The return of the Grand Wagoneer nameplate places Jeep at the heart of the full-size American luxury market to take on the tech-focused Cadillac Escalade and the simplified luxury of the Lincoln Navigator. Is it too little too late, and what took so long?

I took the 2021 Jeep Grand Wagoneer on a fishing road trip to Canada, and used it for family errands to see where it hits and where it misses.

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Series I 4x4

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Series I 4x4

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Series I 4x4

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Series I 4x4

Hit: Like an overgrown Grand Cherokee L

The six-lug wheels indicate the Grand Wagoneer is based on a truck, and that’s because it is. It’s loosely based on the Ram 1500, but unlike the Escalade it hides this fact well. The center console in the Grand Wagoneer isn’t as wide as you’ll find in a truck, and the C-pillars aren’t as intrusive as those of the Escalade. The hoodline drops off like a Grand Cherokee L, which improves outward visibility. The low-set dashboard combined with the high seating position provides a commanding view of the road that I appreciated on the open highway. The Escalade rides better than any truck-based SUV has a right to, but with its air suspension and adaptive dampers the Grand Wagoneer bests the Escalade and rides more like an overgrown Grand Cherokee L. Bumps and highway expansion joints on broken Midwest pavement rarely pound through to occupants and never upset the slow, but direct steering, which pairs well with the Grand Wagoneer’s cumbersome size.

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Series I 4x4

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Series I 4x4

Miss: Form over function

My base Grand Wagoneer Series I 4x4 tester had a sticker price of $90,885 and featured a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, a 12.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a 10.3-inch touchscreen for the climate controls, and a 10.1-inch touchscreen for the rear seat climate controls. The front climate screen puts form over function, and every one of its functions can be controlled by the main screen above it. The lower screen is motorized screen and can be flipped up to reveal a compartment that houses a 12-volt plug, USB-A and USB-C ports, and a wireless phone charger.

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Series I 4x4

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Series I 4x4

Want to use any of those ports? The screen will need to be up, which makes it useless. Jeep should add a cutout for cords. Plan to use the smartphone charger? Place your phone in the cubby, shut the motorized screen and odds are 10:1 you’ll walk into your kids’ swim lessons only to realize your phone’s locked behind that screen in the cubby. Ask me how I know. The Grand Wagoneer has to be started or put into accessory mode to open the motorized screen to uncage your smartphone. Hiding all this stuff makes for a clean look, but it isn’t very functional. On my road trip, I kept the screen in the up position the entire time.

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Series I 4x4

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Series I 4x4

The rear-seat 10.1-inch touchscreen is mounted at a fixed angle off the rear center console, can’t be hidden, and will absolutely draw the attention of your young kids. It can also get in the way when sliding in longer objects, like fishing rod cases.

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Series I 4x4

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Series I 4x4

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Series I 4x4

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Series I 4x4

Hit: Throaty V-8 power and 2-speed transfer case

The Grand Wagoneer is powered by a 6.4-liter V-8 plucked from the Grand Cherokee SRT’s parts bin. Here, it makes 471 hp and 455 lb-ft of torque and is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. For now, four-wheel drive is standard. Jeep said the V-8 can shove the big SUV from 0 to 60 mph in 6.0 seconds, and that feels accurate. It’s an impressive feat in a vehicle that weighs a minimum of 6,340 lb. The V-8 sounds fantastic while delivering plenty of passing power, and the 8-speed automatic transmission fires off clean, quick shifts. Every Grand Wagoneer comes with a 2-speed transfer case to provide extra grunt in slick situations or while hauling a heavy load, a feature that is not even offered on the Lincoln Navigator and is optional on the Escalade.

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Series I 4x4

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Series I 4x4

Miss: It’s not efficient

The Lincoln Navigator’s 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 is thriftier at the pump for those capable of going light on the throttle to stay out of the boost. The Cadillac Escalade offers a turbodiesel inline-6 that can top 25 mpg on the highway. The Grand Wagoneer’s inefficient V-8 carries EPA ratings of 13 mpg city, 18 highway, and 15 combined. Over the course of 698 miles of highway driving, I saw an average of 17.9 mpg, according to the trip computer. That’s in line with the EPA ratings, but it’s less than the competition. Jeep’ has promised a more efficient electrified model, likely with the turbocharged inline-6 FCA developed, but when it will arrive is unknown.

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Series I 4x4

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Series I 4x4

Hit and miss: It’s massive

The Grand Wagoneer is huge. It’s hard to understand the big SUV’s scale in most photos, but seeing it parked next to a two-row Grand Cherokee really puts it in perspective as it dwarfs its smaller sibling. At 214.7 inches long, the Grand Wagoneer is nearly four inches longer than an Escalade and nearly five inches longer than a Navigator.

A three-point turn to get in or out of a parking spot is often necessary. It’s nearly as wide as some parking spaces, and it’s probably best to make sure this thing will fit in your garage during a test drive. It just barely fit lengthwise in mine, and the width presented its own challenges for my household.

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Series I 4x4

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Series I 4x4

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Series I 4x4

2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Series I 4x4

But that massive size pays dividends in space for people and cargo. There’s plenty of knee, leg, foot, and head room for adults to make the third-row the best in any three-row SUV this side of long-wheelbase versions of the Escalade and Navigator. Flip the fold-flat third-row seats down and cargo space behind the second row is a palatial 70.9 cubic feet, which was more than ample for hauling four adults’ gear for a four-day fishing trip.

It took much longer than it should have for Jeep to enter the full-size three-row luxury market, but the revivedGrand Wagoneer’s a gorgeous interior, terrific third row, good visibility, and smooth ride make it worth the wait.

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2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer Series I 4x4

Base price: $86,995 including destination
Price as tested: $90,885
EPA fuel economy: 13/18/15 mpg
The hits: Terrific third row, comfortable ride, space for all the things, powerful V-8, good visibility
The misses: Drinks gas, size makes it cumbersome, form over function for some packaging and features