If the thought of a mud-slogging, boulder-bashing, creek crossing 4×4 plug-in hybrid seems exotic, well, it once was.
That’s no longer the case with the arrival of the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe, which seeks to be more environmentally friendly than its Grand Cherokee siblings, and it is. The V8-powered four-wheel-drive model returns 17 mpg in combined city/highway driving, while the 4xe returns 23 mpg doing the same chore.
But here’s the rub.
The 6-cylinder model returns 22 mpg. For some, the difference in mileage will not be worth the difference in cost. But for others, the 4xe holds a unique advantage: the ability to travel 26 miles exclusively on electricity. This, along with its hybrid driveline will save you $1,250 in running costs, according to the EPA. That means that if you bought your 4xe in in Overland trim versus a conventionally powered Grand Cherokee Overland, it will take you 7.3 years to break even before you start saving money with the hybrid.
But the base four-wheel-drive Grand Cherokee Laredo starts at $40,720, while the Grand Cherokee 4xe starts at $58,095, before a $1,795 destination charge. That’s a $17,375 difference, meaning it would take 13.9 years to make up the difference in fueling costs. So this is a vehicle that’s more about ecological altruism than saving on fuel costs.
But the Wrangler 4xe has quickly become America’s best-selling hybrid. Given that off-roaders love the environment, it should hardly come as a surprise.
Still with us? Good. Then you’ll want to know that the Grand Cherokee 4xe starts with a base model and ascends through Trailhawk, Overland, Summit and Summit Reserve trims.
We spent a week with the Overland model, which provides much of the Summit and Summit Reserve model opulence at a lower price point.
The two-row Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe SUV differs little in appearance from the standard two-row Grand Cherokee which mixes style cues from Jeep’s history, brightwork from the Jeep Compass with a lean-forward grille that pays homage to Jeep’s first three-row SUV, the Wagoneer. Uniquely, there are few clues as to the vehicle’s powertrain, aside from blue tow hooks and other blue accents scattered across its exterior.
It retains the rugged athleticism you’d expect of a Jeep, along with a healthy dose of savoir faire. Hybrids have rarely been so attractive.
It’s hard not to be impressed by the 4xe Overland’s interior, sheathed in buttery soft leather, and trimmed in wood, knurled metal and French-stitched seams. Assembly quality is impeccable, and the roomy interior and many amenities will make sure everyone is comfy while traversing the forest primeval. There’s even plenty of room for your stuff, with a cargo capacity of 37.7 cubic feet, 70.8 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.
And it’s blissfully quiet, thanks to laminated glass and other noise reduction measures.
The 2022 Grand Cherokee 4xe combines two electric motors, a 400-volt battery pack, a 2.0-liter turbocharged, 4-cylinder engine and an 8-speed automatic transmission to deliver 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels. It also provides 26 miles of pure electric driving.
But this isn’t your mama’s hybrid — unless she’s a lumberjack.
It’s fitted with a rear electronic limited slip differential, Jeep’s Quadra Trac II 4×4 system with a two-speed transfer case, a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio, and a 47.4:1 crawl ratio. It can tow up to 6,000 pounds, ford 24 inches of water, has 10.9 inches of ground clearance, a payload of 1,575 pounds and a 36-degree approach angle and 30-degree departure angle. Try that with a Prius.
Five drive settings are offered by the Selec-Terrain traction control system: Auto, Sport, Rock, Snow, and Mud/Sand.
Safety and Technology
Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash tested the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe. IIHS’s test of non-hybrid models returned “Good” ratings for most of its crash test measurements save the small front overlap, where the driver’s side was rated “Marginal” and the passenger’s side rated “Poor.” Its front crash prevention system was rated “Superior” and child restraint ease of use was “Marginal.”
Driver assistance safety systems include collision warning with active brake and pedestrian/cyclist detection, rear cross path detection, adaptive cruise control, active lane management, lane departure warning, advanced brake assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear park assist sensors, passive entry, and automatic headlamps. Summit models also get active driving assist, drowsy driver detection, intersection collision assist, traffic sign recognition, 360-degree surround view camera with front and rear lens washers, and parallel and perpendicular park assist.
The instrument panel features a touchscreen infotainment system, a digital gauge cluster, and an optional head-up display. The most recent version of Jeep’s Uconnect infotainment system offers outstanding capabilities and is just as simple to use and adaptable as a smartphone. Amazon Alexa, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto come as standard. And the premium Macintosh audio system with 19 speakers is outstanding.
When you think about it, what off-roaders love as much as the great outdoors is the necessary grunt to get them to where the sidewalk ends. And the electric motors’ torque, all of which is instantly available, makes for a very capable vehicle off-road, and a surprisingly satisfying vehicle on it. Pedal feel is progressive and easy to modulate.
The suspension is compliant, as you’d expect of any boulder basher. But it never feels unruly when highway handling dynamics are called for. The steering feels weighty, and there’s not a lot of road feel, but that’s par for the course these days.
While the pure electric range can be used up fairly quickly, especially if you have a heavy throttle foot, the gas and electric hybrid mode furnishes surprisingly ample acceleration and combined fuel economy of 24.5 mpg. With careful driving, that number could have been even higher. Considering the EPA rates the Grand Cherokee 4xe at 23 mpg in combined driving, that’s impressive.
2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe Overland Specifications
|L: 193.5 inches/W: 77.5 inches/H: 70.8 inches/Wheelbase: 116.7 inches
|2.0-liter 4-cylinder PHEV engine, 8-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive
|56 MPGe electric & gas; 23 mpg combined gas
|375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque
|Base price: $65,760; As tested: $75,035 including $1,795 destination charge.
Of course, people chose a Grand Cherokee for its comfort, size, technology, performance and ability to handle bad weather, and who can blame them? This is a really good ride, albeit a very spendy one. It is truly grand, in every sense of the word. If every hybrid were this enticing, we’d all be driving one.
2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe — Frequently Asked Questions
How much will the Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe cost?
Prices start at $58,095 for the Grand Cherokee 4xe before options and a $1,795 destination charge for the base Grand Cherokee 4xe and top out at $74,300 for the Grand Cherokee Summit Reserve.
How fast is the Grand Cherokee 4xe?
Jeep claims the Grand Cherokee 4xe can hit 60 mph in 6 seconds.
Can the Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe tow?
Yes. The 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe has a maximum towing capacity of 6,000 pounds.