Review: 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe



Words: Calvin Chan

Photography: Calvin Chan

Published: January 7, 2023

 



Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) have been around for quite some time. They come with a conventional internal combustion engine and are backed up by an electric motor and battery that offer double-digit ranges of emission-free driving. And when the battery is depleted, the engine simply takes over. They also work in tandem for both efficiency and performance reasons. No range anxiety, no stress, and no fast charging required. It’s been a popular method of propulsion among luxury SUVs with PHEVs offered on the BMW X5, Volvo XC90, Range Rover Sport, Lexus NX, and even the MINI Countryman.

 

 

The latest to join the group is the Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe. While there are also V6 and V8 powertrains on tap, the 4xe aims to be the most efficient of the group, offering 42 km of electric-only range and a massive fuel tank that bumps the total driving range to nearly 800 km.

 

The 4xe is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine that on its own, delivers 270 hp and 295 lb-ft. Paired with the electric motor and a 14.0 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, the 4xe produces a total output of 375 hp and 470 lb-ft via an 8-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.

 

 

With a full battery, acceleration is decent but does not feel nearly as powerful as the 470 lb-ft claim suggests. That’s likely because of the porky 2,435 kg curb weight. In full-electric mode, forward thrust is even more lethargic, and warrants waking up the engine for quicker maneuvers on the highway or at triple-digit speeds. The Grand Cherokee is livelier in the V6-powered iteration, as the electric motor just doesn’t seem to supplement the two-cylinder deficiency.

 

The transition between engine and electricity is not as seamless as I would have hoped either. We experienced jerkiness and harshness as it swapped between the two modes, but we think just a few software revisions should smoothen out the kinks. And the four-cylinder doesn’t exactly make a flattering noise when it tags in, thrashing like a diesel on a cold start, and doesn’t suit the Grand Cherokee’s upscale vibe.

 

 

With a full battery, we averaged 35 km of electric range in single-digit Canadian weather - not too far off from the official 42 km claim. With the gasoline engine alone, we achieved a yield of 14.5 L/100km, which isn’t that fuel efficient considering the V8 we had a few months ago wasn’t too far off that number. But we expect most buyers to always have it plugged in overnight, rendering that figure moot.

 

On the driving front, the ride is more brittle than I would have expected from a chassis loaded with an air suspension. The 18-inch tires translate minor vertical oscillations up into the seat, while it does neutralize large ones more effectively. The 4xe is a comfortable rig and a competent road trip warrior, but the Mercedes GLE and BMW X5 knock it out of the park as far as road compliance is concerned.

 

 

Of note, the brakes are good and the switchable regenerative braking feature works exceptionally well, capturing every ounce of energy and diverting it back to the battery at a rapid rate. It’s not strong enough for one-pedal driving and there are no levels of regen available, but it carries a low learning curve and is enough to reduce right foot strain.

With the exterior and interior, the 4xe does not differ from the standard Grand Cherokee. It’s one of the best-looking Jeeps to date, sporting iconic yet modernized looks that remain faithful to its design signature. It wouldn’t be a Jeep without the seven-slot grill, and the lines are cleaner this time around yet muscular enough to command some road presence.

 

 

Inside is packed with features and electronics, and though the switchgear and panels lack the upscale fit and finish that this segment demands, Jeep consistently delivers an exceptional user interface system. The UConnect infotainment system is fluid, lag-free, and works as smoothly as the latest iPhone. Jeep also made a conscious effort to keep real buttons and dials. We appreciate this under-reliance on digital real estate, and it makes every interaction user-friendly and it keeps the learning curve low.

 

There are 10.1-inch displays for both the instrument cluster and center screen, and a segment-first 10.25-inch touchscreen on the passenger-side dash. It’s similar to what they have in Ferraris and the Porsche Taycan, and while it may seem like a gimmick, it offers a great deal of convenience for passenger inputs.

 

 

The V6-powered Grand Cherokee is still our pick of the litter for its more polished driving behaviour but the 4xe still warrants a closer look for those without a long commute or those who can fully make use of the meager but situationally effective electric range, while the V8 is an appealing war drum for those who demand instant power and aren’t too worried about fuel economy. Better too many choices than too few, and at least there’s now a Grand Cherokee to suit every type of SUV buyer, including ones looking to reduce their carbon footprint.

 


Photo Gallery:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Specifications:

Model: 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4xe

Paint Type: Velvet Red Pearl
Base Price: $80,000

Price as Tested: $89,370
Wheelbase(mm): 2,964
Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,914 / 1,968 / 1,799

Curb weight (kg): 2,435
Powertrain: 2.0-litre turbocharged four cylinder, electric motor, 14.0 kWh lithium-ion battery
Horsepower: 375 combined hp
Torque: 470 combined lb-ft
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD

Claimed Electric-only Range: 42 km
Observed Electric-only Range: 35 km

Tires: Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure; 265/60R18

 



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