Can a $111,000 Grand Wagoneer Convince You Jeep Is Luxury Now?
Here's a look at the car's smorgasboard of features, from the new Amazon Fire TV integration to the V8 engine
If I told you to close your eyes and picture a three-row SUV that’s premium and sophisticated, with fine detailing to rival a luxury watch, what would appear before your eyes? Certainly not a Jeep, the American automaker whose more obvious descriptors include words like tough, rugged and accessible.That all changes with the 2022 Grand Wagoneer.
This week, after teasing us with a concept in the fall, Jeep reintroduced the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer into its lineup after a three-decade hiatus. Despite the company’s insistence that the vehicles stay true to the spirit of the original station-wagon-turned-SUV, the repetition of the aforementioned buzzwords (go ahead and count how many times you hear the word “premium” in the launch video) makes it clear these are new vehicles taking on a new category.
In short, Jeep wants to be luxury now. While all the vehicles in the brand’s current lineup start under $50K, the 2022 Wagoneer SUV steps that ceiling up to $59,995 and the 2022 Grand Wagoneer blows it out of the water with a starting price of $88,995, and a fully loaded version that can reportedly go as high as $111,000.
Would you ever pay six figures for a Jeep? It’s a fair question to ask, especially considering the last Grand Wagoneer was significantly cheaper. (According to Autotrader, the 1991 model started around $29,400, which is about $57,000 in 2021 dollars, $32,000 less than today’s starting price.) It seems Jeep is trying to, at least in part, harness the general goodwill and nostalgia associated with the Wagoneer name to sell a much more upscale SUV, sort of like what Land Rover is doing with the new expensive Defender, and it seems likely that the overstuffed SUV craze we’re unfortunately living through means there are plenty of Jeep loyalists who will be willing to upgrade. But whether or not drivers who were thinking about purchasing competitors like the Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator or Range Rover will jump ship for Jeep is the more interesting question.
To solve it, at least until we can take one of these out ourselves closer to their on-sale date this summer, let’s take a look at the most opulent version available, the $111,000 Grand Wagoneer, and see how the Wrangler cohort does with a black card.
A Hulking Exterior and an Engine to Match
The reason you might not be able to tell the Wagoneer and the Grand Wagoneer apart from looking at the photos is because they “feature the same body, but there are trim differences that give the Grand Wagoneer a slightly more premium appearance,” as Car and Driver explains. The most prominent upgrades include the “two-tone black accent roof, distinctive hood, front end, grille, unique premium LED lighting, fender flares and power retractable side steps,” according to a press release. But it’s not just about the trimmings.
In the engine department, the Wagoneer carries a 5.7-liter V8 with a 48-volt battery pack as part of its mild hybrid eTorque system. In the Grand Wagoneer, you get the larger 6.4-liter V8, no mild hybrid setup. Jeep counts this as a selling point, touting a 0 to 60 mph time of six seconds. While that little detail has already been praised and will continue to be proffered as a bonus when comparing and contrasting all the gigantic roving lounges on the market, it’s actually a disappointing spec for most Americans. The Grand Wagoneer concept was a plug-in hybrid, so we were hoping for that option here; but electrification, or even just fuel-economy prioritization, doesn’t seem to be top of mind for Jeep. They’re focused on luxury, and apparently that means V8s and frequent pit stops at the gas station. (Fuel economy numbers aren’t available yet.)
A Posh Interior With Exclusive Amenities
There are four trim levels available for the Grand Wagoneer: Series I, Series II, Obsidian (a blacked-out option) and Series III, in ascending order of price. But the Series III also comes in a premium edition, because what’s better than premium? More premium. And FYI, this is what will put you near that $111K price point.
What do you get for a Series III Premium? Here are some of the features: unique 22-inch wheels, a four-zone climate control system, a cooler in the front console, Palermo quilted leather-trimmed seats, a front passenger display screen, a new high-end audio system from McIntosh with 23 speakers, a rear-seat monitoring camera, some driver assistance tech and two 10.1-inch screens on the backs of the front seats with Amazon Fire TV for Auto. This is the first time this Amazon product is available in a car; as Jeep explains it, you can start a movie on Fire TV in your living room, pause it, and then pull it up seamlessly and finish it on your drive. Like we said, Amazon is coming for your car.
Apart from the technological firsts like Fire TV and McIntosh, there’s also the third row, a first for the Wagoneer nameplate, which is supposed to be fairly roomy, unlike every other third row you’ve probably sat in. It’s not called the Grand Wagoneer for nothing: this model is spacious and well appointed, and will be a beast on the road.
Is it enough to lure luxury buyers? We will see soon enough. While deliveries don’t begin until the second half of 2021, you can put down a $500 deposit and claim your spot in line, which is at least one page they’ve taken out of the Tesla playbook, since they’re leaving electrification on the table — for now.
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