2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4xe Plug-In Hybrid First Test: Something Special

jeep grand cherokee Full overview

Benefits

  • Has 26 miles of EV range and charges quickly
  • Drive well
  • Incredibly luxurious

Disadvantages

  • All this ability costs quite a lot
  • Fast but not fast
  • Does not preset electrical mode

Not so long ago, automakers assumed that PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) buyers all wanted the same boring, amorphous blob of a hatchback. So they built expensive little cars with underpowered motors and engines, slapped badges like “Prime” “REX” or “EREV” on their asses and sat around wondering why they stuck in dealerships while SUVs kept flying off them. And then someone had the bright idea to slap these badges on SUVs. And wouldn’t you know it – they fly from dealers. We recently had a chance to spend some time in the new 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4xe plug-in hybrid, and it turns out that one of the latest plug-in hybrid SUVs to hit the streets is also among the most impressive .

Plug-in hybrids like the Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe effectively combine a gasoline engine with a relatively powerful electric motor and a battery. In the Grand Cherokee’s case, that means it gets the same setup as the Wrangler 4xe: a 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 with an electric motor sandwiched between it and its eight-speed automatic transmission, an all-wheel-drive system that puts power to the ground, a 17.3 -kWh battery pack stored in the floor and a 6.6-kWh built-in charger in the front panel. Total system output for the Grand Cherokee 4xe is 375 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque, while it’s EPA-rated for 26 miles on electric and 23/24/23 mpg city/highway/combined when the battery dies.

If that system sounds complicated, well, it is. While traditional internal combustion powertrains are inherently more complex than those in an electric vehicle, combining the two and making them play well with each other is an incredibly difficult feat. Still, Jeep’s engineering team did a great job of making the engine and power play well in the 2022 Grand Cherokee 4xe.

By default, the Jeep goes into its hybrid drive mode (it also has all-electric, battery saver and charge modes) with the battery fully charged. The hybrid drive mode is designed to benefit the electric motor, but also turns the engine on when it is more efficient to do so.

It is usually quite often. Passing slower traffic, accelerating to keep up with city traffic, or entering a busy freeway regularly fires up the Jeep’s 2.0-liter, which is good for getting the engine up to operating temperature quickly but gives the impression that the Jeep’s engines aren’t enough powerful for electric operation. Switching to electric mode quickly corrects that impression. The traction motor—good for 134 hp and 195 lb-ft of twist on its own—is torquey and smooth, easily propelling the Jeep forward and keeping up with traffic as the eight-speed shifts between gears.

On the road, the air-suspended Grand Cherokee handles its weight well, floating over bumps with few secondary bumps and handling confidently with well-weighted, precise steering despite its optional all-terrain tires. It’s no driver – its eight in 27.7 seconds at a 0.60gi average confirms that – but it feels stately and confidence-inspiring on the road.

Our top model Overland is nice to be in too. With the $2,155 Luxury Tech Group IV and $2,235 Advanced Protech Group III, our $76,975 Jeep should give European luxury automakers pause. The Jeep’s cabin is beautifully appointed, with thick, buttery nappa leather, nicely textured wood, and luxurious touches like massaging seats, an incredibly sharp 19-speaker McIntosh stereo, and night vision.

The Grand Cherokee has long been seen by the public as only “premium” vehicles, but the newest Grand Cherokee takes a serious swipe at the luxury mantle. The new 4xe plug-in hybrid variant is the most compelling yet, combining the capacity, practicality and luxury that move SUVs off showroom floors with the efficiency and performance of a rock-solid plug-in hybrid powertrain. Although about $10,000 more than its conventionally powered two- and three-row siblings, the new 2022 Grand Cherokee Overland 4xe is the best Grand Cherokee you can buy today.

Looks good! More details?

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe Specs
BASIC PRICE $67,555
PRICE AS TESTED $75,305
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front engine, 4WD, 5-speed, 4-door SUV
ENGINE 2.0L turbo direct injection DOHC 16-valve I-4, plus 2 front permanent magnet electric motors
POWER (SAE NET) 270 hp @ 5,250 rpm (gas), 44 + 134 hp (electric); 375 hp (cam)
TORQUE (SAE NET) 295 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm (gas), 39 + 195 lb-ft (electric); 470 lb-ft (cam)
TRANSFER 8-speed automatic
PERSONAL WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 5,640 lb (52/48%)
WHEELBASE 116.7 inches
Length x width x height 193.5 x 77.5 x 70.8 inches
0-60 MPH 6.5 sec
QUARTER MILE 15.0 sec @ 91.3 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 140 feet
SIDE ACCELERATION 0.76 g (average)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 27.7 sec @ 0.60g (average)
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 23/24/23 (gas), 57/56/56 mpg-e (gas + electric)*
EPA RANGE, ELEC/COMB 26/470 miles
FOR SALE Now
*Tested in (standard) hybrid mode without maximum regenerative braking.

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