2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Review

Jack R. Nerad, Independent Expert | Aug 23, 2021

Introduction - Find the best Jeep deals!

The 2022 Grand Wagoneer (please don't call it a "Jeep") is part of Stellantis' one-two punch at the traditional full-size, 3-row SUV segment. It is aimed squarely at the luxury end of the market, positioned to compete against the Cadillac EscaladeInfiniti QX80Lexus LX 570, and Lincoln Navigator. At the same time, the closely related Wagoneer is poised to take on the Chevrolet TahoeFord ExpeditionNissan Armada, and Toyota Sequoia in the mass-market arena.

The Grand Wagoneer revives the heritage of the Jeep Grand Wagoneer that was the first American luxury SUV when it hit the market in 1984. The innovative model introduced niceties like leather seats, standard air conditioning, and sophisticated AM/FM/CB-band audio systems to an off-road-ready vehicle. Like the 2022 Grand Wagoneer, it also was equipped with a big-displacement V8 engine, and, unlike today's version, it featured the iconic faux woodgrain exterior trim. Now, Stellantis has revived the Grand Wagoneer name to compete for the first time in the hotly competitive and highly lucrative full-size luxury SUV segment.

Like its mass-market sistership, the Wagoneer, the Grand Wagoneer is all-new for the 2022 model year. This review will concentrate on the differences between the Grand Wagoneer and the Wagoneer that include:

  • Upgraded exterior styling and equipment
  • Luxury interior with innovative features
  • More and larger display screens
  • Higher-displacement, more powerful standard engine
  • More sophisticated 4-wheel-drive (4WD) system
  • Air suspension system with electronic damping

The Grand Wagoneer is offered in three trim levels: Series I, II, and III. They begin at luxurious, move to opulent, and culminate in over-the-top. All offer a sophisticated 4WD system and associated mode selection that endow the Grand Wagoneer with distinctive off-road capabilities. At the same time, the vehicle provides excellent seating for seven passengers in three rows and a substantial amount of cargo space in an interior that is among the most artfully designed and carefully crafted of any in the industry.

Previously, J.D. Power reviewed the 2022 Wagoneer. This review focuses on the Grand Wagoneer's differences from the mass-market Wagoneer and how they potentially impact its overall appeal to luxury-brand consumers who seek a full-size SUV.

What Owners Say About the Large Premium SUV Segment - Find the best Jeep deals!

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Series III Silver Front Quarter View

Photo: Jack Nerad

The Grand Wagoneer competes in the Large Premium SUV segment. According to data collected from verified new-vehicle buyers for the J.D. Power 2020 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, 66 percent of new Large Premium SUV buyers are male (vs. 60 percent for the industry as a whole), and the median age of a Large Premium SUV buyer is 54 years (vs. 56 for all vehicles). Because the Grand Wagoneer is an all-new model, it is too early to provide demographic information on its buyers.

As part of the APEAL Study, owners rated their Large Premium SUV in 10 primary categories. Listed below in descending order, you'll find their preferences from their most favorite thing about their vehicle to their least favorite:

  • Driving feel
  • Exterior styling
  • Feeling of safety
  • Powertrain
  • Interior design
  • Driving comfort
  • Setting up and starting
  • Getting in and out
  • Infotainment system
  • Fuel economy

The 2022 Grand Wagoneer was not included in the 2020 APEAL Study because it is an all-new model.

What Our Independent Expert Says About the Grand Wagoneer - Find the best Jeep deals!

In the sections that follow, our independent expert provides an analysis of a Grand Wagoneer Series III equipped with the following options:

  • Silver-Zynith exterior paint
  • Rear-seat entertainment group with Amazon Fire TV integration

The price of the test vehicle came to $108,585, including the $2,000 destination charge.

Enhanced, Upscale Exterior Styling

The Wagoneer is a handsome vehicle with good proportions and attractive details, but the Grand Wagoneer moves the exterior styling to a higher plateau. It starts with the 7-slot grille reminiscent of the original Jeep Grand Wagoneer, although the new Grand Wagoneer isn't officially a Jeep. In the 2022 Grand Wagoneer, the grille features laser-etched rings that have paint-over-chrome, giving it a depth and richness the Wagoneer lacks. It's the same kind of treatment used in upscale watches.

The top-level Series III Grand Wagoneer takes exterior bling even farther. It has raised aluminum badges accented with a two-piece rose-gold accent that Stellantis calls "copperchino." The effect is to give the Grand Wagoneer a level of curb appeal that the Wagoneer, nice as it is, doesn't have.

While the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer share the same structure that includes windshield angle, side glass, and rear glass, the more expensive model presents differently to the eye in an effort to woo luxury vehicle buyers. One obvious differentiator is the black roof that is standard on all Grand Wagoneer SUVs. It's combined with a different hood, subtle fender flares, and a revised LED headlight design to give the Grand Wagoneer a more exclusive look. A much-appreciated addition to the Grand Wagoneer is the standard retractable side steps that disappear when not in use.

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Series III Silver Front Grille

Higher Displacement, More Powerful Engine

Power from a luxury vehicle should be effortless. If a vehicle seems to strain during acceleration, it just isn't luxurious. The Grand Wagoneer's engineers assured that their vehicle didn't fall into that category by specifying the highly regarded 6.4-liter V8 as the standard engine. It offers 471 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque. In comparison, the standard engine in the Wagoneer is a 5.7-liter V8 with an eTorque mild-hybrid system. It makes 392 hp and 404 pound-feet of torque.

As good as the 5.7-liter V8 is—and it is terrific—the 6.4-liter V8 is that much better. It delivers seamless, velvety torque across a very broad operating range, and it teams well with the 8-speed automatic transmission that is also standard in every Grand Wagoneer.

