The Grand Wagoneer L is the largest and most luxurious Jeep you can buy, designed with U.S. drivers in mind more than you typical Canuck. At 5.76 metres long, 1.96 metres tall, and with a wheelbase of 3.3 metres, it trumps the vast majority of vehicles on sale right now. It also weighs more than 3 tons, for crying out loud.
As the top SUV in the lineup, this Jeep is tasked with challenging GM’s Cadillac Escalade, more specifically the Escalade ESV. How does it fare? That’s what we aimed to find out in a weeklong winter test drive.
- Also: Jeep’s Large SUVs Lose Their V8 Engines for 2024
- Also: 2023 Jeep Wagoneer: 10 Things We Like or Dislike
More Space Than You Could Possibly Want
If you thought the Jeep Wagoneer was spacious, then you need to use another adjective for the Grand Wagoneer L. The first two rows can accommodate adults of all shapes and sizes, and the third row offers generous room, as well. The large rear doors make access pretty easy, just like the second-row power folding mechanism that creates a large pathway to the rearmost seats.
Cargo space is huge with a trunk that can hold 1,252 litres when all the seatbacks are up. Drop them down, and you get a whopping 3,196 litres. Imagine all the camping gear, hockey bags or renovation supplies you could fit in there!
Fit and finish is not quite on par with the Cadillac Escalade but still remarkable. The Series III model we tested had a price tag north of $140,000 and was littered with displays, some of which you could live without. There’s one in front of the driver, another one for the passenger, two on the centre stack and three more in the second row. We’re not so sure all these digital additions are really worth it. Will customers grow tired of them after a few years?
Only time will tell. We also can’t help but wonder about long-term durability. Not only when it comes to the many technologies on board, but also the truckful of features and amenities included in the top-of-the-line Grand Wagoneer L. Once during the week, the retractable side step on the driver’s side started acting up, either lowering at a snail’s pace or not deploying altogether. Meanwhile, the automatic emergency braking system seemed to work randomly despite the sensors staying clear of the elements.
Rock You Like a Hurricane
Sadly for HEMI fans, the 6.4-litre V8 is no longer available. The 2024 Jeep Grand Wagoneer L comes exclusively with Stellantis’ new twin-turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine, better known as Hurricane.
This 3.0-litre powerhouse packs 510 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque. We’re talking about the High Output version—the lesser Wagoneer gets the Standard Output version rated at 420 hp and 468 lb-ft. Shifting is handled by an eight-speed automatic transmission, which is paired with a proven four-wheel drive system.
In addition to delivering gobs of low-end torque, the Hurricane unleashes a fury beyond 4,000 rpm and doesn’t relent until it hits the redline just shy of 6,000 rpm. Peak power is accessible at 5,700 rpm. What does it all mean? Well, the three-ton Grand Wagoneer L has no trouble moving around thanks to the mighty and flexible engine residing under its vast hood. While reliability is a big question mark at this point, performance is definitely not. Seriously, no one will miss the old V8. And for those who need to tow, max capacity is 9,850 lbs—ample enough for pulling a fairly large boat or camping trailer.
The worst part? Fuel economy, of course. Rated at a combined 15 L/100 km by Natural Resources Canada, the twin-turbo straight-six is barely more efficient than the V8 it replaces, saving about 1-2 L/100 km. With temperatures dropping to around -10° Celsius, our Grand Wagoneer L achieved 19 L/100 km with two-thirds of the time spent driving around town. Naturally, premium gas is required.
On the road, Jeep’s long-wheelbase, full-size SUV tries its best to avoid making you feel like you’re the captain of a ship. Given its outrageous size and weight, we have to say we’re a bit surprised by how well it handles. On the other hand, steering feels a tad numb and less precise than the Escalade’s. All things considered, GM still has the edge in terms of driving pleasure. We also found the brake pedal to be rather touchy, resulting in some jerky moves and untimely intervention of the ABS on low-grip surfaces.
For sure, the ride is wonderfully smooth and quiet. No matter how fast you’re driving, you can keep going for hours without fatigue settling in. Ergonomics are good, except perhaps for the thick-rimmed steering wheel that may not suit all drivers.
As comfortable and luxurious as it may be, the 2024 Jeep Grand Wagoneer L Series III costs a fortune. The one we tested came with a few extras and demanded $143,756 including destination and delivery. At 6.49 percent for 60 months, you’re looking at monthly payments of $3,294 including tax if you opt for financing. Jeep offers leasing at a ridiculous rate of 9.79 percent for 48 months, which means payments of $2,848 and a yearly allowance of 18,000 km.
Considering the uncertainty about its long-term resale value, powertrain durability and plethora of displays and gadgets, we recommend erring on the side of caution if this SUV tickles your fancy.
And if you don’t need such a massive vehicle but still like the Wagoneer, a standard-wheelbase Series II model can be yours from just under $85,000 (based on 2023 prices—the MSRPs for 2024 were not available yet at the time of writing). Granted, it’s not as powerful, spacious or tech-heavy, but the huge amount of money you’d be saving is certainly worth thinking about.