2021 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Series I
Class: Premium Large SUV
Miles driven: 253
Fuel used: 18.7 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 13.5 mpg
|CG Report Card|
|Room and Comfort||A-|
|Power and Performance||A|
|Fit and Finish||A|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.|
|Engine Specs||471-hp 6.4-liter|
Driving mix: 55% city, 45% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 13/18/15 (mpg city/highway/combined)
Fuel type: Premium gas
Base price: $87,845 (not including $2000 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Heavy Duty Trailer Tow Package ($1295), Velvet Red Pearl Coat/Black two-tone paint ($595)
Price as tested: $91,735
The great: Cavernous cabin for both people and cargo; satisfying acceleration; lavish interior materials
The good: Brimming with high-end tech features; comes standard with off-road hardware befitting a Jeep; comfortable ride
The not so good: Thirsty for premium gasoline; luxury-brand pricing; feels every bit as big as it is in close-quarters maneuvering
In the same vein as those childhood riddles about a door not being a door when it’s ajar, when is a Jeep not a Jeep? When it’s a Grand Wagoneer.
Work your away around and through the all-new 2022 premium large SUV and you’ll be hard-pressed to find that 4-letter word. (Our First Spin report sussed out a couple magnifying-glass-worthy exceptions.) Block letters on the front doors and the liftgate—where they’re 1.38 inches tall—proclaim the Grand Wagoneer. A badge on the steering-wheel hub reminds the driver what’s at his command, but just for good measure the name is spelled out again on the standard wood instrument-panel trim where it passes over the glovebox.
The Jeep folks who build the Grand Wagoneer and its cheaper but no smaller Wagoneer running mate contend these are “extensions” of the well-regarded brand as a rationale for keeping the family name well hidden. Indeed, lofty starting prices—the top two Grands exceed $100,000—seemingly don’t square with historic connotations of the Jeep brand. Still, the Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer names are deeply rooted in Jeep history, having been used between 1963 and 1992 for a family-size wagon that blended utility and off-road capability with increasingly civilizing comforts and conveniences.
Consumer Guide’s first full test of the Grand Wagoneer was in the baseline Series I model, one of four trim levels offered at introduction. Even then it started at $89,845 with delivery (a $2000 fee that actually exceeded the combined cost of the Velvet Red Pearl-Coat paint and heavy-duty trailering package that were added to the truck). The Grand Wagoneer is Jeep’s bid to enter the full-size luxury-SUV class populated by the likes of the Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator, BMW X7, and Lexus LX. Meanwhile, the Wagoneer will be more in tune with competitors such as the Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon, Ford Expedition, Nissan Armada, and others.
Like most rivals in their competitive sets, these new, uh, Jeeps feature a body shell atop a separate truck-based frame. They share a 123-inch wheelbase but have different frontal styling, equipment complements, and engines. Motivation for the Grand Wagoneer is the 6.4-liter Hemi V8 used by several Stellantis North America cars and trucks. Here it is tuned for 471 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 455 lb-ft of torque at 4400 rpm. Power goes through an 8-speed automatic transmission to a Quadra-Drive II 4-wheel-drive system with a two-speed transfer case, hill-descent control, and electronic limited-slip rear axle that’s standard in Grands but optional in Wagoneers.
Even at a curb weight of 6340 pounds for the Series I, the big V8 marshals its healthy helping of torque for snappy launches and ready highway passing. Lean into the gas pedal a little hard and you’ll coax some Hemi attitude out of the Grand Cherokee but otherwise it is as well-mannered as is appropriate for a luxury SUV. The smooth transmission never seems out of its element. Towing capacity is a considerable 9850 pounds. Fuel economy, however, is a victim in all this. In a 107-mile test run composed of 53 percent city-type driving, this reviewer recorded just 14.2 mpg. That’s close to the EPA combined-mileage estimate of 15 mpg. The city rating is 13 mpg, with 18 expected on the open road.
The test vehicle displayed a comfortably absorbent ride on 20-inch wheels. (Series II and III and Obsidian models sport 22-inch rims.) Adjustable “Quadra-Lift” air suspension is standard to help soften the blows but body control never really gets sloppy. Steering isn’t lightning quick, but drivers won’t find themselves fighting the wheel. Braking is progressive and prompt. Standard “Selec-Terrain” traction management alters shift behavior and torque distribution to match surface conditions. “Rock,” “Sand/Mud,” “Snow,” “Auto,” and “Sport” settings are accessed via a toggle switch on the console.
All Grand Wagoneers start with 7-passenger seating in a generously roomy cabin with excellent leg- and headroom in the first two rows. The third row has genuine adult room—perhaps enough for three trim ones—though headroom is slightly reduced. Individual first- and second-row seats are eminently comfortable and supportive, and even the third-row seats are nicely padded. Front and middle seats are heated. The fronts are also ventilated and fitted with seat-back massagers.
Most of the key differences that separate the Series I from higher-level models are found inside. For instance, Nappa (versus Palermo) leather seats; lack of front passenger-seat memory; conventional (versus camera-view) rearview mirror; cloth (versus suede) headliner. But an abundance of padded surfaces, the wood trim, and a raft of tech features make even the entry-level Grand Wagoneer live up to its first name. The 19-speaker McIntosh audio system is a thing of aural beauty. The Uconnect 5 infotainment system with navigation and a 12-inch screen, is easy to work—though this driver wasn’t so keen on the capacitive-touch seat and steering-wheel heat buttons next to the info screen. They lack precision unless you hit them just right. The 4-zone climate-control system has its own large and colorful display but it takes repetitive tapping on “slider” graphics to change temperature settings. A few of the more advanced driver-assistance and safety-monitoring features are available at extra cost or require stepping up to a higher-level model.
For personal-item storage, the glovebox is smaller than you might expect and the front console box is shallow—but it does contain a combination-access lock box. The console between the middle-row seats has a deep storage bin and a touchscreen for climate controls. A maximum of 94.2 cubic feet of cargo space is available behind the front seats. When retracted, the 60/40 third-row seats and individual second-row seats form an expansive flat load floor, but with a considerable gap behind the middle seats, and the console sticks up to present an obstacle to loading long items.
Jeeps have always strived to take their drivers and passengers further and higher than other vehicles might go. Now the new Grand Wagoneer is trying to expand the boundaries of Jeep luxury.
2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Series I
Click below for enlarged images
2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Series I
2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Series I
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