The Most Capable Grand Cherokee – And Environmentally Friendly Too

AUSTIN, TX – As we reported last fall (“2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Improves Off-Road — and in the Run”), the new fifth-generation Grand Cherokee is easily the best ever. And now we can add that the plug-in 4xe’s plug-in hybrid powertrain stands above its V-6 and V-8 counterparts in most measurable ways. As it should, since they’re about $10,000 more expensive than the V-6 models.

Like we said then, the ’22 Grand Cherokee — newly available in both two- and three-row “L” models — is new from the tire patch to the roof rails. It offers a well-crafted new (and more spacious) interior in a handsome new exterior on a new, stiffer, stronger architecture.

It delivers best-ever capability thanks to a selection of Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II or Quadra-Drive II 4×4 systems, and a class-exclusive Quadra-Lift air suspension – now with semi-active electronic damping that delivers up to 11.3 increments A leader in its class. (28.7 cm) of ground clearance and 24 in. (61 cm) of raceway – and (on Trailhawk models only) a new, class-exclusive front sway bar for improved articulation and stability on rocks and rough terrain.

The extremely user-friendly Uconnect 5 infotainment system is managed by 10.1 inches. Digital touch screen (25.6 cm) – happily with volume and adjustment / scroll knobs and hard buttons for the HVAC system – in addition to the 10.25-inch available sector-exclusive. Screen (26 cm) for the front passenger to assist co-pilots with navigation, camera display and visual entertainment, a new high-definition rear seat entertainment system with dual seat back screens and an integrated FireTV system.

Standard driver comfort/safety features include adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, full collision warning with active braking and pedestrian/cyclist detection, rear cross-lane detection, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, advanced brake assist, and cruise control. Blind spots, backup camera and rear park assist with stop. Also available are a Night Vision Camera with Pedestrian and Animal Detection, Junction Collision Assist, Drowsy Driver Detection, Parallel and Perpendicular Park Assist, Traffic Sign Recognition, a 360° Surround View Camera with Front and Rear Washers and (SAE Level 2) Active Driving Semi-Driving Assist mechanism.

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The Uconnect infotainment system anchors the Grand Cherokee’s interior.

Among the other available technologies: Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Digital Rearview Mirror, 10 inches. (25.4 cm) Full-color display Wireless charging pad in front center console Enhanced Amazon Alexa virtual assistant SiriusXM 360L platform with Pandora-powered dedicated terminals TomTom navigation with predictive search 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot capable Up to eight devices, natural speech traffic updates, over-the-air map updates and a new 950-watt, 19-speaker McIntosh audio system.

New in SUVs is the front axle separation. If road conditions do not require AWD, it automatically switches to rear-wheel drive to reduce driveline drag and improve fuel economy. All-Wheel Drive (AWD) automatically re-engages when the vehicle senses it is needed.

Grand Cherokee 4xe

What distinguishes the new PHEV 4xe from its stable, non-hybrid mates? It delivers a massive total power of 375 horsepower, and 470 lb-ft. (637 Nm) of torque and 6000 lb-ft. (2,720 kg) towing capacity plus 25 miles (40 km) of electric-only range is an estimated 57 mpg. In the Trailhawk, it offers Wrangler-like off-road capability through a Quadra Trac II 4×4 system with a two-speed transfer case, a low-range 2.72:1 gear ratio and a 47.4:1 creep ratio.

Available in Limited, Trailhawk, Overland, Summit and Summit Reserve trims, the 4xe hybrid drives two electric motors and a 400-volt, 17 kWh battery pack with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. and an 8-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission. Two clutches drive the output from the motor and electronic actuator, and a liquid-cooled motor/generator (connected to a belt on the motor’s crankshaft) generates electricity for the battery and allows for semi-smooth starting and stopping.

The battery pack has a dedicated heating and cooling circuit to keep it at the optimum temperature, and with all the high-voltage electronics sealed and water-resistant, the Trail Rated Grand 4xe can feed in up to 2 feet (61 cm) of water. Mounted under the chassis and protected by steel armor, its compact dual charging unit combines a compact power inverter, battery charger and DC/DC converter into one compact unit.

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The Selec-Terrain offers automatic, sport, rocky, snow and mud/sand modes, and the 4xe system adds three driver-selectable hybrid modes. EV-only mode operates until the battery reaches a minimum charge (and transitions to Hybrid) or the driver presses the gas to demand more torque, which powers the engine. Hybrid mode blends engine and engine torque to improve performance and efficiency. E-Save prioritizes the motor, saving the battery charge for later use and the battery can be recharged while driving.

The clutch opens between the engine and the motor in electric mode to eliminate mechanical drag, and then shuts down in hybrid mode to combine torque from both. A second clutch behind the electronic engine engages the transmission to improve drivability and efficiency. Regenerative braking from all four wheels (when 4WD is engaged) recharges the battery during normal braking and speed, and the selectable Max Regen feature provides somewhat more severe deceleration while generating more electricity for the battery.

Driving impressions

Special for our test Trailhawk 4xe is a Quadra-Drive II with a two-speed transfer case and a low-range gear ratio of 2.72:1, an electronic rear limited-slip differential, Selec-Terrain traction management, Selec-Speed ​​cruise control, front sway bar disconnect and 10.9 additional. (27.8 cm) of ground clearance. Visual Trailhawk Signs include 18″ blue. Wheels with all-terrain tires, blue tow hooks, and “Trailhawk” hood decal in matte black and blue.

Our test track was mostly two-track, some twisty and some unpaved, and most were driven fairly aggressively, and we were very impressed with the Trailhawk’s performance, handling, steering and braking despite its heavy weight. It was also pleasantly quiet at speed, and its seats provide excellent comfort in the long run. We started with 99% of the charge condition and achieved a surprising 29 miles (47 km) – (four [6.4 km] more than expected) – in EV-only mode with Max Regen before it transitions transparently into Hybrid mode and starts the engine.

Our ride ended with a very challenging off-road track, with most of it rolling up long, steep rocks with surprising ease… which shows a truly amazing ability. Total fuel economy for the trip was 20.7 mpg (11.4 l/100km) before the off-road driving path, 20.0 mpg (11.8 l/100km) afterwards.

The new Grand Cherokee’s infotainment systems were also impressive. The display offers nearly all the information anyone could want in five reconfigurable parts, Uconnect is intuitive and easy (among the best), and the steering wheel controls are well-marked and easy to see and use. There are multiple pairs of USB-A and -C jacks throughout the cabin and HDMI inputs for the rear entertainment system, and our car’s available passenger touchscreen was a new and unique feature.

Yes, this 22-class Grand Cherokee 4xe is a major contender in a very competitive class. But not cheap at $58,000 – $70,000 depending on the model and options.

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