Review: 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe plug-in SUV
The current-generation Grand Cherokee is the return of the beloved, bigger Jeep SUV. As a utility, it ticks all the boxes, with a roomy interior, good ride quality, and useful nature. The plug-in 4xe model is the most efficient of the Grand Cherokee model lineup, but it does have a couple of downsides.
At a Glance
- Good exterior design for daily use and off-road capability
- Smart interior with upscale touches throughout
- Sluggish get-up-and-go
- Electric range varies widely when configurations change
- Efficiency is highly variable
Jeep has been rolling out plug-in hybrids under the 4xe brand ever since the PHEV version of the Wrangler, which we fell in love with. Next up was the Grand Cherokee plug-in, which we finally got to drive for a week and, well ... aren’t quite as enamored.
The 2022 model year kicks off the fifth generation for the Jeep Grand Cherokee, adding more upscale to the mix. The Grand Cherokee is now the premium option in the Jeep sport utility lineup, getting more luxurious than previous generations have. The plug-in hybrid 4xe model of the Grand Cherokee adds improved efficiency and enough electric-only range to be useful as a daily driver without using gasoline.
The EPA rates the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe with 26 miles (41.8 km) of all-electric range followed by 23 mpg (10.2 l/100km) of combined fuel efficiency. These come together for about 440 miles (708 km) of total range in the new Grand Cherokee 4xe. Like the Wrangler 4xe, the Grand Cherokee version allows the driver to choose when to use the electric motors as the only propulsion, so one can save that 26 miles of EV driving for quiet driving in the neighborhood or out in the wilderness.
Your mileage will vary, of course, and in our week with the 2022 Grand Cherokee 4xe we averaged only about 22 miles (35 km) per charge, using it mostly for in-town driving. The all-weather treaded tires and variable fall temperatures likely played a part in that.
The 4xe version of the Grand Cherokee comes in several flavors, having five model trims to choose from. We drove the Overland 4xe, which sits right in the middle of the five, the more off-road-focused Trailhawk and the base model being below it and the Summit and Summit Reserve being above. All versions have the same 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, battery pack, motors, and eight-speed automatic transmission. Together, these produce 375 horsepower (280 kW).
The problem comes with electric propulsion, which is what is doing most of the motivating when starting from a standstill. The electric motor-generator and axle-direct motor being used offer less than half of that 375 hp together (178 in all). Unless the engine is running, the 44-hp motor-generator (which connects to the crankshaft of the engine) is subtracted from the 178. And that’s just not enough to get the heavy Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe moving with any confidence. So it feels sluggish at the times when confidence should be at the forefront.
When the engine and motors are all working together, however, the 2022 Grand Cherokee 4xe has plenty of oomph and outperforms both the standard V6 and V8 engines offered in other versions of the Grand Cherokee in terms of horsepower and torque outputs. Its sluggishness is despite fast 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) sprints of around six seconds for the 4xe. That’s because most of the speed in those sprints comes after the first 25 or so miles per hour when the engine is fully engaged, not at the beginning.
This means that compared to the Wrangler 4xe, which we loved for its strong motor, the same powertrain in the much heavier Grand Cherokee 4xe is not as impressive – on the road or off.
A few smart things in the 4xe model are upsides for the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee. It charges itself while using the engine, mostly at higher speeds, at a rate of up to about 3 kWh an hour. That’s not much, but it’s enough to keep the battery pack charged up while driving to a destination and can eventually add enough charge (say on a road trip) to top it off.
Speaking of charge times, the Grand Cherokee 4xe recharges in about 13 hours on a 120-volt household outlet and in about 4 hours on a 240 V. Those are pretty consistent charge times, comparatively, with the 4xe model having a top input rate of around 36 amps.
Altogether, the greatest reason to spend US$57,000 or so on a 4xe base model (going up from there) is to grab its mixture of interior luxury, off-road capability, and efficient hybrid powertrain. Most people will find that their everyday driving uses very little fuel when the system is left to its own devices (engaging and shutting off the 4-cylinder gas engine as needed). Yet long-distance road trips or trips into the countryside where chargers are rare are still perfectly doable in this Jeep.
Product Page: 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe