If you eat and breathe car news like the rest of us, then you already know big things are in store for the Jeep brand after the announcement of the return of two iconic, premium American SUVs – the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer. Launched under Jeep as an extension of the brand, the Wagoneer lineup is designed to compete with the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator, and does it ever! The 2022 Grand Wagoneer is priced at nearly $90,000 and is packed with every luxury and convenience feature imaginable. Fortunately, the lineup also includes the more affordable 2022 Wagoneer that starts at $57,995 and offers enough luxury to leave you in a puddle of drool.
With nearly a $30,000 price difference between the Wagoneer and the Grand Wagoneer, there must be a few key differences between the premium SUVs, right? A quick comparison of the lineups reveals that the Wagoneer is a mellowed-down version that offers fewer tech and luxury features than its Grand sibling. This, however, doesn’t mean the Wagoneer is any less impressive and is what inspired us to take a closer look at what’s under the hood of the 2022 Wagoneer because, let’s be honest, performance and capability can make or break a vehicle, especially one with almost a $60,000 base price tag!
Under the Hood
With the debut of the Wagoneer brand, many critics are wondering how Jeep will navigate the transition from its rugged roots to join the luxury class. As we’re learning from the engine and the available four-wheel drive systems under the hood of the 2022 Wagoneer, Jeep has no plans of ditching its heritage, and we couldn’t be more impressed. Why? Because the Wagoneer will easily prove its capability of traveling across demanding terrain while offering the luxury of a premium SUV without ever breaking a sweat.
Engine and eTorque
This capability starts under the hood of the 2022 Wagoneer with the 5.7-liter V8 engine that delivers 392 horsepower and 404 lb-ft of torque. What’s remarkable about the engine is that it’s fitted with an all-new 48-volt eTorque hybrid system that’s designed to improve efficiency and performance. How does it work?
While many engines rely on an engine-mounted alternator, the eTorque system utilizes a belt-driven motor generator powered by a 48-volt battery pack. The system delivers power to the engine exactly when it needs it and is capable of producing 130 lb-ft of initial torque to improve performance in various driving situations. The system’s stop-start technology is even more impressive and can seamlessly start and stop the engine to maximize fuel efficiency. When the engine is powered down, the battery pack powers the Wagoneer’s many accessories until the driver accelerates. During this time, the Wagoneer’s Fuel Saver Technology kicks in to deactivate the cylinders, which involves turning off the fuel and spark and closing the intake and exhaust valves to save fuel.
Four-Wheel Drive Capability
The Wagoneer’s three available four-wheel drive systems offer legendary capability and prove the Wagoneer brand hasn’t strayed far from its rugged Jeep roots. The Wagoneer can be outfitted with the Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II, and Quadra-Drive II four-wheel drive systems, as well as a Quadra-Lift air suspension. The models also feature the iconic and proven Selec-Terrain traction management system that heightens performance across various terrains.
The Quadra Systems
The entry-level option to the Wagoneer’s four-wheel drive lineup is the Quadra-Trac I that offers a full-time four-wheel drive without any intervention from the driver. This means you don’t have to engage four-wheel drive when the going gets rough. Instead, the system, which relies on a single-speed transfer case, is enabled and capable of navigating a variety of road conditions by delivering better torque and traction without sacrificing fuel economy.
Moving to the Quadra-Trac II and its two-speed transfer case delivers even better performance. The system anticipates quick throttle movement and can maximize the Wagoneer’s traction before tire slippage ever occurs. When and if slippage occurs, the system is at the ready and can deliver up to 100% of available torque to the wheel with the most traction to give you better control in dicey conditions.
The ultimate capability comes from the Quadra-Drive II system that delivers the best traction in the industry thanks to its electronic limited-slip differential. Long before you ever need it, the Quadra-Drive II system anticipates low traction conditions and adjusts the torque as needed to prevent tire slippage. By the time you detect your wheels are slipping, the system is already at work to distribute torque from the engine to the tire or tires that need it most.
Selec-Terrain Traction Control System
If you’re a longtime Jeep fan, you’ll recognize another feature on the Wagoneer – the Selec-Terrain traction control system that gives you more control when you’re behind the wheel. The system allows you to choose between five different driving modes to optimize performance by customizing various components like powertrain, braking, torque split, suspension, transmission shift, and throttle control.
Auto is the most frequently used mode and automatically adapts to any driving condition for a “set it and forget it” style of driving. Sport Mode is great for highway and city driving where you’re looking for tighter steering and more pep in the Wagoneer’s step, if you will. Snow Mode can handle snowy and icy conditions while Sand/Mud Mode finetune the torque to optimize traction and performance in sandy or muddy conditions. Rock Mode is another fun feature that relies on the Quadra-Lift air suspension system to raise the Wagoneer to its maximum height of 10 inches. Once the SUV is raised, the system is ready to go and finetunes the transfer case, throttle, and differentials to give you more control at lower speeds for a great rock-crawling experience.
The Wagoneer may not be trail-rated, but it’s certainly capable, and that’s due in part to tools like the Quadra-Lift air suspension system that improves the SUV’s ground clearance by adding 3.6 inches of lift. Like the Selec-Terrain traction system, the Quadra-Lift is designed to give you control over the vehicle to optimize its performance. This control comes in the form of five height settings – Normal Ride Height, Off-Road 1, Off-Road 2, Park Mode, and Aero Mode.
Normal Ride Height optimizes efficiency and performance by keeping the vehicle at a standard 8-inch ground clearance. This setting is ideal when you’re navigating your daily commute and sticking to paved roads. Aero Mode sits the Wagoneer 0.6 inches lower than Normal Ride Height to optimize fuel economy and performance. When you select Sport Mode in the Selec-Terrain system, the Wagoneer will automatically default to Aero Mode.
Off-Road 1 lifts the vehicle another inch to deliver a 9-inch ground clearance to maximize the Wagoneer’s capability of clearing various obstacles like rocks or debris. Off-Road 2 takes this ground clearance even higher with a 2-inch lift that delivers 10 inches of ground clearance for legendary capability. The final mode is Park, which lowers the vehicle by 1.6 inches for easier entry and exit in certain situations like unloading and unloading the SUV.
Are You Impressed?
With a more affordable price tag than its Grand(er) sibling, the Wagoneer is setting the stage for greatness in its own right and proving the “Grand” moniker isn’t a must-have when it comes to capability. The Wagoneer packs a powerful punch under the hood that’s enhanced by a myriad of tried and true components from the Jeep lineup like the advanced four-wheel drive systems, the Selec-Terrain traction control system, and the practical Quadra-Lift air suspension system. These tools make up for the fact that the Wagoneer isn’t trail rated and prove that it can certainly take you off the road and down the trail with confidence and style on top of the luxury and technology it provides.