot be viewed from the driver’s seat.
Uconnect 5 comes standard on all models, and it includes Wi-Fi capability and two Bluetooth-enabled phones can be connected at the same time in the vehicle. It includes all of the other high-end tech options one expects in a vehicle with a price tag that can shoot past $100K quickly.
“I would submit to you can take this Grand Wagoneer interior up against anything in the marketplace. Now, I’m not just saying any SUV, you can take this up against anything in the marketplace. This is the best interior in the market right now.”
Big vehicles need big power
The Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are siblings, not identical twins when it comes to their powerplants. The Wagoneer comes with a 5.7-liter V-8 putting out 392 horsepower and 404 pound-feet of torque. The engine comes with the brand’s next-gen eTorque 48-volt hybrid to help on fuel.
The Grand Wagoneer gets a 6.4-liter V-8 producing 471 hp and 455 lb.-ft. of torque. Cylinder deactivation and variable cam timing help on fuel economy. Both engines are mated to a TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic.
While not trail-rated, the two are plenty capable of off-road adventure, especially when equipped with one of three 4×4 systems. Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II and Quadra-Drive II with active low range and rear electronic limited slip differential are available on both models.
They offer a crawl ratio of 48:1 as well as Selec-Terrain traction management system. Both models can ford 24 inches of water. The Quadra-Lift air suspension delivers a smooth ride and up to 10 inches of ground clearance, and they feature best-in-class towing capability of up to 10,000 pounds.
“Different” comes with a big price tag
Jeep’s push to make a statement in the luxury market comes with a hefty price tag for potential buyers. The Wagoneer starts at $57,995. It’s pricier sibling starts at $86,995 but optioned up the right way and that number jumps past $111,000, according to Jeep.
The brand begins taking reservations through Wagoneer.com. Potential buyers can select one of 12 pre-configured models and a dealer, then place a $500 deposit to get the process started. Vehicles at this price point offer additional services, and the Wagoneers are no except. Wagoneer concierge will reach out and initiate the order process, provide vehicle updates and facilitate dealer involvement in the process.
Deliveries of the 2022 models, which are built in Warren, Michigan, begin in the second half of this year.