What is it like to drive?
You’d expect something this big and long to handle like a truck and semi trailer. But that’s not the case with the Grand Wagoneer. The chassis and steering have been calibrated so that it feels like two feet of wheelbase have been chopped out once you get rolling. This makes city driving and parking – when you are not using the automated parking feature – much easier than you’d assume from the GW’s vast dimensions. Not least because the steering is super light.
The 471bhp 6.4-litre V8 Hemi engine can’t hide its muscle car roots and rasps politely but with intent on start up. Once underway it is virtually silent, though, unless you bury the right pedal. But even then, it still sounds far away. That’s because Jeep has worked wonders on insulating the cabin from all mechanical noises, so you flow along in a submarine stillness.
One that extends from tickover all the way to the redline, the eight-speed box offering imperceptible changes in all but the most lead-footed of throttle applications. So there’s no excuse for upsetting your passengers, each of whom has at least one dedicated screen – other than the rear row who will have to do with iPads – to distract them from the journey.
So is the Grand Wagoneer comfortable, then?
It's really what the Grand Wagoneer is all about – creating a rolling bubble of comfort for up to seven people. You can hustle it down back roads if you are late for the airport – you just wont enjoy it much thanks to the slightly excessive body swaying, that super light steering and early onset understeer.
But its natural gait is to cruise. Which makes the suspension’s slightly choppy ride on broken surfaces all the more noticeable. Hopefully it’s nothing a re-program of the air suspension shouldn't be able to iron out. But a surprise nonetheless.
Off-road the surprises are all positive. With the ability to jack up the suspension so that there’s 10 inches of clearance, the Grand Wagoneer can ford, climb, scramble and emerge like any Jeep should. Despite this one being almost twice the size of a Wrangler. And it can tow a huge amount of weight – almost 10,000lb – thanks to the tow hitch attachment point being welded to the chassis at the factory.