The Range Rover has reason to worry now that the 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer has been revealed. However, there are plenty more luxury SUVs on the market, including several from the US. And one of the Grand Wagoneer’s biggest rivals is the updated-for-2021 Cadillac Escalade. But which premium SUV should you roll in?
The 2021 Cadillac Escalade has more powertrain options, but the 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer has more capability
First, a point of order. Although the 2021 Cadillac Escalade is available in long-wheelbase ESV form, the 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer isn’t. At least, not yet; Jeep is working on a long-wheelbase model, Roadshow reports. But for now, we’ll focus on these body-on-frame SUVs’ standard-wheelbase trims.
In terms of space, the Grand Wagoneer and Escalade each have their respective advantages. The Jeep has more cargo space behind its third and second rows, The Drive reports. However, the Cadillac has a larger overall cargo capacity. But the Grand Wagoneer can seat up to eight people; the Escalade tops out at seven.
As far as powertrains go, the Cadillac Escalade has more variety. Its standard engine is a 6.2-liter V8 with 420 hp and 460 lb-ft linked to a 10-speed automatic. There’s also a diesel option, a 3.0-liter six-cylinder turbodiesel with 277 hp and 460 lb-ft. And for 2022, the Escalade is getting an optional dealership-installed supercharger kit to further boost the V8’s output. But regardless of engine, the Cadillac Escalade is available with RWD or 4WD, Roadshow reports.
The 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer’s powertrain options are significantly more limited. Its sole choice is a 6.4-liter V8 with 471 hp and 455 lb-ft linked to an eight-speed automatic, Road & Track reports. But, unlike Cadillac’s SUV, the Grand Wagoneer comes standard with 4WD.
And while the Grand Wagoneer lacks multiple powertrain options, it makes up for it with towing capacity. The Jeep can tow up to 9860 pounds, while the Escalade tops out at 8200 pounds, Car and Driver reports. Also, while the Grand Wagoneer doesn’t have a Trail-Rated badge, it does have up to 10” of ground clearance and a 24” fording depth, Roadshow reports. Plus, unlike Cadillac, Jeep lists breakover, approach, and departure angles for its SUV, MotorTrend reports.
What about luxury features?
Broadly speaking, the 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer and 2021 Cadillac Escalade have some similar features. But again, they trade off advantages in certain areas.
For example, every Grand Wagoneer trim offers standard leather upholstery: Nappa on the lowest one and Palermo on higher trims. But the base-trim Cadillac Escalade doesn’t have leather, Car and Driver reports. And if you want Palermo-level leather, you’ll have to go for the range-topping Platinum model.
In regards to infotainment and entertainment, the differences are a bit more subtle. The Cadillac Escalade offers an optional 36-speaker AKG audio system, Car and Driver reports. However, the Grand Wagoneer comes standard with an “audiophile-grade” McIntosh system, Car and Driver reports. Although, it tops out at 23 speakers.
Both SUVs also offer a plethora of screens for both the first and second rows. However, the Jeep offers more total screen space than the Escalade, Car and Driver reports. But in terms of driving-assistance tech, the Cadillac Escalade currently offers GM’s Super Cruise suite—the Jeep equivalent won’t be available at launch, Motor1 reports.
Returning to the mechanical features, both of these body-on-frame SUVs have fully-independent suspension. However, each Jeep Grand Wagoneer comes standard with adjustable air suspension and an electronic rear limited-slip differential. Getting the latter on the Cadillac Escalade requires stepping up to at least the Sport trim, though lower trims do have a mechanical one. And while air springs and magnetorheological dampers are available on the Escalade, they’re optional on the lower trims, Car and Driver reports.
How do the Jeep Grand Wagoneer and Cadillac Escalade compare in terms of cost?
The 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer’s extra luxuries do come at a price. The base model, the Series I, starts at $88,190 before destination. Getting the ‘Active Drive Assist’ suite requires going to the Series II, which starts at $99,185 before destination. Then, in ascending order, are the Obsidian, Series III, and Series III Premium trims; the last one starts at $107,980 before destination.
As for the 2021 Cadillac Escalade, the base trim is the $76,195 Luxury model. Next are the $82,995 Premium Luxury and $85,595 Sport. The range-topping trims are the two Platinum models, Premium Luxury and Sport Platinum, which start at $99,995 before destination. But if you want 4WD, it’s a $3000 optional extra.
So, once you equip an Escalade Sport with 4WD, it’s basically the same price as the equivalent Grand Wagoneer Series I.
Which should you get, the Jeep Grand Wagoneer or the Cadillac Escalade?
Without driving these SUVs back-to-back, it’s difficult to truly say which is the better choice. And at their respective lower ends, when similarly-equipped, the Jeep and the Cadillac cost roughly the same. And while overall, the Grand Wagoneer is slightly more expensive, The Drive reports that its interior goes some way to justify it.
That being said, choosing between vehicles at this price point is largely about design and features. So, if you prefer how the Escalade looks over the Jeep, go for it. And you’ll be getting broadly-similar features at a slight discount. But if you need to tow more weight and/or carry more people, and genuinely go off-roading, the Grand Wagoneer might be more your style.
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