Experienced by Leon Brittain
Wow, what a spectacular time I had in Austin putting the all-new 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) through various driving activities to observe its updated capabilities on and off-road. Introduced in 1992, the 5th generation American SUV now receives an electrified powertrain which allows it to travel 25 electric miles, similar to the Wrangler 4xe. The goal for the brand is to reach a sustainability target of zero-emission 4xe Jeeps in every utility segment by 2025.
We first began the charged overland adventure on public roads from Austin to Llano as a testament to its 56 MPGe and 470-mile full range. The new Cherokee features a revamped interior with a 10.25” passenger-side touchscreen, updated Uconnect 5 with a classy 10.1” screen, a powerful 19-speaker McIntosh sound system, and a 10″ customizable color HD head-up display. Then there is the Digital Cluster that displays the hybrid’s powertrain activity, full-screen map, off-road pages, and more. Genuine open-pore Waxed Walnut wood trim, soft Nappa leathers, and piano black glass materials add to the cabin’s premium feel, along with heated and cooled 16-way multifunction seats and a dual-pane panoramic sunroof. Additionally, rear passengers can expect more comfort with the increased legroom. And thank you Jeep for retaining the large “volume” and “seek” knobs in an industry where everyone is going all touch. But, the horn needs a stronger bellow.
“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 4×4 capability, and electrification,” said Christian Meunier, Jeep Brand Chief Executive Officer. “With a perfect balance of on-road dynamics, 4×4 capability, and 4xe performance, the all-new 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee is the most technologically advanced, luxurious, and 4×4-capable Grand Cherokee ever.”
Of course, the forte of all Jeeps are their trail-rated superpowers, whether a Wrangler Rubicon ripping through Moab, Utah or a Grand Cherokee Trailhawk taking on Bald Eagle State Forest in Pennsylvania. Two 4×4 systems — Quadra-Trac II and Quadra-Drive II — and the versatile Jeep Quadra-Lift air suspension with a ground clearance of 10.9″ and 24” of water fording allowed us to conquer the boulders and muddy / gravel trails of Inks Ranch with ease. In addition, the vehicles traversed through habitats and obstacles that looked impossible to get through. A sway bar disconnect feature, grippy 265/60R18 Goodyear Wrangler Territory A/T tires, and Selec-Terrain traction management (Rock, Sand/Mud, Snow, Auto, Sport) give the SUV the attributes needed for your lifestyle of choice.
The Jeep PHEV’s power unit consists of two electric motors, a 400-volt 17-kWh EV battery pack, a 2-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, and Jeep’s TorqueFlight 8-speed automatic transmission. It delivers 375-horsepower and 470 lb.-ft of torque for 6,000-lbs of max towing. Switch gears through either the paddle shifters or the rotunda gear selector. Though, I do miss the traditional hand shifter in today’s Jeeps. Owners can also set the vehicle in various E Selec modes, including Hybrid, Electric, or eSave, depending on your driving style for that particular moment. For example, you may want to cruise around town utilizing electric energy only.
Jeep designers trimmed, lowered, and widened the SUV’s robust physique, enlarged the grille, and added active grille shutters to help with fuel efficiency. Depending on the model, your 4xe may have the Gloss Black roof, Surf Blue tow hooks (10,000-lb capacity), and a choice between eight rim styles, including a new 21″ wheel. I love the wide embedded exhaust tips, but I’m not crazy about the control arms placed right over the tires. We’re not sure how you will be able to install 35s on your Grand Cherokee.
Of course, safety and advanced features are omnipresent on the Grand Cherokee 4xe PHEV. The technology includes wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 5-color ambient lighting, a wireless charging pad, Amazon Alexa virtual assistant, Uconnect mobile app, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot for up to eight devices, remote start, an adjustable-height power liftgate, and available Fire TV. In addition, safety consists of Active Driving Assist, Drowsy Driver Detection, Night Vision Camera with pedestrian and animal detection, 360-degree Surround View Camera, Advanced Brake Assist, Rear Park Assist Sensors, Lane Departure Warning, Passive Entry, and much more.
Last year Jeep launched the Grand Cherokee L, and for 2022 continues to expand the lineup with the introduction of the trail rated Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe PHEV for conscious thinkers who need a gateway before swapping over to a completely electric vehicle. Starting at $57,700, Jeep enthusiasts can choose between the base Grand Cherokee 4xe, Grand Cherokee Trailhawk 4xe, Grand Cherokee Overland 4xe, Grand Cherokee Summit 4xe, and the Grand Cherokee Summit Reserve 4xe. However, the Summit Reserve 4xe I tested on the press trip was $79,000 with its options packages!