The New Grand Cherokee 4xe Has a Lot of Tricks up Its Sleeve
- Trim Tested: Grand Cherokee Overland 4xe
- Price as Tested: $74,910 (including destination charge)
- What We Like: All-electric driving with gas when you need it; off-road champ; luxurious interior for a Jeep
- What We Don’t: Expensive; transition from electric to gas isn’t always smooth
The popular Jeep Grand Cherokee has a new design for 2022. There are a TON of versions – 25, including the 3-row “L” models – with trims running from the relatively affordable Laredo to the pricey Summit Reserve. Most models come with a V6 or a V8 engine, as they have for decades. But Jeep has a new powertrain for its midsize SUV: a plug-in hybrid.
Called the 4xe, the plug-in hybrid Grand Cherokee costs $11,000 more than the standard GC, at least in the Overland trim Jeep supplied us for testing.
We drove the Grand Cherokee 4xe for a week to see how electrification jibes with this off-road icon.
How It Drives
The Grand Cherokee 4xe is in a class of one. Other plug-in hybrid SUVs include the Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid, Toyota RAV4 Prime, Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring, and Volvo XC90 Recharge, but none have the combination of luxury and off-road prowess of the Grand Cherokee.
To power the Grand Cherokee 4xe, Jeep combined a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine with 2 electric motors and a 17.3-kWh battery pack. The result is 25 miles of all-electric range and 375 horsepower – more than a V8 Grand Cherokee. Admittedly, 25 miles of range is nothing to write home about, but it will get most people to work, where they – fancy electric Jeep owners that they are – will have a level-2 charger.
We recommend keeping the Grand Cherokee 4xe in electric mode as much as you can – it’s nicer there. The electric motor offers robust pickup from a standstill and no engine noise. Once the gas engine kicks on, the transitions between electric propulsion and internal combustion feel glitchy. The small 4-cylinder lacks the refinement of the larger 6- and 8-cylinder motors.
The Grand Cherokee has almost all of the off-road features that Jeep buyers expect in the brand’s vehicles. The Quadra-Trac II 4×4 system has a 2-speed transfer case and customized terrain modes. The 4xe is also available in the rough-and-ready Trailhawk trim, which upgrades the 4-wheel drive (4WD) system and adds a disconnecting sway bar. The Jeep can even wade through 24 inches of water thanks to special sealing around the battery pack.
Interior Comfort & Quality
The GC 4xe’s seats are comfortable and nicely bolstered, with plenty of adjustments. A massaging feature adds to the comfort level of the driver and passenger.
The rear seats are less special, though there is plenty of room back there; built-in sunshades and 4-zone climate controls keep the back row comfortable. Unlike other Grand Cherokee trims, the 4xe is not available with a third-row seat.
Because of the $75,000 asking price, the Grand Cherokee’s cabin needs to deliver luxury, and it does. We were impressed by its build quality and design. Available features such as quilted leather and attractive wood trim put the “up” in upscale. Still, $75,000 is Mercedes and BMW territory – deep in Mercedes and BMW territory. Seventy-five grand will get you a GLE 53 AMG with 429 horsepower or a well-equipped plug-in hybrid BMW X5 xDrive45e.
Technology & Usability
We were impressed with the amount of tech in the 2022 Grand Cherokee. Most noticeable was the passenger-side touchscreen, which offers not only infotainment controls but all kinds of entertainment options, including built-in Amazon Fire TV and an HDMI port for video games. To minimize distraction, a clever polarized glass system makes the screen invisible to the driver.
The main touchscreen is a 10.1-inch unit in the center of the dashboard. It’s running the latest version of the Uconnect infotainment system, Uconnect 5. Found in all Jeep, Dodge, and Chrysler products, Uconnect 5 has sharp graphics but could use fundamental improvements. For instance, pressing the volume button turns off the whole touchscreen instead of just muting the music – there’s a separate button for muting. The steering wheel volume button is hidden on the back of the wheel, which is unintuitive.
Overall, though, the Grand Cherokee 4xe feels high-tech. The dashboard does a good job presenting the wealth of features – automated steering, robotic parallel parking, an amazing night vision system – in an easily digestible way.
Read our full 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee review for more specs and information about the entire Grand Cherokee lineup. Carfax vehicle reviews let shoppers compare a vehicle’s specs against its competitors. However, some aspects of a vehicle – performance, comfort, usability – can only be evaluated through actual driving. That’s why we evaluate as many vehicles as we can, so you’ll know what to expect.
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