2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee: New Hybrid Packs the Most Power
An electrified four-cylinder brings more power to the ring than the crown-wearing 5.7-liter Hemi V8.
One of America's best-selling two-row SUVs is finally rolling out a big generational update: the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee. No, you're not imagining things—we've already seen and reviewed the new three-row 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee L, which Jeep decided to show off first, but that model is substantially larger in the back to accommodate the 6th and 7th seats. We've also already seen the two-row version in electrified 4xe guise at Stellantis' EV Day, but I digress. Now we're getting the full scoop on what's ahead for the long-running rugged SUV's ideal form: namely, a potent four-cylinder hybrid drivetrain.
To no one's surprise, Jeep's tried and true 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 is the Grand Cherokee's standard engine, offering the exact same performance as the outgoing model: 293 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Also unsurprisingly available is Jeep's 5.7-liter Hemi V8, which again offers 357 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque.
Jeep is putting something new on the menu for 2022, though: a plug-in hybrid. Following in the footsteps of other Jeeps, the PHEV version of the Grand Cherokee will sport "4xe" badging to signify its commitment to battery power. Just don't think for a second that "hybrid" means that this Grand Cherokee falls into the same class as an economy-focused crossover.
The Grand Cherokee 4xe's 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder combustion engine is used in conjunction with two electric motors. This combination generates a combined power output of 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque, out-performing even the Jeep's 5.7-liter V8.
That's also more than enough to conquer the Rubicon Trail in the new Trailhawk-trimmed 4xe while in full-electric operation, according to Jeep, though a few new features like a class-exclusive sway bar disconnect and steel skid plates protecting the underbody electrical components certainly helped. And best of all? It can achieve that level of utility while offering 57 MPGe, 25 miles of all-electric range, and a total combined driving range of over 440 miles.
Jeep says that 4xe drivers can also select powertrain modes that change the driving profile of the SUV by selecting how the Grand Cherokee gets its power. There's Hybrid mode, which seamlessly blends the torque from the gas and electric motors. Electric mode uses battery-only power until the battery is depleted—or if, say, the driver wants to go wide-open throttle, in which case the gas engine kicks in. Jeep also offers a unique eSave mode that reserves the battery charge and prioritizes the gasoline engine.
The 4xe's hybrid can't win everything, though. To achieve the max towing rating of 7,200 lbs, Jeep says you'll still need to spring for the V8 (sorry).
Highway operation across the Grand Cherokee model range might feel the same as always, city driving may feel a bit more refined thanks to an overhaul of the start-stop fuel-saving feature. Jeep reworked the tech to allow for fewer false restarts when the driver modulates the pedal, fewer vibrations, and a quieter experience. Plus, a new pressure reserve element in the eight-speed auto transmission provides quicker launches when the vehicle restarts.
The Grand Cherokee can still be the premium SUV that it set out to be all the way back in 1992. Higher-end trims will expand on the utilitarian nature of the nameplate and offer more luxury features that provide not capability off the road, but also a bit of comfort aimed at everyday tasks.
An example is the Grand Cherokee's inclusion of Jeep's Quadra-Lift air suspension. This semi-active damping suspension helps the Grand Cherokee reach its maximum ground clearance of up to 11.3 inches, and should the day call for fording water, it can handle that, too—up to 24 inches of it. There's also the added benefit of a more comfortable ride and increased fuel economy if that's more of your style. However, equipping your Grand Cherokee with Quadra-Lift might be a bit difficult in the near future, because even the Grand Cherokee L has had Quadra-Lift temporarily cut from the order menu due to the ongoing semiconductor shortage.
Speaking of fuel economy, Jeep is also adding front axle disconnect to its 4x4 models. This allows the vehicle to detect road conditions and intelligently determine when all-wheel-drive isn't necessary. When it isn't, the Grand Cherokee can disengage the front axles and place the vehicle in two-wheel-drive to sip gas a bit more conservatively.
The premium feel of the Grand Cherokee really makes itself known on the inside of the SUV.
Jeep says that the fifth generation is the most technologically advanced Grand Cherokee yet, but it's also perhaps the most luxurious as well—when properly equipped, that is. Both front driver and passenger seats offer a massage function, heating and ventilation. Switches inside the cabin were upgraded, more storage space was added, plus safety features like adaptive cruise, active lane management, and a night vision camera (with pedestrian and animal detection) are available. There's also a digital rearview mirror, a full-color Head-Up Display, and integrated Fire TV.
And yes, there are screens. Three of them, to be precise: a digital gauge cluster and two available 10.25-inch displays for the infotainment system and passenger.
The two-row Grand Cherokee gets an update to Uconnect 5, just like the Grand Cherokee L. All screens within the car are linked back to the central infotainment control, including the rear-seat entertainment displays (if equipped). An optional 10.25-inch display is also available for the front passenger seat, enabling the co-pilot to assist with navigation and camera viewing, or they can use it for entertainment. For music lovers, Jeep made sure to make the 19-speaker, 950-watt McIntosh audio system available in the two-row Grand Cherokee as well.
The new Grand Cherokee isn't just another new SUV, as the introduction of the hybrid 4xe variant makes it a crucial player in Jeep's goal of "Zero Emission Freedom." CEO Christian Meunier vowed to expand that idea to every segment of the Jeep brand, and so far, that has included electrified versions of the Wrangler, Compass, Renegade, Wagoneer, and now the Grand Cherokee.
The all-new 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee will begin hitting dealer lots sometime before the end of the year. The electrified variant will take a tad longer, though. Jeep says that those looking to buy the 2022 Grand Cherokee 4xe—which is available on the Limited, Trailhawk, Overland, Summit, and Summit Reserve trims—will need to wait until at least early 2022 when it debuts for U.S. customers.
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