While it’s a fact that the all-new Jeep Grand Wagoneer offers a class-leading off-road capability rating, you may be surprised to learn that the luxe SUV lacks the vaunted and archetypal “Trail Rated” Jeep rating. But it’s not as simple as that. Is the Grand Wagoneer even off-road capable?
Jeep Grand Wagoneer
The all-new full-size sport-utility vehicle is back, with all its go-anywhere-do-anything, quintessentially American energy. Sitting on a formidable body-on-frame chassis, the posh-yet-brawny ride offers three-row seating for up to eight people. The airy, refined interior features quilted Palermo leather and a panoply of safety and driver assists, plus four-zone climate control and American walnut and actual metal (none of that faux stuff).
The Grand Wagoneer also offers a spanking-new front-passenger interactive display screen plus Uconnect 5 infotainment, and plenty of other connectivity, in addition to some 11 USB ports. The ride, which competes with the likes of the GMC Yukon Denali, Cadillac Escalade, and the Lincoln Navigator, is powered by a smooth and quiet 6.4-liter V8 powerplant that puts out 470 horsepower, makes 455 pound-feet of torque and can tow up to 10,000 pounds.
So, what is this about the Trail Rating? Well, to achieve it, the Jeep must meet a handful of criteria, including articulation, traction, water fording, ground clearance, and maneuverability. Let’s say it upfront: the grand Wagoneer (as well as the Jeep Wagoneer) meets each requirement with flying colors, save for one – maneuverability.
It’s simply an issue of size and girth. As we say, this is an eight-seater after all, so, well, you can’t really have everything. While the GW excels in every other area – it can ford up to 24 inches — the Grand Wagoneer is simply too big to handle most moderate trails, as are other full-size body-on-frame sport-utes.
Now, there is an available Advanced All-Terrain Group package for Jeep Wagoneer Series II and Series III trims. There is no such option, though, for the Grand Wagoneer. But hear this: if you buy one of the latter, you will have bought an imminently capable off-roader.
What the Grand Wagoneer does have is Jeep’s legendary Quadra-Drive II four-wheel drive system, which makes good use of its full-time, two-speed transfer case plus an electronic limited-slip differential. That’s helped by an indie rear suspension and four-corner Quadra-Lift air suspension that’s standard, and which offers five height modes for optimal ride and aerodynamics.
The air suspension offers load-leveling capability, which automatically senses pressure on the suspension from a payload or trailer. The pressure continues to mount until the Jeep hits normal ride height, which levels the SUV and, voila, optimizes the load and ride.
Further, a separate key fob button affords the driver the ability to manually lower the Grand Wagoneer, permitting easier cargo loading and passenger boarding. Thanks to the Quadra-Lift suspension, the Jeep can be lifted to a ground clearance of 10.1 inches.
So, is Grand Wagoneer off-road capable? It totally is, and then some. It may be too big and brawny to fit on most trails, but that doesn’t preclude you from taking the Jeep off-road, when necessary, and having a blast doing it.
The equipment is there, including a big and bad engine. After all, Jeep has staked the reputation of its brand on the whole off-road adventure thing, and it wasn’t about to forego that with this revived iteration of the venerable Grand Wagoneer.