As a phenomenon of car culture - the world's first luxury SUV - the Grand Wagoneer appeared in 1984. This was the name of the Jeep Wagoner modification, formerly known as the Limited. It was a top-end car equipped with all the new products of that century and was deservedly called the gold standard of the SUV market. Almost 30 years after the end of production of the first Grand Wagoner, a new Grand was born.
The Grand Wagoneer became a separate sub-brand that significantly expanded the Jeep product line. Now, under the same brand, they promise to once again offer advanced technologies in the field of comfort and safety. Thus, the Grand Wagoneer has done what the Grand Cherokee never could—elevate the brand's status to a premium level where the most luxurious SUVs are sold slowly and with dignity and where the Cadillac Escalade has reigned supreme lately. Let's try to compare these cars.
Of course, art is always subjective, but hardly anyone would argue that the Escalade is a very stylish and original model, while the Grand Wagoneer looks more traditional and conservative, if not old-fashioned. Cadillac has a massive grille that makes the narrow headlights even narrower, and the vertical running lights (as well as the vertical taillights) visually increase the height. With a subtle roof spoiler, dual exhaust tips, and 22-inch wheels, the Escalade has a sporty look while still delivering the impression of monumental high-tech luxury.
The Jeep doesn't pack quite the same punch, but it's no less attractive. The beautifully proportioned grille blends into the headlights and can produce a stunning light show when the remote start is activated. Chrome accents highlight the well-integrated fog lamps, but overall, the SUV is designed in a traditional style, and all its windows, including the rear and windshield, are edged with chrome. This was largely intentional, and the designers have tried to play with retro styling and continuity. These attempts seem rather haphazard, while the Escalade is much more harmonious and balanced.
Cadillac has a 6.2-liter naturally aspirated V8 with 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. However, if you prefer heavy fuel, you can take a closer look at the 3.0-liter six-cylinder turbodiesel, which easily provides 277 hp and the same torque as the V8. The Escalade's maximum towing capacity is 8290 pounds, which isn't much for this size. Even its former main American competitor, the Lincoln Navigator, can handle a weight of 8800 pounds.
Jeep went a different route and equipped the Wagoneer with a 5.7-liter HEMI V8, 392 hp and 404 lb-ft. The Grand Wagoneer has a HEMI of 6.4 liters, producing 471 hp and 455 lb-ft of torque. Moreover, both Wagoneer models are capable of surpassing the Escalade in terms of towing capacity, which in the Grand Wagoneer exceeds 9900 pounds! So Jeep wins this round, although some will be disappointed by the lack of a diesel in the lineup.
The interior of the modern Escalade is no longer a hive of creaky materials and hard plastics. The driver gets the auto industry's first 14.2-inch curved OLED display that looks amazing. But Cadillac does not intend to abandon the classics. It still uses physical buttons for the three-zone climate control and the famous gear selector lever. Leather upholstery is standard, as are heated steering wheel and seats in the first two rows, a push-button folding third row, massaging front seats, and a panoramic sunroof. The display merges with a huge 16.9-inch wide infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Options include night vision cameras and a mind-blowing 36-speaker AKG Studio sound system.
The Jeep comes standard with four-zone climate control, American Walnut trim, and premium leather with accent stitching. It matches the knurled aluminum gear selector, and the chrome vents add to the luxurious feel. In front of the driver locates a 12.3-inch digital display, while a touchscreen monitor in the center console handles infotainment content. Wireless smartphone connectivity is also standard here, as is the new Uconnect 5 software that supports the car version of Amazon Fire TV. A separate 10.3-inch touchscreen is available for the passenger, while climate control in the second row is controlled from a 10.3-inch touchscreen monitor in the rear. In addition, passengers can benefit from a pair of 10.1-inch seatback monitors. It all looks impressive, although it would be nice to add the usual physical buttons. In general, Jeep is perhaps a little ahead of its Cadillac competitor in luxury and technology.
The Cadillac Escalade is still a symbol of luxury and will continue to be more popular with rappers and celebrities than the Wagoneer. It looks more exclusive, more accessible, and well-studied.
On the other hand, the Grand Wagoneer is a carrier of modern technologies, and it is a Jeep, which means it will be preferable on rough terrain. However, its rear and profile look a little too heavy, and we miss the physical buttons in the cabin despite the ability to adjust anything and everything using voice control. At the same time, Jeep offers its customers cutting-edge technology and greater practicality.
If you want to feel the luxury and power of these outstanding SUVs, visit Indy Auto Man for a test drive of a used Cadillac Escalade and Jeep Grand Wagoneer, and buy your favorite model already today.