The 6.4-liter V8 engine used in several other Stellantis models has been modified specifically for the Grand Wagoneer. The airbox is repositioned to the right side of the engine bay, and the engine uses a new intake manifold and new exhaust manifold. Like many modern engines, it has variable valve-timing technology, and it uses electronically controlled cylinder deactivation to save fuel. In another effort to save fuel, the Grand Wagoneer's V8 has automatic engine stop/start technology, and the stops can last as long as 10 minutes. (That's one loooooonnnnng stoplight.)

More Sophisticated 4-Wheel-Drive System

Another key differentiator between the Wagoneer and the Grand Wagoneer is the latter's 4WD system. All Grand Wagoneer series feature the automaker's Quadra-Drive II. In comparison, the Wagoneer offers Quadra-Trac I with a single-speed transfer case in the 4WD Series II and Quadra-Trac II with a 2-speed transfer case and associated hill-descent control in the top-level Series III. The Wagoneer's two systems are competent, but the Quadra-Drive II is even better.

One very positive aspect of Quadra-Drive II is its electronic limited-slip rear differential. The system is designed to detect and, at times, anticipate wheel slip so that it can distribute engine torque to each wheel/tire for the greatest traction possible given conditions.

The intelligent 4WD system works in concert with the Selec-Terrain multi-mode traction control system. It enables drivers to choose among five modes: Auto, Sport, Rock, Snow, and Sand/Mud. The system electronically coordinates a wide variety of inputs, including throttle control, shift points, transfer case, engine torque, and braking. The associated Selec-Speed Control works much like cruise control but is meant for low-speed off-road conditions like ascending and descending steep grades.

The Grand Wagoneer's standard Quadra-Lift air suspension system enhances all this off-road-oriented technology. It uses air springs replacing conventional steel coil springs at each wheel. With five modes, it can provide up to 3.6 inches of lift. The suspension also includes standard load leveling.

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Interior Dashboard

Well-Crafted Interior Featuring Natural Materials

While the Grand Wagoneer possesses a high degree of technical sophistication, excellent off-road and towing capabilities, and a handsome exterior, its interior impresses most. The use of high-quality materials, attention to detail, and excellent design choices shine in every corner of the vehicle. And they also serve to distance the Grand Wagoneer from the Wagoneer.

A clear example of the is the Grand Wagoneer's use of genuine hardwood. One version of the two-piece instrument panel uses satin-finished American walnut with Grand Wagoneer emblazoned in metal. It is a treatment that resembles fine furniture or upscale audio equipment. Aluminum and genuine leather are also used extensively in the Grand Wagoneer's cabin. 

Even the start button gets exceptional treatment. It's surrounded by a bezel with a knurl pattern and emerges from carved wood or metal trim, depending upon the grade and interior choice. For good measure, it is leather-wrapped and French-stitched.

Series I Grand Wagoneers have Nappa leather seats, typically reserved for the top level in many vehicles. Series II and Series III Grand Wagoneers offer even richer quilted Palermo leather seats. Both front seats are 24-way power-adjustable with memory and massage settings plus power lumbar support. Second-row captain's chairs are standard, and a leather-wrapped instrument panel and leather trim are also available. 

Unlike the Wagoneer, the Grand Wagoneer has a 4-zone heating, ventilating and air conditioning system with multi-control displays. And speaking of displays, the Grand Wagonner's interior features a whopping 75 inches of combined digital display screen area, besting the Wagoneer by 25 inches. Most prominent are the Grand Wagoneer's elegant 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and its 12-inch infotainment touchscreen featuring the advanced Uconnect 5 system.

Independent Expert Opinion - Find the best Jeep deals!

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Series III Silver Rear Quarter View

Facing well-entrenched favorites like the Cadillac Escalade and GMC Yukon Denali, both redesigned for 2021, the Grand Wagoneer's product planners, designers, and engineers felt they had to pull out the stops to build a vehicle that would stand out in a segment in which standing out is the norm. To their credit, they accomplished just that.

The Grand Wagoneer has unmistakable exterior style, innovative tech, and impressive on- and off-road capabilities. Interesting touches like the passenger-side touchscreen display—great for a passenger-navigator—and the first in-vehicle integration of Amazon Fire TV make the Grand Wagoneer a very desirable upscale vehicle for families.

Second-row passengers have access to 30 inches of total screen space in their captain's chairs, including individual 10.1-inch entertainment touchscreens and the 10.25-inch "comfort" display screen. Because passengers have access to thousands of movies, TV shows, and games, it might just make looking out the window completely passé. Each of the Grand Wagoneer's seven seats is a good one, and the four in the two front rows are absolutely exceptional. The multi-level massaging driver's seat left a lasting impression.

The Grand Wagoneer is a large, body-on-frame vehicle that owes much of its chassis to the Ram 1500 pickup truck. But it doesn't drive "big." Instead, for its size, it is agile and quick to respond thanks to its high-torque V8 engine and highly sophisticated air suspension. Beyond that is the Grand Wagoneer's off-road capabilities that outdistance those of the competition.

The original Jeep Grand Wagoneer inspired many warm family memories. I expect the 2022 Grand Wagoneer to deliver many more.

Jack R. Nerad has for decades been road testing and writing about vehicles for Web and print publications, including JDPower.com and others. His weekly radio show, "America on the Road," airs on the SportsMap Radio Network, and his work has appeared in scores of prestigious newspapers, magazines, and online publications.

The opinions expressed in this review are the author’s own, not J.D. Power’s.

No portion of these reviews may be reproduced, distributed, publicly displayed, or used for a derivative work without J.D. Power’s written permission. © 2021 J.D. Power

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