On the Road review: Jeep Wagoneer Series III

Back in 1963, Jeep changed the family car market with the very first Wagoneer – a truck-based family dump truck with a real off-road vehicle. For 2022, Jeep hopes to catch the spirit in the bottle again with a brand new Wagoneer, plus its more expensive sibling, the Grand Wagoneer.

Targeted directly at GM’s best-selling family of full-size SUVs called the Tahoe, Suburban, Yukon and Escalade, as well as the Ford Expedition and Navigator duo, the Wagoneer comes in six trim levels from $ 59,995 for a rear-wheel drive Series I, while culminating in $ 88 665 for the best Series III Off-Road Premium edition. Grand Wagoneer starts at this point and can then be selected up to $ 110,000.

Wagoneer is not only the most expensive jeep ever sold, but it is easily the largest. The total length is between the Tahoe and the Suburban, on top of a 123-inch wheelbase that surpasses the Tahoe by 2 inches. The weight comes in at just over 3 tons, while both rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive models can pull up to 10,000 pounds of trailer.

Abundant power (392 hp) comes from the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, which is supported by an E-torque 48-volt mild hybrid boost at peak torque, as well as a cylinder deactivation program designed to improve fuel economy. Drive through a smooth eight-speed automatic, EPA rating is 15/20 mpg, with a realized 18.5 mpg during its mild autumn visit.

Grand Wagoneer uses the company’s 6.4-liter Hemi, with 471 hp.

Our Series III Premium, $ 85,970, had a host of technical features that buyers crave today, as well as plenty of comfort. Configured for eight passengers (middle row buckets are available), our Bright White trolley came with folding second and third row seats, up and down, creating a huge, flat cargo deck when reclined.

With three different 4WD systems available, all full-time, you can also choose an air suspension, which adds over 3 inches of ground clearance if you feel the need to ride terrain with the shiny 22-inch wheels, plus selectable driving modes. The wagoner proved to be safe and calm as it nagged around on our local secondary roads and delivered a ride that did not upset the riders. Highway travel was calmly peaceful.

The list of functions extends to the class. Up to five screens are available, including for the front passenger, with the new U-Connect 5 system using a 4G LTE Wi-Fi system that can program Alexa and Amazon TV. There is both parallel and perpendicular parking assistance, assistance in preventing collisions at intersections, protection against drowsy drivers, a 360-degree surround camera with trailer zoom, electric drive boards, a McIntosh stereo system with 19 speakers, plus not one but two massive sunroofs.

Hits and misses: the heads-up display is a nice piece, but the expansive dashboard is too much plastic that looks like it was borrowed from a Grand Cherokee. The center console is huge and offers plenty of storage, but it dominates the front cabin and is clad with too many haptic buttons that should provide real tactile feedback so you do not have to stare at them to use them. The electric tailgate can be easily activated with the remote control, a button inside or your waving leg, but the rear wiper seemed small for the glass surface on which it works. Maybe two dryers are needed?

The heated and cooled leather seats proved to be supportive all day, but they lack the massage function that Ford and Lincoln offer – at lower price levels – as well as any thigh adjustments. The hilarious Hemi counteracts the odd-sounding turbo-sixs that Ford uses, but you will pay for that sound reward at the pump, as our careful use of the throttle may not reflect how a family actually uses this large caravan in the suburbs.

The handsome exterior remains true to Jeep’s design emphasis, while the large wheels match the rest of the segment for boldness. Wagoneer’s pool lights, with the logo of course, will delight the owners, but the overall premium look is a point or two below Denali and Escalade.

Jeep also muddies the water a bit here too, with a new three-row Grand Cherokee L that is 10 inches shorter in total, but only 1 inch shorter in wheelbase – where the driving dynamics have their origins. The Grand Cherokee L, with room for seven passengers, available Hemi V-8 and higher EPA scores, also starts at a cool $ 17,000 less.

Wagoneer is a serious premium SUV offering, with many details that will attract buyers who embrace the brand’s off-road ethos. Wagoneer offers great comfort and capacity. It will be worthwhile to see how many buyers are waiting for Jeep dealers for this new luxury / premium family of large full-size SUVs.

Tim Plouff

Tim Plouff has examined cars on the sides of The Ellsworth American every week for almost two decades.

Tim Plouff

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