Review: Jeep Grand Wagoneer has ample space and safety features, but the cost could be daunting

Jackson Bright, son of James Bright who reviews the Jeep Grand Wagoneer, stands next to the vehicle before returning it to the maker. (Photo by James Bright)
Jackson Bright, son of James Bright who reviews the Jeep Grand Wagoneer, stands next to the vehicle before returning it to the maker. (Photo by James Bright)

The second car I owned was a Hyundai Santa Fe. It's the only SUV I've ever driven for an extended period of time and I was in my early 20s.

At that time, before children, and before the next chapter of my life, I committed to never owning an SUV again. The gas prices and general size were to my disliking, but fast forward almost 20 years and my opinions have changed.

Now with kids, a full plate of responsibilities and the ever-encroaching fear of an unsafe car I find SUVs to be incredibly attractive. And unquestionably at the top of that list is the Jeep Grand Wagoneer. Driving is an experience, but it is an experience that will put a good deal of pressure on your bank account.

Safety is my number one concern now. As a parent of a 3-year-old and 4-month-old, I have to feel like my family is secure in what I am driving. And the Grand Wagoneer did not fall short. It's a tank of a vehicle. At almost 18 feet long, the car can feel like a lot to handle, but Jeep© has installed several technological innovations to help drivers navigate the SUVs size. The backup camera is pretty standard fair, but where this automobile really shines is the 360 degree top down image system, which showcases everything within three feet around the Grand Wagoneer in real time.


This was a game changer for me. Despite its potentially daunting size, Jeep© found a way to make it very difficult to back up or swing into an object.

Road assist and dynamic handling come standard and they are nice features, though I can't say they added much to my experience with the vehicle. Touch screen climate control and media control are nice features, but can feel like a bit of a distraction for a vehicle advanced enough to put everything else at your fingertips. Heads up display showing current speed, speed limit and orientation of the vehicle to the surrounding lanes was also nice, but is also standard in most cars and expected in luxury vehicles.

Ultimately though, I did feel my family was safe while driving. Installing both car seats was no easier or difficult than in any other car, but the general size, both length and width made for a relaxing experience. It also lead me to appreciate the interior space provided by Jeep©. This was also pretty standard compared to other luxury vehicles of this class, but it did excel a bit. If all three rows are folded down, the Grand Wagoneer creates over 115 feet of cubic space. This is a bit more than its competition.

However, I am not sure who would buy this car for space alone. It is a prime family SUV, and that means the storage space is pretty standard. Still, there's quite a bit of room with all seat rows up and in use. There's no reason a family of five wouldn't be able to comfortably travel across the country with all they need inside the vehicle too.

And should someone take that ride I think they would find the experience to be incredibly smooth. Even off road, which we tested, was incredibly solid in terms of stability and comfort. The standard 6.4 liter V8 engine gave more than enough strength to power the behemoth in any condition I could throw at it. Standard 4-wheel drive also makes terrain negligible when it comes to considering location. My infant slept through a one-and-half-hour jaunt without a peep. That was more than enough for to me be a fan of the Grand Wagoneer's ride.

It's a great vehicle. It's certainly worthy of riding side-by-side with its contemporaries made by the likes of Cadillac or Lincoln. But I can't say it's worth the price. Starting at $88,354, the Jeep Grand Wagoneer positions itself as such a luxury item that it could compete financially in the housing market. And the cost doesn't stop once the vehicle is purchased. It has a very specific clientele. A full set of tires will cost well over $1,000 and the estimated fuel cost is $290 a month. It is undoubtedly a luxury item and although it does contend with other luxury SUVs, a discerning buyer would have to ask, 'Is it worth the price?'

If the answer is yes, then I doubt buyer's remorse will be a problem, but financially it's a big ask.

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