Edmunds compares Jeep Grand Wagoneer and Cadillac Escalade

By MICHAEL CANTU, Edmunds

Jeep comes with a new large three-row SUV, the Grand Wagoneer. It dusts off a nameplate that hasn’t been used since the early 1990s and stands as the brand’s most expensive and luxurious model. Immense power, impressive technology and a premium interior are the highlights rather than Jeep’s typical trail-busting capabilities.

Of course, there’s another American SUV that drives in the same gold-plated halls: the Cadillac Escalade. Since its recent redesign, the Escalade has been Edmunds big luxury SUV. Can the new Grand Wagoneer beat the Cadillac Escalade? The Edmunds experts compare these rivals to find out.

The Grand Wagoneer offers two engine choices: the base 6.4-liter V8 engine that produces 471 horsepower and 455 lb-ft of torque and an optional 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine that pumps out 510 horsepower and 500 lb-ft. In Edmunds’ testing, the V8 was good enough to propel the Grand Wagoneer from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.7 seconds.

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That’s a full second faster than the Escalade, which comes with a 6.2-liter V8 with 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft. Cadillac does not offer a more powerful engine upgrade, although a six-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine is available that produces 277 horsepower and 460 lb-ft.

This diesel is the fuel economy champion of the competition, earning an impressive EPA-estimated 23 mpg in combined city/highway driving. Otherwise, you’re looking at 15-17 mpg for the Grand Wagoneer or 16 mpg for the V8-powered Escalade.

The superior fuel economy of the Escalade’s available diesel engine is attractive, but buyers of large SUVs typically want a lot of power.

The Grand Wagoneer is expensive. The luxury SUV starts at $89,995, including destination surcharge. But there’s a reason for that sky-high starting price. In addition to standard four-wheel drive, the Grand Wagoneer comes with standard features such as premium leather upholstery, two large central touchscreens, a 19-speaker McIntosh audio system, adaptive air suspension and a full suite of advanced driver aids. Optional features are just as impressive.

The Cadillac Escalade has a much lower starting price of $77,990, although it doesn’t include any of the above features as standard equipment in addition to a similar audio system. Similar features, with the exception of the dual-center touchscreens, are available on higher trim levels. The starting prices of the highest trim levels of the Escalade, Premium Luxury Platinum and Sport Platinum, are just a few thousand lower than the highest Series III trim of the Grand Wagoneer that offers more features.

The price is pretty even, but there’s one feature that tips the scales: Cadillac’s Super Cruise system. This is a convenient hands-free driving system that can be used on many highways to reduce the monotony of long journeys. Jeep does not currently offer a driver assistance system comparable to Super Cruise.

Large SUVs are expected to offer plenty of cargo space, and the Grand Wagoneer doesn’t disappoint. Behind the third row, you’ll find 27.4 cubic feet of cargo space and 70.9 cubic feet with the third row folded. With the second and third rows folded, the Grand Wagoneer reaches a maximum of 94.2 cubic feet. Maximum towing capacity is a solid 9,850 pounds when properly equipped – enough to tow a hefty travel trailer or toy trailer.

The Cadillac Escalade has similar cargo numbers for normal use. There are 25.5 cubes behind the third row and 72.9 cubic feet behind the second. But drop both back rows and the Escalade can hold a superior 121 cubic feet of gear. There is also the longer Escalade ESV model, which is even more spacious. Jeep plans to offer an extended-length Grand Wagoneer L, but it won’t hit the market until the 2023 model year.

The Cadillac falls a little short on maximum towing capacity — 8,200 pounds in the right configuration — but overall it’s the more versatile dumper.

The latest Cadillac Escalade does an excellent job of smoothing out bumps and keeping the ride comfortable over rough road surfaces. The Grand Wagoneer is not that impressive. It handles smaller bumps well, but larger and uneven sidewalks can cause awkward body movements that can crowd passengers.

But Jeep is backtracking on the seating battle. All three rows offer luxury seats and the front seats come with heating, ventilation and massage functions as standard. The Escalade’s front seats are pretty nice, but the rear passengers aren’t treated to the same level of comfort as in the Grand Wagoneer.

Edmunds says: Both models are impressive luxury SUVs, and choosing one or the other is not an easy choice. But overall, we think the Escalade is the better buy, given its more flexible pricing, larger load capacity and exclusive hands-free driving system.

This story was provided to The Associated Press by the car website Edmunds.

Michael Cantu is an employee at Edmunds. Follow Michael on Instagram.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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