Jeep products are one of the most recognizable brands in the U.S. with their iconic seven slat front grilles, which are now adorning the revived Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer for 2022, exactly 29 years after the discontinuation of the model.
This Jeep’s appearance generated comments from friends and strangers during my test-drive, as it mimics today’s typical three-row SUV – high wheel arches, slanted windshield, large side windows, steady beltline plus wrap-around lattice for the air dam below the chrome encircled slats and headlights.
Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are the same size, but the upscale Grand has different exterior cosmetics, more standard features/options and boasts a more muscular standard engine.
Wagoneer’s rebirth is part of the franchise goal of generating more sales in the profitable SUV niche.. The Wagoneer will compete on price against three-row SUVs like Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator, and the less costly but market dominant Chevy Tahoe and Ford Expedition.
We tested Series III, above trims I and II, with standard Quadra-Drive 4X4 which transfers available torque to a single wheel if needed, and also tested options for 10,000-pound towing power, cutting-edge driver safety features, a 360-degree camera, premium MacIntosh audio system and a three-pane sunroof. Option pricing was not available on our tester.
Although the Wagoneer is never fully electric, it does use a 48-Volt eTorque hybrid system to improve low-end torque and help make the stop/start relatively seamless.
On pavement, the three-ton Wagoneer performs well with 20-inch all-season tires, creating a cushioned ride, decent handling with some lean in tight turns.
Off-road, the Wagoneer has adjustable air suspension height with Quadra-Lift; five drive modes including sand/mud, snow, and rock; a two-speed transfer case and locking rear differential and front-axle disconnect. It doesn’t disappoint off-road but with its high price, it doesn’t encourage high risk off-trail forays.
Inside, the cabin has a spacious design; rich materials; a configurable 10.25-inch gauge display and a graphically sharp 10.1-inch dashboard touchscreen with U-Connect 5 for navigation/infotainment/entertainment and remote features.
Passenger volume is tops in its class, occupant seating is comfortable for eight (captain chairs and seating for seven) and third row access easy for adults. Seats lower automatically and cargo space is superior.
Tech features include remote software updates (we experienced one after a brief audio failure), wireless charging, several USB ports and EV outlets, Alexa integration, phone apps and excellent voice-recognition and navigation routing.Visors extend, there is a spare tire and for a fee, Jeep Wave offers three years of maintenance.
At a Glance
LIKES: Plush cabin, cushioned ride, versatility, quiet, off-road capability, tow muscle
DISLIKES: Pricey, on-road lean in sharp turns, poor mileage
BOTTOM LINE: Family hauler worthy of its historic heritage
Fact File: 2022 Jeep Wagoneer Series III 4X4
5.7-liter, Hemi-V-8, 48-volt hybrid battery assist
392-hp @ 5,600 rpm
404 ft-lbs. @ 3,950 rpm
16 mpg city/20 mpg hwy
26.5-gallon tank, regular
0-60 in just under 7.6 seconds
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Tom Crosby has written more than 1,000 automotive reviews and is a retired Vice President of Communications for AAA Carolinas. He has seen dramatic changes in the automotive industry over the past 25 years and ponders the advent of self-driving vehicles, electric-only vehicles, sophisticated in-car telematics, and the financial challenges facing automotive manufacturers in an increasingly congested worldwide market.