Because I had to end the list somewhere.
Our cars: They are how we bring our babies home from the hospital, they’re a snuggly nest for the youngest while they are being hauled from one activity to another for the older siblings, they’re where we listen to them cry after a bad soccer game and where we do family sing alongs on road trips. The 2022 Jeep Wagoneer and Jeep Grand Wagoneer just made those memories all the more special.
Why Jeeps Inspire Mama Bear
When I had my first baby, I was suddenly overcome with the need to put her in the most protective rolling shell ever, and I bought a Jeep Grand Cherokee. That was where I nursed her in the backseat, where she napped in her very safely latched car seat, and where she saw the world slip by through the windows.
By the time I had my third child we needed a bigger car, and to my dismay, Jeep didn’t offer an SUV with a third row. That changed this summer with the relaunch of the iconic Jeep Wagoneer and the addition of a third row to the Jeep Grand Cherokee L. If ever there was a car (truck, SUV, you get it) that was so much more than just an automobile, it’s the Wagoneer. When Jeep launched it in 1963 it was the first premium SUV. Actually, SUV wasn’t even a term then. But they knew that families were looking for four-wheel drive, an automatic transmission, and a wagon-like body. The Wagoneer was born, and was the “it” family mobile for almost 30 years until they stopped making them in the early 90s.
The 2022 Wagoneer maintains its premium position: it has details that rival BMW and Mercedes-Benz, innovation that will win kudos for the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer from techies, and capability that means no ski chalet or beach house is off limits. Pricing is also among Jeep’s most premium; the Wagoneer has a starting suggested retail price (MSRP) of $57,995; Grand Wagoneer starts at $86,995.
We have all collectively fangirled about this car for decades
Sorry guys, this a whole world you might not understand. The Jeep Wagoneer was the car of choice in the TV shows Moonlighting, Beverly Hills 90210, Falcon Crest, and Desperate Housewives. It said, “I love my family and want to keep them safe, but I’m still cool…” which is something a minivan has never been able to say. The love for the Jeep brand across all models is aggressive. According to the 2015 Auto Insurance Center study, out of 4.6 million posts written by Instagram users, Jeep was the 2nd most popular brand geotagged. It was the most Instagrammed car in 19 states in America.
I just drove the newly reimagined Wagoneer and its more expensive and luxurious counterpart, the Grand Wagoneer. I owned a Grand Cherokee for many years and still own a Jeep Wrangler. I love Jeeps, as in love Jeeps. I’m not alone. There is a fan website for the Wagoneer alone called Wagoneerfans.com where users post sightings of the new icon.
Bringing back Wagoneer in spirit, with a nod to the wood paneling
When a manufacturer re-launches a brand, they aren’t trying to recreate the vintage car. They use the heritage name and details to inspire a modern, updated look that evokes the past but embraces the technology and features that we need in new cars. So no, there is no wood paneling on the side of the Wagoneer. The new Wagoneer does, however, evoke the spirit of the original by offering drivers the sense of being in a big, upright vehicle, with large windows. They even re-created a two-spoke steering wheel and a grille that leans into the wind like on the original, plus tow hooks and skid plates in case the road trip veers off-road.
There is wood, though; it’s inside the Grand Wagoneer, a silky gorgeous walnut all across the dash, door panels, lining the center console arm rest and more. It’s like wearing your fur on the inside: you know how good it feels but you don’t need to show it off to the world. Other heritage details include the McIntosh sound system and the wide, Grand Wagoneer-branded steering wheel.
When Jeep launched the Wagoneer in the 1960s, they were solving problems no other auto builder had yet, and they are doing that again in the brand new 2022 Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer. There are so many things that have been missing from the luxury SUVs lately, and Jeep seems to have been reading our minds.
My Eleven Favorite Things about the New Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer
(I couldn’t narrow it down to just ten.)
1. It’s a movie theater.
They offer real entertainment screens for rear seat passengers! The Grand Wagoneer can have two screens, one on driver’s headrest and the other on the passenger’s. I would buy the car just for these.
My kids have complained almost daily since I sold the Cadillac with a DVD player and screens in the ceiling. They watched untold hours of movies while on road trips and also just waiting in the parking lot for someone’s game to be finished. This whole “everyone has their own device” thing has been a nightmare. First off, kids puke on them when they are in the back using them for too long (I know this from horrible, horrible experience), and they don’t interact with each other — or anyone at all for that matter. The Grand Wagoneer even has a screen in front of the passenger seat. The driver can’t see it thanks to some very fancy filtering. More impressive is that the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will be the first vehicles outfitted with Amazon’s Fire TV for Auto with Alexa, which Jeep says gives passengers access to Amazon’s library of thousands of movies, TV shows, and apps.
2. It’s a Spa
You can have massage seats. These are not just sort of rub up and down your back either, there are settings like Waterfall, Lower Back, and Extend. I just kept pushing all the buttons, it all felt good. For a while I had to stop doing road trips because my back would go out after so many hours of driving. I feel like a Wagoneer with massage seats should be paid for by my health insurance as preventative medicine. The seats also heat and cool.
3. It understands short people.
They have adjustable gas and brake pedals. Don’t care about this? You must not be a tiny woman. I can tell you every truck that offers this option because there are very few: the Ford-F150 and the Ram 1500. And now the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer. I literally swoon over this feature. Riding too close to the steering wheel isn’t safe, but not being able to reach the gas and brakes is less safe. With this feature you can move the pedals closer to you without adjusting your seat.
4. It has more charging capacity than a TikTok collab house.
They have wireless chargers for multiple phones, and they all have a paired USB-C charger. How many times have you grabbed your iPhone cable with the USB-C end and then been unable to charge your phone in your car? It can’t be just me. And there are so many USB ports (up to 11) in these trucks, the kids will never fight — at least about this.
5. They treat you like a VIP.
Wagoneer owners will have access to a VIP Helpline for the entire time they own the car. I have no idea what you can ask for on the VIP helpline. But if you’re a VIP, can’t you ask for anything?
6. They know we wear dresses, and that our kids are little.
The Grand Wagoneer comes with a retractable running board as a standard feature, it’s on option on the Wagoneer. All you do is open the door and voila, the running board extends like a super hero vehicle option so you can easily step up into the cabin whether you’re wearing a tight dress, high heels, or you’re only two years old but refuse to allow your mom to help you.
7. The Grand Wagoneer has a banging stereo.
One big difference between the Wagoneer and its upscale sibling the Grand Wagoneer is most apparent in the stereo system. The base model Wagoneer has an Alpine system that’s just fine, if you’re a crazy audiophile. The Grand Wagoneer has a McIntosh system that blows the doors off. It even has a screen display with a needle ticking off the decibels. It’s ridiculously cool. It’s an industry-first McIntosh 1,375-watt premium audio system featuring 23 speakers including a 12-inch subwoofer with 3D Surround System for an immersive audio experience.
8. It has room for everyone.
The Wagoneer seats up to eight and the Grand Wagoneer seats up to seven. The Grand Wagoneer comes with Captain’s Chairs standard in the second row, so much more comfortable for large teens, adults, and/or warring siblings. Though there were many times I missed the bench second row in my large SUV because everyone wants to bring a friend. The Wagoneer comes with a standard second row bench but Captain’s Chairs are an option, too.
9. It has luxuries I didn’t even know I needed.
A refrigerated console in the Grand Wagoneer so I never have to drink tepid Diet Coke again. A “chill” function when you get in the Grand Wagoneer that’s like a mind control concoction of relaxing video and sound; it simply surrounds you with calming effects. 24 different ways of adjusting your seat in the Grand Wagoneer. It’s positively Roman with the decadence. You can even get an automated parallel parking feature on the Grand Wagoneer.
10. It can haul. And tow. Or both.
The Wagoneer cranks 392 horsepower, the Grand Wagoneer has 471 horsepower. And both models tow 10,000 pounds. That is not a misprint. 10,000 pounds! All while you’re getting your back massaged and the kids are watching Octonauts.
11. It’s not just pretty, it’s also really a Jeep.
The Wagoneer was built to go off-road. There’s quadra-lift technology and amazing ways that the car transfers the power to the tires for added traction. Do we need all the specs? No, we do not. Just know that I climbed a rock wall and then ended up in rock ruts with wheels off the ground. It just kept going, and so did I. You can lift the truck to ford a river also. Normal ride height with the standard steel coil spring suspension is 8.0 inches; the optional Quadra-Lift air suspension raises ground clearance to up to 10.0 inches, enough to ford water up to 24 inches deep. I know. It’s like Gal Gadot, gorgeous, but can also kick some ass.
Disclosure: I was Jeep’s guest for a test drive of the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer; travel and accommodations were provided, as was off roading guidance. All opinions are my own.