With the announced return of the Ford Bronco last year, I think a lot of us figured we had seen the biggest comeback for a badge in the auto industry for at least a few years. Not to be outdone; however, Stellantis (or Jeep or whoever) made headlines this year when they announced the upcoming 2022 Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer. Depending on your age, this could mark the return of a classic to you, or it could just be another new vehicle for you to keep track of.
Whatever the case may be, if you’re at all interested in the auto industry, then these are two models that you should be aware of. Today, I’m going to take you through a brief look at some of the features they have to offer and why some people are pretty excited to see them hit the road. This isn’t a buyer’s guide or anything like that – more of an overview to see what all of the excitement is about and get a feel for if one of these vehicles should be on your radar. I’ll also go over their names and what the key differences between these two models are because they’re not necessarily as obvious as you might expect.
Jeep Wagoneer Legacy
First off, let’s look at why anyone would be excited at all about the name “Wagoneer” when it comes to the auto industry. The original Jeep Wagoneer was introduced in the early 1960s (I know for some people that it sounds like when dinosaurs roamed the earth, but no, there were cars), and it was essentially a new take on the Jeep Station Wagon. It was built on a truck chassis with a station wagon body and was a predecessor for what we would consider an SUV today.
The original Jeep Wagoneer had a V6 engine, independent front suspension, and four-wheel drive for impressive performance just about anywhere. This was a great family wagon for hitting the road, getting around town, or going camping, so a lot of people really fell in love with it. During its early years, a more luxurious option was available called the Super Wagoneer, but in the 1980s, this more impressive version was called the Grand Wagoneer instead.
Throughout the late 1980s and into the early 1990s, demand for the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer diminished considerably. When Chrysler bought out American Motors Company and acquired the Jeep brand, and the Wagoneer with it, they seemed uninterested in improving upon the Wagoneer or introducing a new generation for it with updated features. Despite the fact it had been around for nearly 30 years, as sales plummeted, Chrysler let the Wagoneer fade into memory and discontinued the model in 1991.
That is, of course, until its triumphant return some 30 years later as a 2022 model!
“Jeep” or “Stellantis”?
The original Wagoneer introduced in the 1960s and that remained in production for about 30 years was a Jeep model – it was the Jeep Wagoneer. Even though Jeep was owned by three different companies during its run, it was always called the Jeep Wagoneer. So it would make sense if it returned as the Jeep Wagoneer for 2022, right?
Well, I think so, anyway, but Stellantis seems to disagree with me. Stellantis is the company that now owns Jeep, Dodge, Ram, Chrysler, and a bunch of other automotive brands after Fiat Chrysler merged with the PSA Group this year. Rather than release it as the 2022 Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer, they’ve decided to drop the “Jeep” name and make it its own model. So it’s just called the 2022 Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer – no “Jeep” on there.
Has seemingly every website and journalist in the auto industry continued calling it the “Jeep Wagoneer” for its return? Yes. Yes, they have.
Wagoneer vs Grand Wagoneer
Now that we’ve got all of that out of the way, what about these two new vehicles and what they have to offer? It’s important to have a good sense of what makes them different from each other. Despite their names and what that might first bring to mind, there’s no size difference between the 2022 Wagoneer and the Grand Wagoneer.
They’re both the same size inside and out, and just looking at them, you’d easily mistake them for each other if you weren’t paying much attention or didn’t look at their badges. Just like in the past, the differences between them come down mostly to luxury and technology features. The Grand Wagoneer costs more and is packed with fantastic features that you can’t get in the Wagoneer. So if you’re looking for the height of sophistication, then the Grand Wagoneer is the way to go – but in terms of driving and performance, they’re pretty similar.
The 2022 Wagoneer
The biggest differences you’re going to find between these two models are inside, so let’s start there, and you’ll see what I mean in a moment. Inside the Wagoneer, you’ll find up to 50 total inches of digital display screens, including a 10-inch infotainment display, a digital driver display, and an available 10-inch passenger display. You can also get rear-seat displays for your passengers behind the front seats. While a 9-speaker Alpine sound system is standard, there’s a 19-speaker McIntosh Entertainment sound system available for the Wagoneer.
In terms of performance, the Wagoneer features a 5.7L V8 engine that offers 392 hp and 404 lb-ft of torque with an eTorque mild hybrid system. A coil spring suspension is standard on the Wagoneer, though it has a Quadra-Lift Air Suspension system available that boosts its ground clearance. While rear-wheel drive is standard on the 2022 Wagoneer, there are three different four-wheel drive options available.
The 2022 Grand Wagoneer
Now, let’s take a look at what the 2022 Grand Wagoneer is packing and see why it starts off at almost $30,000 more. Inside the Grand Wagoneer, you’ll find up to 75 inches of total display screen area available. This includes the digital driver display, 10-inch and 12-inch central infotainment displays (yes, both!), and a 10-inch passenger screen, not to mention the rear-seat displays for your other passengers. In case that wasn’t enough, there’s a 23-speaker McIntosh Reference Entertainment sound system that takes your audio experience to another level.
For performance, the Grand Wagoneer comes with a 6.4L V8 engine that delivers 471 hp and 455 lb-ft of torque, which you can see is more powerful than the Wagoneer’s engine. They’re both V8s, and they’re both going to be a lot of fun to drive, but the Grand Wagoneer does pack a bit more power along with all of those cushy interior features. It’s also worth noting that the Grand Wagoneer includes four-wheel drive as standard along with the Quadra-Lift Air Suspension, rather than making them extra options.
Should You Really Care?
While I’m not the personal curator of your interests, I’d say that if you’re at all considering getting a new SUV in the not-too-distant future, then the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer should definitely be on your radar. Even if you’re not shopping for a vehicle right now or this year, the features inside these new models are really exceptional, and I think we’re going to see other manufacturers follow suit with more display screen options to compete. Plus, if you’re a Jeep fan, then you definitely have good reasons to be excited about these two models. They might not say “Jeep” on them anymore, but with their 4×4 systems and air suspensions, they’re certainly equipped to take you on an adventure or two.