Here are the main five takeaways of a long family vacation in the 2022 Jeep Wagoneer.
- The interior is luxurious and refined
- The infotainment system is easy to use and an overall joy to play with
- The engine is surprisingly powerful
- The comfort is impressive
- There’s a lot of room inside, but cargo space has its limits
However, there are certainly drawbacks.
- Fuel economy is terrible, as expected
- The 20-inch wheels on the base model are quite underwhelming
- The base 20-inch tires are very underwhelming
- The 2022 Wagoneer costs a fortune to lease thanks to high interest rates and poor leasing terms.
Let’s take a closer look.
While the Jeep Grand Wagoneer is aimed at the holy grail of big SUVs like the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator, the 2022 Jeep Wagoneer aims a little lower, going for the Chevy Tahoe, GMC Yukon, and Ford Expedition. It’s also aimed at families who need a lot of space for their daily activities or, in my case, a family vacation with six people on board.
Environmental concerns and the opinion of other automotive journalists be darned, there’s no better vehicle to take on a long family vacay than a big, massive, three-row, American SUV.
Sure, a minivan would offer more space, and there’s an odd feeling of having been duped when you see how little space there actually is behind the third row of any of the models listed above (except the long wheelbase models), but no matter. In a straight line on a never-ending highway, the tall driving position paired with plush seats and tons of interior storage make it easy to relax as you cruise towards a much-needed break.
It was with all of that in mind that I headed out on the road in the 2022 Jeep Wagoneer, and here’s what I learned.
The Jeep Wagoneer has the best interior design in its segment
The interior of the Jeep Wagoneer is nearly identical to its much more expensive Grand Wagoneer brother, and definitely sets a new benchmark in the segment for interior refinement. The quality of the wood trim paired with a perfect mix of metal and piano black buttons gives the Wagoneer’s dash and centre console a very luxurious look and feel.
You do notice the differences with the larger Grand Wagoneer, but you also have to remember you are paying about $20,000 less. Still, the only competing interior that can hold its own against the Wagoneer’s cockpit is the Yukon Denali, and I prefer the Wagoneer’s.
The Uconnect 5 multimedia system is the best in the business
A few years ago, when I drove the Maserati Ghibli, a passenger commented how the infotainment system was nearly identical to what he had in his Dodge Durango. I replied that although odd, this was actually a good thing because no way Maserati could put together a multimedia layout that would be as intuitive and easy-to-use.
Fast forward to 2022 and Stellantis is rolling out the latest Uconnect 5 generation of its infotainment system and it is better than anything else you will find in this class. There’s nothing inherently wrong with GM’s Google-based system of Ford’s SYNC technology, but the Uconnect 5 does an even better job of organizing the numerous functions into logical menus that are easy to reach. This makes any journey in the Wagoneer that much more appealing, and it certainly makes it easier to adjust the multiple settings that need to be adjusted when spending hours on the road. The climate controls are easy to access, as are the audio settings.
The 5.7-litre V8 is perfectly suited to the Wagoneer’s size
Unlike the Grand Wagoneer which features a 6.4-litre V8, the Wagoneer is powered by a 5.7-litre HEMI with eTorque which delivers 392 horsepower and 404 pound-feet of torque. Now, you get a lot more powerful in the 6.2-litre GM V8 or the twin-turbo Ford V6, but the Wagoneer nevertheless delivers smooth, consistent power that is surprisingly potent, particularly in a highway setting. As you ask for more power to pass, the V8 immediately provides the necessary torque and pushes the heavy three-row SUV forward efficiently. Better yet, you feel like it could keep going and going, and it does. It doesn’t push you in your seat, but it never feels slow or sluggish like, say, the Grand Wagoneer. Quite the contrary.
The comfort is impressive
Driving long distances in the 2022 Wagoneer is an enjoyable affair. The seats offer good support, the cabin is quiet, and thanks in part to the 20-inch wheels and tires which are on the smaller side for this type of vehicle, the bumps and potholes on the road are easily absorbed and filtered.
The Wagoneer delivers more interior space than any other SUV in this segment, and it has 775 litres of cargo space behind the third row. Now, when all three rows are full, the cargo capacity barely manages to accommodate everyone’s bags and luggage. That’s true of any SUV in this segment, and if you want to have enough room for everything, you will want to wait for the upcoming Wagoneer L extended wheelbase, or get a Suburban or Yukon XL.
That said, the third row is where the focus should be here. Adults can spend an extended period of time back there, as long as they aren’t over 6 feet tall, and overall the Wagoneer’s cavernous interior is certainly designed for long hauls with people at every row.
Overall the 2022 Jeep Wagoneer is a very welcoming, very competent family hauler that is certainly among the better options for long family trips. That said, there are still areas of improvement mentioned below.
A few other things you learn:
- Fuel economy is predictively terrible, as expected. Even on the highway I never managed to get under 12 litres per 100 kilometres.
- The base tires on the Wagoneer are pretty bad. They are constantly screeching under the weight the V8’s torque, especially when starting up on a hill or applying slightly more pressure on the accelerator as you turn at low speeds.
- The thing costs a bloody fortune if you want to lease it. You learn this fact after you get home and configure your own Wagoneer. Currently, the rate on a 48-month lease in Canada is 7.49%, leading to a monthly payment of just under $1,400 for the base You’re paying Yukon Denali prices and getting a lot less goodies.
- The base model’s 20-inch wheels look tiny. This isn’t necessarily a tangible critique, more a matter of opinion, but those 20-inch wheels look sad on the Wagoneer. They are way too small for the area they need to fill, and they make the Series II Wagoneer look like an airport shuttle. Part of the problem comes from the fact that the Wagoneer Series III trim gets gorgeous 22-inch wheels Once you’ve seen those, you will want to replace the 20-inch base wheels in a hurry.
The 2022 Jeep Wagoneer has a lot to offer, specifically in terms of interior space and luxury, as well as performance. It also has the best towing capacity in its segment which is definitely a plus. It just needs better lease rates and better tires, really.