The Grand Cherokee made its debut in grand fashion at the 1992 Detroit Auto Show when it drove through a glass wall. It has since been a staple in the Jeep lineup and seen five generations. The current fifth generation debuted in 2021 with the addition of a new three row Grand Cherokee L model. Then, last year a delayed five-passenger Grand Cherokee made its debut for 2022. With its launch came the first ever electrified version known as the 4xe that delivers 25 miles of all-electric range and 56 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe). For 2023, the Grand Cherokee 4xe is available in six trims that include the base 4xe, 30th Anniversary, Trailhawk (exclusive to 4xe), Overland, Summit, and Summit Reserve. Prices start at $60,360 for the base and climb to $77,570 for the Summit Reserve.
Under the hood is a 2.0L turbocharged I-4 engine that pairs with a 400-volt, 17-kWh battery to deliver 375 horsepower and 470-pound feet of torque. Towing capacity is rated at 6,000 lbs. and it offers a total driving range of around 460 miles. All models are exclusively four-wheel drive. Competition in the mid-size SUV/crossover segment encompasses a variety of vehicles. Competing vehicles include the Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Bronco, Honda Pilot, Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride, Mazda CX-9, Nissan Pathfinder, Toyota 4Runner and Volkswagen Atlas among others. After a week in the Grand Cherokee 4xe, here's what stood out...Efficiency (+)
As the first plug-in hybrid Jeep Grand Cherokee, the 4xe is setting the benchmark. It's the only plug-in hybrid SUV that maintains its capabilities on and off-road. With a total electric range of around 25 miles, it's great for around town driving and easy to charge overnight. With a 240-volt Level 2 charging station, you can achieve a full charge in about two hours.
It comes with E Select modes which provides the driver the opportunity to use or save power as needed.
The Hybrid mode will blend torque from the electric and gas motors to optimize power offering the best blend of power and efficiency. An Electric mode operates solely on battery until the charge is lost or the driver requests more torque than available. Finally, an eSave mode prioritizes the engine and saves the battery charge for later use. The battery pack system includes a dedicated heating and cooling circuit to keep the battery at its optimum temperature for best performance. The system includes a dedicated heater unit and a chiller that uses the Grand Cherokee's air-conditioning refrigerant to reduce coolant temperature when needed. The 4xe variant is more efficient than a V6 Grand Cherokee and more powerful than a V8 Grand Cherokee.Overall Performance (+)
This quickly became a favorite vehicle of mine as it combines the off-road capabilities with a refined (and efficient) street drive. Every Grand Cherokee 4xe gets a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gas engine paired with a 400-volt, 17-kWh battery to deliver 375 horsepower and 470-pound feet of torque. It boasts strong acceleration thanks to the electric torque to deliver a 0-60 time of 6 seconds. On the highway, it continues to maintain power for passing and merging. It shifts effortlessly from EV to hybrid mode which is impressive adding to its smooth overall ride. It always feels grounded and stable, even around corners. There is some expected body lean, but not much. Steering is well-balanced making this an easy SUV to drive. It's somewhat nimble around town and easy to maneuver.
It comes with a Selec-Terrain traction management system with various settings that optimize performance based on your terrain or preferred driving style. Five available terrain modes include Auto, Sport, Rock, Snow, Mud/Sand. I found Sport to be most engaging for road driving and taking advantage of the 375 horsepower. Overall, the Grand Cherokee 4xe is very refined with road manners on point with luxury brand rivals. Off-Road Capability (+)
Even as a PHEV, this SUV remains dedicated to its off-road roots. It uses unibody construction rather than a body-on-frame chassis that is found on other off-roaders such as the Wrangler or Toyota 4Runner, but it doesn't impede its capabilities. For starters, all 4xe models come standard with a Quadra Trac II 4x4 system with two-speed transfer case and low-range gears. It is a trail-rated Jeep that comes with 10.9 inches of ground clearance and is capable of 24 inches of water fording. The battery units and controls are mounted underneath the vehicle, packaged under the floor, and protected by a series of skid plates. Hill-descent control allows drivers to control the speed down steep, rugged grades without the need for brake pedals. It also features a front axle disconnect. If the vehicle senses that road conditions do not require all-wheel drive, the front-axle disconnects automatically and places the Grand Cherokee in two-wheel drive, reducing drag on the driveline and improving fuel economy. Four-wheel drive automatically re-engages when the vehicle senses it is needed.
