The Jeep Grand Cherokee was one of the earliest SUVs on the road in the modern era, sharing the spotlight with the Ford Explorer in the early 1990s. After nearly 30 years and many competitors, Jeep added an electric motor and battery to the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe nameplate.
Pronounced “four-by-e,” it’s the name of Jeep’s electrified models, whose lineup now includes the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee. The four-wheel drive denotes the company’s standard four-wheel drive.
The 4xe powertrain is good for 25 miles of all-electric range and 56 miles per gallon equivalent (mpg-e) when both systems are running. Electrification is offered on all Grand Cherokee models from base ($57,700) to Summit Reserve ($74,300) and takes about 2 hours to charge on a 220-volt outlet.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee was new across the board for 2022 with a slight exterior redesign that shaped it more like the larger Jeep Wagoneer. It has a lowered, more tapered roof than the previous model, which improves aerodynamics. A lower beltline and larger windows bring more light into the cabin. New grille shutters, front wheel arches, air curtains and bonnet shape also contribute to the plug-in hybrid’s efficiency.
The wheels are spaced further apart for better handling and, for the first time, a gloss black roof is available on Overland models and comes standard on Trailhawk, Summit and Summit Reserve. There are eight wheel choices available in sizes up to 21 inches.
The cabin of a Jeep Grand Cherokee has always been above average, but the new generation takes it another step forward. New narrow air vents give a cleaner look and the new seats have an adjustment for support under the knees. Those leather-wrapped seat posts get diamond-shaped stitching in the more expensive models, while wood accents adorn the doors and dashboard. The hood is higher than the previous model and blocks what is directly in front of the vehicle, although the forward-facing camera can help.
Buyers get two 10.1-inch screens, one as a digital gauge cluster and one as touchscreen infotainment. It can also be optioned with a 10.25-inch screen on the passenger side with built-in FireTV. This allows the passenger to only watch Netflix, Prime and anything else that the Amazon Fire Stick has access to. The only downside is that the screen will catch reflections at the right time of day.
The menus are deep in the infotainment system, but most of what a driver needs on a daily basis is easy to get to. There are mode buttons at the bottom of the screen for media, phone seats and more, and it was quick to find a phone for wireless Apple CarPlay.
Below the central screen are the climate controls along with volume and setting knobs for the touch screen. The center console, in addition to the gear selectors, has ride height and ride position adjustment that shift eastward to reach and invite use as the driving situation changes.
The 2022 Grand Cherokee 4xe comes with two rows of seats that seat five adults comfortably. There’s plenty of room for two child seats, but if buyers want a third row, they can step up to the Grand Cherokee L or the Wagoneer family, though no hybrids are available on those models.
Moving to the powertrain, the 4xe comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The alternator and torque converter are both replaced with electric motor/generators for a total system output of 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. The Grand Cherokee has an eight-speed automatic transmission and can tow up to 6,000 pounds when properly equipped.
Hybrid modes, in addition to Jeep’s drive modes like Auto, Sport, Snow, etc., include Hybrid, which mixes torque from the electric motor and the gas engine to optimize efficiency. Electric only uses the battery until it reaches minimum charge, unless the driver floors it, in which case the engine starts. Finally, eSave uses the motor and saves the battery charge for later use.
The 2023 Grand Cherokee 4xe is incredibly quick from a standstill due to the electric motor’s instant torque. Eight-speed is smooth and passing maneuvers on the highway are easy. Gupp does not interfere with comfort and riding off-road is extremely easy and drama-free.
The brakes help regenerate energy for the battery, so although they are stiff when pressed, they still take some getting used to. The first few inches have only a little braking with a lot of regeneration. The second half is mechanical and feels more traditional. Releasing the brakes also feels a little strange, almost like they get stuck a second before the vehicle starts to roll.
That part is annoying when trying to get around a parking lot, but with four-wheel steering and those camera angles, it’s easy to squeeze into tight spots.
All expected safety features such as adaptive cruise control, lane keeping, emergency braking, blind spot and the like. Available technology includes a night vision camera with pedestrian and animal detection, Intersection Collision Assist, park assist and the surround camera. It’s level 2 driver assistance system requires hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee’s ($39,000) main competitor remains the Ford Explorer, which starts at $36,760. Moving to the hybrid models, the Grand Cherokee 4xe starts at $57,000 while the Ford hybrid comes in around $53,000. The Toyota 4Runner is about the same at $39,000, though no hybrid is offered. The Hyundai Santa Fe has a plug-in option that starts at around $40,000.
Combining efficiency, luxury and off-road efficiency, the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe is hard to beat for the average outdoor enthusiast. There are cheaper options, but they aren’t backed by decades of Jeep ruggedness. If a buyer plans to hit the dirt every month, if not every week for adventure, it’s one of the best options out there.