The last time Jeep teased a full-size SUV segment was with the Commander, and yet, can you say full-size? Chevrolet, Ford and, even, Toyota and Nissan have been in the XL sports utility segment for more than two decades, but nothing on the side of the large Stellantis family. This is a fact that still amazes me. Here we are in 2022 and Jeep, the leader of Stellantis life, arrives at the rebirth of the iconic model from the 1960s to the 1980s. Jeep WagoneerStellantis has nothing to lose, but does it have what it takes to carve out a place in a segment where GM and Ford have control?
Who is what? We solve it all!
First, it is important to make a distinction between the Wagoneer and the Grand Wagoneer. The latter is not an extended version of the former. The Wagoneer takes aim, in terms of equipment and engine, against the Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon, Ford Expedition, Nissan Armada and Toyota Sequoia. There will be a 12-inch L version that will compete with the Chevrolet Suburban, GMC Yukon XL and Ford Expedition MAX. With the Grand Wagonneer, L or not, we’re primarily targeting the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator. Obviously, there are different levels of equipment. Contrary to my test car’s “Serie II” suffix, this is the first of the 4 in terms of benefits and accessories.
I can not say that I find the Wagoneer particularly good. The proportions are amazing, especially in terms of the height of the lighting units and the narrow grille. However, the lamp is very strong. A long, almost flat hood sets the tone for the rest of the Wagoneer’s lines. The window strip, partially chromed, long and angular, allows for a distinctive look if not enlivening the bodywork. Very well, the back and the walls allow a lot of space in the passenger compartment, but give the car an amazing look. The 20-inch rims, despite their generous size, feel small. Depending on the equipment, the diameter of the wheels will vary from 18 to 22 inches. To ignore any external decoration, it is possible to choose one or another Carbide version. Personally, I find their appearance more complete, more successful. I must point out that the quality of the outdoor meeting is important. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Jeep as well built as this one.
Space dictates everything
It’s safe to say that Jeep is on a roll when it comes to styling for the next generation of its products. There’s nothing groundbreaking in terms of design, but the whole thing is modern while being completely classic, a trait appreciated by regular Jeep buyers. As for the base Wagonneer tested, it is certainly less impressive than the Series III and even less than the Grand Wagoneer, but we still get a nice finish with leather and stitching. For the rest, we cut less quality materials such as plastic. The finish is good, but the assembly seemed loose in the side parts of the console and the console. The downside is worth it, especially at this price.
The full digital instrument is very nice, but there are too many panels. Unless you are an engineer, you will be lost. It is nice to have several possibilities, but the ergonomics does not pass the test. The Wagoneer gets the latest generation of the Uconnect system, the fifth of the name. While I’ve been enjoying the previous releases, this one disappoints me. Icons are almost all small and of the same color, which somewhat complicates their handling. At least the controls are close.
Wagoneer does not disappoint when it comes to comfort. In all positions, the clearances are very wide. At this point, in terms of the third row of seats, it beats Ford Expedition and Chevrolet Tahoe. There are also several settings and accessories for the rear occupants. However, despite the bill bordering on $90,000, there is no sunroof. On the other hand, the generous windows provide a lot of light in the cabin and, above all, a good view.
Old engine, big capacity
Jeep didn’t have to look long for an engine to put under the Wagoneer’s hood. There’s only one possibility, it’s the old 5.7-liter Hemi V8 that develops 392 horsepower and 404 lb-ft of torque. Although the principle of this mechanism dates back to the 1950s, a modern touch is added by the eTorque hybrid system, basically an alternator generator that reduces fuel consumption, but above all provides an efficient start-stop system. Jeep pairs it with an 8-speed automatic gearbox. The marriage of the V8 and the 8-speed gearbox is well done. Unlike the Grand Cherokee, shifting is smooth and quick.
Jeep once again relies on suspension components to differentiate itself from the competition. In the current situation, pneumatic shock absorbers are available that vary the ground clearance over 5 levels depending on the driving conditions and the speed of the vehicle. For light cruisers, the Quadra Trac 1 cog is in play. It’s not the highest in the Jeep lineup, but it’s still capable enough for day to day. It offers Sport, Snow and Mud/Sand models in the Wagoneer lineup. At the end of my test, I completed the whole thing with an average fuel consumption of 12.1 liters / 100 km. It should be noted that most of the time I was alone on board. Additionally, it can tow up to 4,536 kg (10,000 lb) with the $1,995 heavy-duty package. So equipped, the Chevrolet Tahoe can tow up to 3,719 kg (8,200 lbs) and 5.3 liters, while the Ford Expedition, with a turbocharged 3.5-liter V6, is capable of towing 4,173 kg (9,200 lbs).
Everything is fine … in a straight line
Although it’s getting old, the 5.7-liter provides decent power for the Wagoneer. Acceleration and pick-ups are made easy with a pleasant and fluid line of gear changes. Management does not communicate at all. Sport mode or not, you don’t feel attached to the road, which seems to be the norm for SUVs of this size. What impressed me was the ride comfort of the air suspension. We are literally floating. While the American trio uses independent wheel suspension, I have to give the thumbs up for road comfort to the Wagoneer. Unfortunately, there is a counterpart: his corner behavior. Suspension elements cannot be multiplicity; therefore, the movement of money is very important. Add the low-end Nexen Roadian HTX RH5 tires and you’ll be going downhill at sustained speeds. In addition, the brakes feel so spongy that you have to apply firmness to feel secure. Gathering these reviews, I seriously doubt the power characteristics of the Wagoneer with 7 people on board, luggage and a trailer behind.
Too little, too late. That’s the feeling I get with it 2022 Jeep Wagoneer. You can see that the engineers tried to keep everything to make it as competitive as possible, but I don’t think they succeeded. Yes, I had the “base” version, but with a few options, the bill goes under $90,000. At this price, I think the buyer has the right to have better and more. Add our position, solid, about the first years of Jeep products and you will understand that the Wagoneer still does not appear in our recommendations.