Story by Nik Miles and Perry Stern.
First Plug-In Grand Cherokee
Last summer Jeep began the rollout of an all-new, fifth-generation Grand Cherokee with the introduction of the first three-row version — the Grand Cherokee L. With fresh styling and a wide range of improvements, the Grand Cherokee L blazed the way and a few months later the updated two-row Grand Cherokee debuted. With these new models posting big sales so far in 2022, the iconic American brand ups its game even more with the first plug-in hybrid version, the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe.
New Era of Refinement
“The Jeep Grand Cherokee is our global flagship and will be leading the Jeep brand into a new era of premium refinement, innovative technology, advanced 4 x 4 capability, and electrification,” said Jeep Brand Chief Executive Officer Christian Meunier. “With a perfect balance of on-road dynamics, 4 x 4 capability and 4xe performance, the all-new 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee is the most technologically advanced, luxurious, and 4 x 4-capable Grand Cherokee ever,” Meunier noted.
The new Grand Cherokee 4xe is available in four trim levels: 4xe, Trailhawk, Overland, and Summit. All 4xe trims have 4-wheel drive and are exclusively 2-row variants — at least for now.
Safety Across the Board
Every Grand Cherokee 4xe is outfitted with the latest advanced safety and driver-assist features. These include active lane management, adaptive cruise with stop and go, advanced brake assist, blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian/cyclist detection, lane departure warning, lane-keeping assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and trailer sway control. Additional standard safety features on the top-level Summit include intersection collision assist and drowsy driver detection. A night vision camera is also available.
Under the Hood
Powering all trim levels of the Grand Cherokee 4xe is the same powertrain used in the Wrangler 4xe — a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine teamed with an eTorque belt-start generator/motor and an integrated transmission traction electric motor for a total output of 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. The result is more power and torque than Jeep’s 5.7-liter V8, resulting in the 4xe tromping from zero to 60 mph a full second faster.
How it Works
A high-voltage motor at the front of the Grand Cherokee 4xe’s gas engine replaces a conventional alternator and starter motor. This motor connects to the driveshaft and spins the engine quickly and seamlessly for smooth start/stop operation, while also generating electricity for the battery pack. A second motor/generator replaces a traditional torque converter in the automatic transmission. Depending on the needs of the powertrain, the gas engine can be completely disengaged so only the electric motor is sending power to the wheels. Alternatively, the engine can re-engage to allow power from both the gas engine and electric motor to flow through the transmission. With this setup, the 4xe’s off-road capability remains unchanged from gas-only variants.
Fuel Economy and Range
According to the U.S. EPA, the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe is rated at 56 MPGe combined and 23 MPG combined. The EPA reports that with a fully charged battery, the 4xe can travel up to 26 miles on electric-only power with a total range of 470 miles. The 17-kWh battery gets mounted within the chassis to keep it protected and also lowering the center of gravity by 2 inches. Charging takes about two hours with a Level 2 charger, or 12 hours on a typical household outlet.
Drivers of the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe can choose from three E Select modes: Hybrid, Electric, and eSave. The default Hybrid mode combines power from the 2.0-liter engine and the electric motor and uses battery power first, then adds the 2.0-liter engine after the battery charge has been depleted, or when extra power is required. In Electric mode, the 4xe will operate with electric power only until the battery is depleted, but will still engage the 2.0-liter engine when the driver’s actions call for more power. In eSave the 4xe will use power from the 2.0-liter engine to save the battery charge for later use. The driver can use the Hybrid Electric Pages in the Uconnect infotainment system to choose between Battery Save or Battery Charge in eSave mode.
Pros: Jeep off-road capability; silent, efficient drive; even base trim feature-laden.
Cons: High starting price; no three-row option; gas engine noisy under hard acceleration.
Bottom Line: Jeep capability, comfort, and style with an efficient plug-in hybrid powertrain — the future of this iconic American brand is looking good.
Article by OAE editorial writer, Perry Stern
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