202 Grand Wagoneer Obsidian / Photo by Steve Rossi

Car Review: 2024 Grand Wagoneer Offers Sophisticated Luxury

EAST HADDAM, CT – The Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) defines a “classic” as “a high-priced, fine or distinctive automobile built in limited quantities.” While the likes of Packard and Pierce-Arrow will never be seen again, the modern-day equivalents are premium, full-size sport utility vehicles. 

They even resemble what were glamorous classic cars of the day with timeless, two-box design silhouettes. They feature a prominent engine bay up front followed by a full, extended passenger compartment in arear.

2024 Grand Wagoneer Obsidian

The Grand Wagoneer – which Jeep refuses to call a Jeep even  though you can only buy it from a Jeep dealer – is one such reincarnated classic. It’s along the lines of the Cadillac Escalade and the Lincoln Navigator. 

In fact, the Wagoneer is the rebirth of a Jeep icon which enjoyed a rich heritage of comfort and utility through 1991. This reincarnated extension exudes the same sense of sophistication and authenticity, but delivers much more modern mobility.

Hurricane Twin Turbo 510 engine is standard on 2024 Grand Wagoneer

The new Wagoneer is powered by a potent 510-horsepower Hurricane (an old Jeep engine name, by the way) twin turbo six-cylinder engine. It’s coupled to an 8-speed automatic transmission. 

Although most buyers will never know the difference (because they’ll never open the hood), philosophically, I think that such a grand dame should be motivated by at least eight, American-made cylinders. Many Pierces and Packards not only had eight, but even twelve. 

Truth be told, though, the Mexican-assembled Hurricane proved faultless in operation during a test period.

2024 Grand Wagoneer Obsidian

(For more knowledgable readers, let me report that a Select-Terrain® system was supplemented by a 2-speed On-Demand Transfer Case, an Electronic Limited-Slip Rear Differential, and a Front Axle Differential Disconnect.)

I got to drive a Series III Obsidian 4 x 4 edition. Calling it plush would be an understatement. The exterior was elegant and expressive, without being overly embellished. It simultaneously conveyed an image of commanding confidence and demonstrated presence. 

As is (Jeep) tradition, it wore a seven-slat grille and had modern niceties like LED head and tail lighting.

2024 Grand Wagoneer

Hopping on board via (electronically-extended) running boards (like an old Packard or Pierce-Arrow) elevated me to a sanctuary of quilted Palmero-leather, 20-way power adjustable seating that offered heating, cooling and messaging capability. Rich piano black, Obsidian interior accents conveyed an unparalleled impression of graciousness.

Craftsmanship and refinement were evident all around, with what the company calls “the pinnacle of premium SUV interiors.” That included such delights as a McIntosh® entertainment system and built-in, rear seat Amazon Fire TV with 10.1-inch screens, ahead of each captain’s chair.

Not only were there two, reconfigurable touchscreen displays up front – 10.1-inch and 12-inch – there was a third 10.25 unit for the front passenger. A four-zone, automatic heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) system ensure that the driver, front passenger, second row occupants and third row riders remained coddled come rain, shine or the worst of winter. 

Interior of the 2024 Grand Wagoneer Obsidian

There was even a night vision camera system with pedestrian and animal detection, along with Rear Seat Monitoring (Fam Cam) for the kiddies.

Safety-wise, the Grand Wagoneer certainly sports all the latest bells and whistles. How’s this for a laundry list: Active Driving Assist, Active Lane Management, Drowsy Driver Detection, Forward-Collision Warning, Blind Spot and Rear Cross-Path Detection, Pedestrian Emergency Braking, Intersection Collision Assist, Advanced Security Alert. Etc., etc.  

Thanks to modern technology and conscientious suspension calibration, this big bruiser was nimbler than I might have imagined despite 22-inch tinted/polished black alloy wheels. Even at 6,000+ pounds, the Grand Wagoneer acquitted itself surprisingly well. Its Quadra-Lift® Air Suspension certainly helped. Parking it took two or three swings to maneuver into place. Aye, aye captain.

Front end of the 2024 Grand Wagoneer

The Grand Waggoneer consumed an average of 17 mpg of premium fuel. But if you’ve got the wherewithal to step up to the Grand Wagoneer Obsidian’s $107,995 base price, that’ll probably be a mere afterthought. Mine stickered at $114,825 with option packages.

The New England Motor Press Association (NEMPA) named the Grand Wagoneer its Official Winter SUV of the Year and Best Premium Full-size Sport Utility. No doubt, the Grand Wagoneer is a dignified, grand conveyance of classic proportions and appeal. Just like a Packard or Pierce-Arrow of days gone by.

(Unless otherwise noted all photos are courtesy of Jeep.)

About Steven Rossi

Steve Rossi is an automotive engineer-turned-marketing communicator. With some 25 years in the industry, including three tours of duty in Detroit, he serves as senior columnist for "Antique Automobile" magazine. His work has also appeared in "Collectible Automobile" and "The New York Times." He holds 21 international speed and world automotive endurance records.

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