Most capable Grand Cherokee – and environmentally friendly too

AUSTIN, TX – As we reported last fall (“2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee improves terrain – and on”), the new fifth-generation Grand Cherokee is easily the best ever. And now we can add that its available plug-in hybrid 4xe driveline stands above its V-6 and V-8 counterparts in most measurable ways. As it should, because it’s priced about $ 10,000 higher than V-6 models.

As we said then, the ’22 Grand Cherokee – newly available in both two-row and stretched three-row “L” models – is new from tire patch to roof railing. It offers a nicely designed (and more spacious) new interior in a handsome new exterior on a stiffer, stronger new architecture.

And it delivers the best capacity ever thanks to a choice of Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II or Quadra-Drive II 4×4 systems, class-exclusive Quadra-Lift air suspension – now with electronic semi-active damping that gives up to a class-leading 11 , 3 ins. (28.7 cm) ground clearance and 24 inches. (61 cm) water wadding – and (only on Trailhawk models) a new, class-exclusive disconnecting front swing bar for improved articulation and safer footing over rocks and uneven terrain.

Its very user-friendly Uconnect 5 infotainment system is handled by a 10.1-inch. (25.6 cm) digital touch screen – thankfully with volume and adjustment / scroll buttons and hard buttons for HVAC – and an available segment-exclusive 10.25-inch. (26 cm) front passenger screen to help co-pilots assist with navigation, camera viewing and visual entertainment and a new high-resolution rear-seat entertainment system with dual backrest screens and built-in FireTV.

Standard driver comfort / safety features include adaptive cruise with stop and drive, full speed collision warning with active braking and pedestrian / cyclist detection, rear crossing detection, lane departure warning with lane departure warning, advanced brake assist, blind spot monitoring, a back-up camera and rear parking assist . Also available are Night Vision Camera with pedestrian and animal detection, Intersection Collision Assist, Drowsy Driver Detection, Parallel and Perpendicular Park Assist, Traffic Sign Recognition, 360-degree surround camera with front and rear washers and (SAE Level 2) Active Driving Assist semi-automatic driving.

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The Uconnect infotainment system anchors the Grand Cherokee interior.

Among the other available technologies: wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a digital rearview mirror, a 10-inch. (25.4 cm) full-color Head-up Display, a wireless charging pad in the front center console, enhanced Amazon Alexa virtual assistant, SiriusXM 360L platform with personal stations powered by Pandora, TomTom navigation with predictive search, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot that can connect up to eight devices, live traffic updates with native speech, map updates over the air and a new 950-watt, 19-speaker McIntosh sound system.

And new for the 4×4 is the front axle disconnection. If road conditions do not require AWD, it automatically switches to rear-wheel drive to reduce driveline resistance and improve fuel economy. AWD is automatically reconnected when the vehicle feels needed.

Grand Cherokee 4xe

What sets the new PHEV 4xe apart from its non-hybrid stablemates? It delivers a solid 375 total system horsepower, 470 lb.-ft. (637 Nm) of torque and 6,000 lbs. (2,720 kg) towing capacity plus 25 miles (40 km) range only for electric range at an estimated 57 MPGe. In Trailhawk trim, it provides Wrangler-like off-road capability through its Quadra Trac II 4×4 system with a two-speed gearbox, 2.72: 1 low-gear ratio and 47.4: 1 creep ratio.

Available in Limited, Trailhawk, Overland, Summit and Summit Reserve trims, the 4xe hybrid propulsion system combines two electric motors and a 400V, 17-kWh battery pack with a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cyl. and TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic transmission. Two couplings handle the output power from the motor and the e-motor, and a liquid-cooled motor / generator (connected with a belt to the motor crankshaft) generates electricity to the battery and enables almost seamless start-stop operation.

The battery pack has a dedicated heating and cooling circuit to keep it at optimal temperature, and with all high-voltage electronics sealed and waterproof, a Trail Rated Grand 4xe can carry up to 61 cm of water. Mounted under the body and protected with steel shields, its integrated Dual Charging Module combines a compact Power Inverter Module, the battery charger and a DC / DC converter into a single, compact unit.

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Selec-Terrain provides Auto, Sport, Rock, Snow and Mud / Sand modes, and the 4xe system adds three driver-selectable hybrid modes. Electric mode only works EV until the battery reaches minimum charge (and switches to hybrid) or the driver steps on the throttle to request more torque, which engages the engine. The hybrid mode mixes engine and engine torque to optimize performance and efficiency. E-Save prioritizes the engine, saves battery charge for later use and can charge the battery while driving.

The coupling between the motor and the motor is open in electrical mode to eliminate mechanical resistance and is then closed in hybrid mode to combine torque from both. The second clutch behind the e-motor handles the transmission clutch to improve driveability and efficiency. Regenerative braking from all four wheels (when 4×4 is engaged) sends the charge back to the battery during normal braking and rolling, and a selectable Max Regen function provides a slightly more aggressive braking while generating more electricity to the battery.

Driving Impressions

Specific to our test Trailhawk 4xe is Quadra-Drive II with two-speed gearbox and 2.72: 1 low-gear ratio, a rear electronic differential with limited slip, Selec-Terrain traction management, Selec-Speed ​​Control, disconnecting front swing bar and 10.9 ins. (27.8 cm) ground clearance. Trailhawk visual cues include 18-inch blue accents. wheels with off-road tires, blue towbars and a black-blue matte “Trailhawk” main decal.

Our test route was mostly two-lane, some of it crooked and some unpaved, most were driven quite aggressively, and we were very impressed with the Trailhawks’ performance, handling of steering and braking despite its real weight. It was also pleasantly quiet in speed, and its seats provided excellent long-term comfort. We started with a 99% charge permit and achieved a surprising 47 km – (four [6.4 km] more than expected) – in EV mode with Max Regen before it transparently switched to hybrid mode and started the engine.

Our ride ended with an extremely challenging terrain course, much of it went over high, steep bare cliffs with surprising ease … and demonstrated an ability that was truly amazing. The total fuel economy was 20.7 mpg (11.4 L / 100 km) before the terrain course, 20.0 mpg (11.8 L / 100 km) afterwards.

Also impressive were the new Grand Cherokee’s driver information and infotainment system. The screen provides virtually all the information anyone could want in five reconfigurable segments, Uconnect is intuitive and simple (among the best), and the steering wheel controls are well marked and easy to see and use. There are several pairs of USB-A and -C connectors throughout the cabin and HDMI inputs for the rear entertainment system, and our vehicle’s available passenger touch screen was a unique and appreciated new feature.

Yes, this ’22 Grand Cherokee 4xe is a top competitor in a highly competitive segment. But not cheap at $ 58,000 – $ 70,000 depending on trim and options.

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