An available option is the Jeep Quadra-Lift air suspension with electronic semi-active damping. The system can be controlled manually via a button in the center counsel to adjust various ride heights. It will otherwise automatically adjust the shock tuning to changing road conditions for enhanced comfort, stability, and control, and features five height settings for optimum ride performance.Trailhawk (+)
New for 2023, the Grand Cherokee 4xe exclusively offers the Trailhawk model as the ideal PHEV off-roader. The Grand Cherokee Trailhawk 4xe conquered the formidable Rubicon Trail and did so under all-electric power using Electric mode. Trailhawk models come with the Quadra-Drive II 4x4 system with two speed transfer case, rear electronic limited slip differential, Selec-Terrain traction management, Selc-Speed control, and all the other standard 4xe features. Aesthetically it comes with blue tow hooks, blue-accented 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tires, and a glare-proof black-and-blue matte "Trailhawk" hood decal. It's a sharp looking Grand Cherokee 4xe that looks ready to get dirty. Interior Design (+)
While I'm typically drawn to exterior style first, the inside of the Grand Cherokee prominently stood out. The layout is well-designed utilizing premium materials and modern technology. Drivers face a 10.1-inch frameless digital cluster with a wide variety of customization menus and information including fuel economy, speedometer, infotainment information, and driver assist features. Also available is a full-color, 10-inch windshield Head-up Display. Steering wheel mounted controls are user-friendly as is the infotainment system. The wide dash is outlined by a metal trim piece that highlights a variety of materials that are utilized in various trim levels including soft touch leather and natural wood accents of open-pore Absolute Oak and open-pore Waxed Walnut. And a segment-first 10.25-inch front passenger interactive display is also available.
The cascading center console starts with the 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen in the dash that flows down into the climate controls, wireless phone charger, the gear selector, cup holders, and storage all embedded in a piano black cover. The center console layout can also hold two wireless devices and a wireless charger. Drive Mode and the Quadra-Lift Air Suspension controls are placed on either side of a backlit, metal rotary gear selector that blends luxury and utility. A full suite of customizable LED lighting with daytime/nighttime settings is standard on all trim levels for Grand Cherokee 4xe, and true ambient lighting with a five-color selection is available on Overland, Summit and Summit Reserve models. The entire interior vibe feels refined thanks to the attention to details and variety of materials.Infotainment (+)
I've generally found the Uconnect 5 system to be very intuitive and functional. The updated system is faster, features over-the-air updates, a customizable home screen, and much more. It's all integrated into a 10.1-inch digital touchscreen. The system is easy to navigate with quick access icons at the bottom such as home, media, comfort, navigation, or vehicle. Within each of these apps are more detailed options or controls. The comfort icon can control all the climate settings as well as the massaging and heated/ventilated seats. Also included is a rear-seat monitoring camera system that offers high-definition images of the second-row, rear-facing child seat occupants, and a zoom-in option. It works well and allows drivers to keep their heads forward while still seeing what the kids may be up to in the back. The new front passenger screen offers co-pilot assistance with navigation, camera viewing and visual entertainment.
Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard and prior issues I had with connectivity in the Grand Cherokee L seem to be resolved. A high-definition rear-seat entertainment system with Amazon Fire TV built-in allows passengers to stream videos, play games, listen to music, get information and watch downloaded content - all while on the road. This is a great add for families taking road trips or long car rides with kids. Internet connection can be done via an in-vehicle 4G Wi-Fi hotspot or mobile device hotspot. Passengers can watch downloaded Prime Video content without connectivity while on the road with 16 GB of included built-in storage for each rear display (9 GB of user available storage per rear display). Content can be watched individually on each rear display or mirror across both displays to watch together. And to round out the rear seat theater system, a McIntosh audio system is available featuring 19 custom-designed speakers, 950 watts of power and a 17-channel amplifier. The Jeep brand is currently the only automotive manufacturer in the world to carry a McIntosh sound system. The system provides a high-quality crisp sounding audio that challenges a prior favorite system found in Volvo models. Comfort (+)
From the seats to the space, Jeep designed a comfortable cabin that caters to passengers. Everything is where you want it to be and there's breathing room if you're packing up the family for a trip. The Grand Cherokee comfortably seats five passengers. Front seats are supportive, comfortable, and easily adjustable via power controls providing a nice seat position and view all around. The heated and ventilated seats worked well and the available massaging seats were especially nice for a long drive. It includes a length adjustable cushion for the front-row passengers and 16-way adjustable front seats have power lumbar and memory. Heated/vented seats are available in the first two rows, with three-level configurable controls. Rear seats also offer sufficient head and legroom to accommodate most adults comfortably.Cargo Space (+/-)
Overall cargo space is average for the class, but others offer more. The Grand Cherokee offers 37.7 cu.ft. of space behind the rear seats which increases to 70.8 cu.ft. with the seats folded flat. The power tailgate opening is large allowing for larger items but know that the higher ride height may be a hurdle for some. For comparison, the Toyota 4Runner has 47.2 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and 89.7 cubic feet with the second row folded down. Exterior Design: (+)
The new Grand Cherokee has an evolutionary design that works very well. The new face features slimmer LED headlights that extend into the grille. The signature seven slot grille is wider, shorter and more upright than the previous generation's angled grille. Chrome trim is used to accentuate the lines and the lower fascia has wide openings that look rugged and refined. The middle portion of the lower fascia along with the accent trim will vary based on trim level, but all work really well to give the Grand Cherokee a modern update.
This treatment stands out even more with the optional gloss black two-tone roof available on higher trims. Large wheel arches provide plenty of room for a variety of wheel/tire sizes and wheel travel for off-roading. Wheel sizes range from 18-21 inches and pair with all-season or off-road tires. I particularly liked the 21" machine faced /painted aluminum wheels on the Summit Reserve. They were a perfect design that blended sport, luxury, and ruggedness which accurately define the Grand Cherokee. All wheel designs work well with each trim level and vary in finishes.
Around back are slimmer high-set LED taillamps connected by an accent piece with the Jeep emblem at the center. Embedded in the rear bumper are two more layers with integrated cut outs for the exhaust. Finally, 4xe models can all be identified with silver/blue badging on the back. Proportions are good and much better than the L model which has a longer rear overhang to accommodate the extra passenger space inside.
The Grand Cherokee has evolved to become a true luxury competitor while maintaining its rugged off-road capability. The new SUV is refined with a premium and comfortable interior that I would gladly spend a lot of time in on a road trip. The road manners are polished, and the off-road capabilities are unmatched by any competitors. The available PHEV powertrain adds to the overall appeal by offering something that competitors currently don't. As a longtime Toyota 4runner owner, I have been swayed by this new Grand Cherokee 4xe and would strongly consider this vehicle. It was a vehicle that got better with each day of driving to the point that I didn't want to give it back. First Impression Summary:
Test Vehicle: 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Diamond BlackInterior Color:
Tupelo Black LeatherNotable Options:
Diamond Black Paint ($395), Summit Reserve Group ($4,480), Luxury Tech Group V ($275), Advanced ProTech Group IV ($2,235), MSRP as tested:
$79,000 (with destination)