The Grand Wagoneer is a new Jeep. A very large Jeep. It is a Jeep in “XXL” format. With this 5.5m vehicle, which can seat 7 or 8 depending on the version chosen, Stellantis is targeting Tahoe, Yukon and even Escalade buyers.
These are the giants we choose when we need space inside for a very large family, a lot of luggage or both at the same time. Vehicles, which in many cases we also depend on to haul heavy loads.
Prices in the six figures
When we think of such giants, we first think of the General Motors products mentioned above. This is normal as they dominate their niche. A niche that is supplied to a lesser extent by a few other brands such as Ford with its Expedition, not to mention Toyota and Nissan with the Sequoia and Armada.
This niche of large and large utility companies is certainly not the largest in terms of sales volume. On the other hand, it is particularly lucrative for the manufacturers and their dealers. The Grand Wagoneer illustrates this well. This new Escalade rival starts at $101,995. That’s a bit more than Cadillac’s base price of $90,498, but when you compare the top versions of these two SUVs, the gap is much less obvious. The Grand Wagoneer Series III (the model we recently tested) starts at $121,995, compared to $120,643 for the Escalade Platinum Duramax.
To interest a wider audience, Stellantis has created a two-headed range for its newcomer. Therefore, there are also Wagoneers (without “Grand”). It’s essentially the same vehicle, but with a less sophisticated (less extravagant, some would say) endowment. The base prices of the various versions of the Wagoneer, which range from $80,995 to $91,995, are similar to GM’s Tahoe and Yukon.
With prices like that, even with a Wagoneer, just add some extras to end up with an after-tax price in the six figures; an unavoidable reality in this niche.
The great luxury
The Grand Wagoneer is a product of its time. Each of the four versions offered – Series I, Series II, Obsidian and Series III – can be fitted to accommodate 7 or 8 people (standard or on request depending on the case). In the 8-seater versions, behind the very spacious bucket seats with 12 or 24 electric adjustments, there are two three-seater “60/40” bench seats. In the 7-seater versions, “captain” seats replace the central bench seat.
Depending on the version, equipment includes a black contrast roof, 20- or 22-inch wheels (which cost a fortune to fit winter tires), a triple-pane panoramic sunroof including an opening front panel, adaptive cruise control, and an extensive battery of safety and driver assistance devices.
A powerful V8…and greedy!
To animate this juggernaut, which weighs nearly 3 tons, Stellantis uses a variant of the 6.4-liter naturally aspirated gasoline V8 used in the Grand Cherokee SRT. Paired with a quietly shifting 8-speed automatic transmission, this engine delivers 471 horsepower and 455 lb-ft of torque. Unlike the Wagoneer’s 5.7-liter V8, the Grand Wagoneer’s engine does not have an eTorque hybrid system. On the other hand, it is equipped with an automatic stop-start device at idle, which turns out to be discreet.
For all versions, this engine drives all four wheels through a Quadra-Drive II all-wheel drive system with an electronic limited slip differential for the rear axle and hill descent control.
In addition, this V8 can tow a load of up to 4,468 kg (9,850 lb). However, with the Wagoneer’s 5.7-liter engine, this rating reaches 4,536 kg (10,000 lb).
With numbers like that, no one will be surprised to learn that the Grand Wagoneer’s V8, powered by 100.3 liters of premium petrol, is particularly greedy. The average fuel consumption of 16 L/100 km attributed to it by Natural Resources Canada is an eloquent indication of this.
Easy and fun to drive
At the wheel of this impressive tool, we are surprised to discover a neutral and predictable road behavior. The steering is precise, the roll is not too awkward and the braking is modulated with precision. It feels like driving a Grand Cherokee, nothing more. The well-calibrated independent suspensions lined with a Quadra-Lift pneumatic system with semi-active damping (standard) naturally contribute to this. The sound insulation of the cabin also meets the requirements of this luxurious model.
This luxury is expressed in beautifully crafted leather upholstery (from Palermo adorned with beautiful quilted trim in the Grand Wagoneer Series III), McIntosh sound systems worthy of big music lovers and even walnut trim on the dashboard and rear. inside the doors, at least in the case of the model we tested.
Very elegant, this dashboard is full of digital displays. In addition to the 12.3-inch screen located behind the steering wheel, there is a central 12-inch touchscreen with Uconnect, Apple Carplay and Android Auto systems for infotainment, as well as a second 10.25-inch touchscreen in the lower console . It is he who must be used to adjust air conditioning, heating and ventilation. A third touchscreen located in front of the front seat passenger is reserved for him. But all these devices with touch functions are sources of distraction for the driver.
Adding to these sources of distraction are the huge mirrors placed in the corner of the front door windows. They limit the driver’s forward vision to the point that they sometimes mask a pedestrian on a street corner.
And the story doesn’t end there as, as the manufacturer announced at the unveiling of the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer, longer “L” versions will be added to the lineup in 2023. These new variants mimic the Chevrolet Suburban, GMC Yukon XL and Cadillac Escalade ESV with a longer body (5.8 m) and a longer wheelbase (3,302 mm instead of 3,124).
These “L” models also benefit from an even more gigantic trunk. The useful trunk volume of the Wagoneer L, which is larger than the Grand Wagoneer L, varies from 1,192 to 3,706 L depending on needs, compared to 775 to 3,304 L in the case of a Wagoneer. This provides plenty of space for all the large family’s luggage!