And now there’s a new one, and that’s great – but there’s also a new (to some extent) entry into the world of the big domestic luxury SUV, and it has quite the fighter making ingredients.
It’s called the Jeep Grand Wagoneer, and while it’s an all-new vehicle for 2022, that name is also one that cemented its place in the luxury SUV world. When it debuted in the 1960s, it was one of the first to offer amenities such as air conditioning, an automatic transmission, and leather seats.
Beware, Escalade; heavy is the crown, and the Wagoneer comes before it.
For its part, the new Escalade differs from the previous number of versions dating back to 2007 in that it has adopted a pair of skewed horizontal headlights instead of the vertical ones we know. For the most part it works for the Escalade, but I do miss those signature vertical ‘lamps from the old days. However, the new truck still gets the awesome taillights that span the height of the rear deck, which is an Escalade staple. It also still gets a huge chrome grille (which can be darkened in certain finishes), big wheels and vertical fog lights, keeping it there for days.
Speaking of chrome, you’ll find it on the Wagoneer’s window trims, taillight surrounds, under the front doors of the power-folding steps, on the roof rails and all over the grille.
Inside, these two go head to head with each other. They both have a great fit and finish, the materials used are top quality and they are spacious. However, the Grand Wagoneer is just a bit roomier, especially in terms of the third row, although you can pack more cargo in the Caddy.
While the Escalade takes advantage of the new suspension that all new GM full-size SUVs get and that actually offers extra space in the backseat, the Grand Wagoneer was the one that impressed both myself and my passengers the most. The third row is spacious, comes fully equipped with cup holders and USB ports and you can even access it with baby seats in the second row thanks to a tilt-and-slide feature that the Escalade doesn’t have. You could walk between the seats in the Escalade to get to the third row – the passage there is surprisingly wide – but that means you’ll still have to squirm for a child seat, or only have access to the third row from one side of the seat. the car.
Overall, though, I have to give the nod to the Escalade here. The Grand Wagoneer certainly catches the eye with all that chrome, but the ‘Lade’ is an exercise in clean, strong lines with just the right amount of flare. It doesn’t have to try so hard. It’s that simple.
Performance, ride and handling
We find two very similar situations here when it comes to the powertrains – with the exception of one important caveat: the Escalade has two engine choices – a 3.0-litre Duramax six-cylinder diesel or a 6.2-litre V8 – while the Grand Wagoneer has only one gets: a 6.4-litre V8 with a mild-hybrid system.
However, both V8s get cylinder shutdown which is great and both are smooth, powerful ‘plants; the Caddy gets 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque, while the Grand Wagoneer surpasses the Escalade by offering 471 horsepower, but falls short at 455 lb-ft. Anyway; these are two big, sturdy engines mated to multi-ratio transmissions (10 speeds for the Cadillac, eight for the Grand Wagoneer) that get these big, sturdy trucks up and running on time. The Grand Wagoneer is available in just one length: 5,543 millimeters, which equates to about 200mm on the Escalade ESV and about 200mm higher on the standard Escalade.
The drivetrains are a bit of a “pick’em” scenario unless you’re a horsepower person above all else. The ride and handling category, on the other hand, has a clear winner in the Grand Wagoneer. Both versions of these SUVs I tested had adaptive magnetic suspension, but the way the Grand Wagoneer predicted which bumps were coming your way and instantly changed the air suspension made for a smoother ride. The Escalade gains back a few points in the way it corners with slightly less body roll than the Wagoneer, but those points aren’t enough to push it over the top.
There’s plenty of storage in these two, but just a little more in the Grand Wagoneer, which gets huge, deep, top-loading bins between the first and second rows, while the second row also gets a secondary cargo area closer to the floor. I also like how the secondary display located below the main display in the Wagoneer retracts at the touch of a button, giving six USB ports (three USB-A, three USB-C) and an HDMI port. will be unveiled, as well as a wireless charging pad. However, I like less how there’s no other storage space anywhere on top of the transmission tunnel to speak of, this side of a few cup holders and who wants to waste those on a wallet or mobile device?
The Escalade has a more traditional storage bin there, while the wireless charger is mounted just in front of the center armrest and I have no problem with that, especially as I don’t have to open or close any panels to access it.
Both are fitted with an electrically folding third row which then leaves a perfectly flat loading surface, and they both offer the option of ‘kneeling’ to allow for a lower lift height. Of the two, although only the Caddy allows users to open just the rear window instead of the entire gate – I like that, as it allows you to carry longer items and doesn’t let high loads fall out after opening the door. tailgate.
Both vehicles have huge main displays that are customizable and contain all kinds of information. With the Escalade, you get both night vision and augmented reality navigation. It also gets optional Super Cruise technology, which, when activated, autonomously maintains speed, distance and lane without the driver ever having to keep their hands on the wheel, as long as you’re on one of the roads listed in the vehicle’s database. system are programmed.
However, the Grand Wagoneer shoots back. On this top-spec Series III trim, there are a total of almost 45-inch displays: the gauge cluster (also with night vision), main infotainment display, auxiliary display below, a display for each passenger in the second row and the kicker: a display for the passenger on the second row. the front seat that allows them to set navigation and infotainment commands for the driver. That passenger and the passengers in the second row all have access to Amazon FireTV. Both vehicles also get digital rear-view mirrors, although the one on the Jeep is larger than the Caddy’s, which looks a little frantic given the sheer size of the environment.
While both vehicles get heated and cooled front seats, as well as massage seats, the items on the Grand Wagoneer are a bit fuller than those on the Cadillac and the massage function is more robust.
It’s a tough choice between the two here, but the lead has to go to the Grand Wagoneer, thanks to the multitude of displays (although no augmented reality navigation is a shame), space and seating comfort.
It is expensive, this Grand Wagoneer. It starts at just over $100,000 in basic Series I form, while in Series III form it can be seen here at $120,000 before options; even in larger ESV form, the Caddy starts at just over 90 grand and you have to tick all the option packs to get it to the $130,000 level my Series III is at, and it’s still smaller than the ESV.
Of course there’s also the fact that you can get a frugal diesel for the Caddy and I was able to reduce the Wagoneer by barely 20L/100km in the combined cycle. Yes, much of my test was spent in the city, but it’s a thirsty mom, this Grand Wagoneer.
Yes, the Cadillac has the efficiency and the looks, but the Grand Wagoneer is a big event when you approach it and step in and I think that’s important at this level. It’s also less ubiquitous than the Escalade, of course, and that uniqueness could pay dividends in buyers’ minds. If you want the tough stuff then the Escalade is the choice, but if you want all that luxury, more tech and just that much more stand out, the Grand Wagoneer is definitely worth checking out.
The vehicle has been made available to the author by the car manufacturer. Content and vehicle evaluations were not subject to approval