Are large luxury SUV buyers ready to spend six figures for a Jeep?
Jeep is finally entering the large SUV and large luxury SUV segments with the 2022 Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer. The original Wagoneer was introduced for 1963, and was sold until 1991 with only minimal changes. Later versions of classic Wagoneers are well known for their faux wood-paneling, though sadly that feature is not on the 2022s. If I may be vulnerable for just a moment, I’ll go out on a limb and say that I’m ready for wood paneling to make a comeback! In any case, similar to the classic Wagoneers of yesteryear, these are true trucks with body-on-frame architecture. The new Wagoneers are not car-based crossovers.
The more affordable Wagoneer targets customers who might otherwise consider a well-equipped trim of the Chevrolet Tahoe or Ford Expedition. The luxury-focused Grand Wagoneer has the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator set in its sights.
Just like Lee Greenwood, Wagoneers are proud to be an American. They’re built in Warren, Michigan, and little American flags accompany the “Wagoneer” badging. Speaking of badges, you won’t find a Jeep logo anywhere on these big behemoths. Stellantis, Jeep’s parent company, would have you consider the Wagoneer to be a “premium extension of the brand,” separate and distinct from ordinary Jeeps.
2022 Jeep Wagoneer & Grand Wagoneer: Styling
The 2022 Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are a pair of handsome trucks. Even if they lack Jeep badges, they’re instantly recognizable as such due to the familiar slotted grille design. They wear enough modern touches to avoid gauche retro styling, yet the upright and square appearance references the Wagoneers of old. To my eyes, as a fan of classic SUV lines, they look fantastic. I’d go so far as to say the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are the most attractive SUVs in their respective classes.
2022 Jeep Wagoneer & Grand Wagoneer: Interior
If Jeep’s intent was to create a premium experience with the new Wagoneers, it appears that they’ve hit their mark with the interior. In the Wagoneer, Nappa leather upholstery is standard. The style and materials used is beyond what you’ll find in the full-size SUVs from Ford or GM. And the Grand Wagoneer is even more luxurious. That model has available quilted leather seats, satin walnut wood, and real aluminum trim detailing. Interior space should be highly competitive as well, since Jeep claims best-in-class total passenger volume, cargo space behind the third row seat, and second and third row legroom.
2022 Jeep Wagoneer & Grand Wagoneer: Powertrain
The 2022 Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer exclusively use V-8 engines. On the Wagoneer, it’s a 5.7-liter that makes 392 horsepower. The standard Wagoneer is actually a mild hybrid, and uses a small electric motor and generator plus a small battery pack, to aid in fuel efficiency. Regardless, even though Jeep hasn’t released fuel economy estimates yet, even with this hybrid configuration I’d expect the Wagoneer to be a thirsty ol’ girl. A Prius this is not.
Move up to the Grand Wagoneer, and you get a 6.4-liter V-8 engine that’s good for 471 horsepower. There’s no pretense of efficient driving with this engine, as it lacks the hybrid components of the Wagoneer. Like you’d probably expect of any V-8 engine making nearly 500 horsepower, don’t be shocked when you discover the Grand Wagoneer isn’t a fuel efficiency champ.
If fuel economy might be lacking, towing capacity is not. A properly-equipped Wagoneer can tow up to 10,000 pounds.
2022 Jeep Wagoneer & Grand Wagoneer: Cool Features & Innovations
The 2022 Wagoneers go all in on screens. They’re everywhere, and in the Grand Wagoneer, Jeep brags that there are 75″ worth of screens throughout the interior. The front passenger has their own screen, directly in front of them on the dash. Through this screen, the passenger can assist with the navigation system, control the rear-seat entertainment system, or stream Amazon Fire TV. And because I know my mom will ask, there is a filter on this passenger screen to prevent it from distracting the driver. Between the front passenger screen and screens for the rear seat passengers, everyone can watch their own selection from Amazon’s catalog, listening with their own headphones. If you take a road trip in a Wagoneer, you may not have to speak with your family even once! Beyond video entertainment, McIntosh premium sound systems are available with up to 23 speakers.
Available at launch will be a hands-on autonomous driver assist system. It will use adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist with lane centering to control position and speed, but it requires the driver’s hands to be on the wheel. Coming later is a hands-free system which is available for use only on approved roads. This sounds similar to Super Cruise, available in some General Motors vehicles, which I discussed in my previous blog post. Otherwise, the expected suite of advanced safety systems will be present here as well.
As Jeeps, you would expect the 2022 Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer to have respectable off-road chops. And they shouldn’t disappoint. First, you have your choice of three different four-wheel drive systems. Plus, an available adjustable air suspension will provide up to 10 inches of ground clearance. Additionally, if you want to do some Oregon Trail cosplay and ford a river, you can do so in your 2022 Wagoneer in up to 2 feet of water.
2022 Jeep Wagoneer & Grand Wagoneer: Premium Experience, and Premium Price
Another way that Jeep will attempt to establish the Wagoneer as a luxury sub-brand is through Wagoneer Client Services. This includes 24/7 concierge support, and vehicle pickup and delivery for service with a loaner. Additionally, oil changes and tire rotations are free for five years. Jeep is also promising a special purchasing experience, since dealerships must pass special certification to sell these models.
The 2022 Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will have a premium price to match the vehicle’s luxurious and stylish accommodations. To start, the base trim Wagoneer (which is not available at launch, and is oddly not available with four-wheel drive) will be $59,995. That is about $10,000 more than the starting price of the Tahoe and Expedition. However, once you option the Chevy and Ford to match the Wagoneer’s higher level of standard equipment, the price is more competitive. But more challenging to justify is the fact that the least expensive Wagoneer with four-wheel drive starts at $72,995.
If you have your heart set on the Grand Wagoneer, the most affordable version will set you back $88,995. This is about $12,000 more than your basic Cadillac Escalade or Lincoln Navigator, and more expensive even than the BMW X7 and Mercedes-Benz GLS. At this starting price, this is Land Rover Range Rover territory, folks. The most expensive trim of the Grand Wagoneer is a startling $105,995.
I could see the standard 2022 Wagoneer being a sales success. Once the Jeep faithful outgrow their Grand Cherokees, they may be pleased to finally have a larger option without switching to a competing brand. And it seems like there’s enough Jeep-ness here to keep the devotees satisfied, from the styling to the capability of the Wagoneer.
However, the luxury-minded Grand Wagoneer might be a bigger ask. Luxury SUV buyers haven’t had much reason to set foot in Jeep showrooms before. Both the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are unquestionably upscale in their accommodations, and they look fantastic. And it’s clear that Jeep is trying to remove the association with the common folk in their Jeep Renegades and Compasses, in creating a unique purchasing and ownership experience for Wagoneer customers. But it remains to be seen whether that’s enough. And, whether customers are ready for a Jeep with a six figure price tag, no matter how nice it is.
However, even if you’re in love with the new Wagoneers, hold off on putting down that $500 reservation at Wagoneer.com. Many Jeep models have a spotty reliability history, so I’d recommend waiting for at least the first year until reliability data begins rolling in on the Wagoneers. At that point, check back in with me and I’ll let you know whether the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are Tom the Car Pro approved.
Thanks for reading!