2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe: First Drive Review

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceFirst Plug-In Grand Cherokee
Last summer Jeep began the rollout of an all-new, fifth-generation Grand Cherokee with the introduction of the first three-row version — the Grand Cherokee L. With fresh styling and a wide range of improvements, the Grand Cherokee L blazed the way and a few months later the updated two-row Grand Cherokee debuted. With these new models posting big sales so far in 2022, the iconic American brand ups its game even more with the first plug-in hybrid version, the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceNew Era of Refinement
“The Jeep Grand Cherokee is our global flagship and will be leading the Jeep brand into a new era of
premium refinement, innovative technology, advanced 4 x 4 capability and electrification,” said Jeep Brand Chief Executive Officer Christian Meunier. “With a perfect balance of on-road dynamics, 4 x 4
capability and 4xe performance, the all-new 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee is the most technologically
advanced, luxurious and 4 x 4-capable Grand Cherokee ever,” Meunier noted.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceDesign
For the most part, the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe is no different from the non-electrified versions. The only stand-out features are a 4xe badge on the rear gate and a charge port on the left-front fender. The Trailhawk and Overland 4xe also have blue tow hooks, while the Trailhawk also gets blue accented 18-inch wheels and a black and blue matte Trailhawk hood decal.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceNew Architecture
Underneath the stylish new skin of the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe is an all-new unibody featuring independent front and rear suspension. The platform is designed to allow for two different wheelbases as well as electrification. Utilizing both aluminum and high-strength steel, the Grand Cherokee 4xe features a body structure both strong and lightweight, which enhances overall drivability both on- and off-road.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceModel Lineup
The new Grand Cherokee 4xe is available in four trim levels: 4xe, Trailhawk, Overland and Summit. All 4xe trims have 4-wheel drive and are exclusively 2-row variants — at least for now.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceSafety Across the Board
Every Grand Cherokee 4xe is outfitted with the latest advanced safety and driver-assist features. These include active lane management, adaptive cruise with stop and go, advanced brake assist, blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian/cyclist detection, lane departure warning, lane-keeping assist, rear cross-traffic alert and trailer sway control. Additional standard safety features on the top-level Summit include intersection collision assist and drowsy driver detection. A night vision camera is also available.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceGrand Cherokee 4xe
With a starting price of $57,700, the Grand Cherokee 4xe comes fully loaded with Capri leather seat trim, power front seats, a heated steering wheel, heated front and rear seats, a digital instrument cluster, a front passenger display and Uconnect 5 with a 10.1-inch touchscreen display and navigation. The 4xe also comes has standard wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, four USB ports and a 506-watt Alpine audio system with nine speakers.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceGrand Cherokee Trailhawk 4xe
Priced at $62,485, the Trailhawk 4xe is the most off-road capable trim in the Grand Cherokee 4xe lineup. Features include Quadra-Lift air suspension, an electronic limited-slip rear differential, sway-bar disconnect, an integrated off-road camera, front tow hooks, a trailer-towing package and 18-inch polished/painted aluminum wheels shod with BSW A/S All-Terrain Wrangler Territory AT Tires. The Trailhawk also adds ventilated front seats trimmed in vinyl and Capri leather with suede inserts.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceGrand Cherokee Overland 4xe
At a base price of $65,760, the Overland is designed for both on- and off-road adventuring. The Overland stands out with a unique fascia and body-color lower section with a bright chrome insert, premium LED reflector headlights with LED accent lighting, and 20-inch machined cast-aluminum wheels fitted with all-season tires. Other features include perforated Nappa leather-trimmed seats, rain-sensing wipers, a hands-free power liftgate, five-color ambient lighting and a Premium 950-watt McIntosh high-performance audio system with 19 speakers.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceGrand Cherokee Summit 4xe
The Summit resides (appropriately) at the top of the Grand Cherokee 4xe lineup at a starting price of $69,820. And even though it still possesses the off-road capability of the rest of the lineup, the Summit gets perforated Nappa leather seats with quilted Nappa bolsters, 4-zone climate control, 12-way power front seats, front seat massagers with five massage styles, a wood-and-leather-trimmed steering wheel and a 360-degree Surround View camera with lens washer. A gloss-black grille with floating platinum chrome rings and 20-inch polished cast aluminum wheels in Mid-Gloss Clear are also standard.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceSummit Reserve Package
For those seeking the ultimate luxury Grand Cherokee 4xe, Jeep offers the Summit Reserve Package on the Summit 4xe for an additional $4,480. The Summit Reserve upgrades the Summit with hand-wrapped Palermo leather seats, a leather-wrapped armrest and door trim, open-pore waxed walnut trim, a suede headliner, ventilated front and rear seats, and 21-inch machined cast aluminum wheels.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceUnder the Hood
Powering all trim levels of the Grand Cherokee 4xe is the same powertrain used in the Wrangler 4xe — a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine teamed with an eTorque belt-start generator/motor and an integrated transmission traction electric motor for a total output of 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. The result is more power and torque than Jeep’s 5.7-liter V8, resulting in the 4xe tromping from zero to 60 mph a full second faster.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceHow it Works
A high-voltage motor at the front of the Grand Cherokee 4xe’s gas engine replaces a conventional alternator and starter motor. This motor connects to the driveshaft and spins the engine quickly and seamlessly for smooth start/stop operation, while also generating electricity for the battery pack. A second motor/generator replaces a traditional torque converter in the automatic transmission. Depending on the needs of the powertrain, the gas engine can be completely disengaged so only the electric motor is sending power to the wheels. Alternatively, the engine can re-engage to allow power from both the gas engine and electric motor to flow through the transmission. With this setup, the 4xe’s off-road capability remains unchanged from gas-only variants.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceFuel Economy and Range
According to the U.S. EPA, the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe is rated at 56 MPGe combined and 23 MPG combined. The EPA reports that with a fully charged battery, the 4xe can travel up to 26 miles on electric-only power with a total range of 470 miles. The 17-kWh battery gets mounted within the chassis to keep it protected and also lowering the center of gravity by 2 inches. Charging takes about two hours with a Level 2 charger, or 12 hours on a typical household outlet.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceNo Range Anxiety
“The Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe driver can tailor its hybrid powertrain to suit each trip, from daily
commuting in pure-electric mode to extended highway road trips with no range anxiety, allowing owners to explore nature off-road in near silence,” Meunier added. “This is another important step toward achieving our global vision of Zero Emission Freedom. By 2025, we plan to offer a fully electric Jeep vehicle in every SUV segment,” Meunier enthused.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceTowing
The 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe can tow up to 6,000 pounds when properly equipped. Trailer sway control is standard all 4xe trims, and a Trailer-Tow Group includes a class IV hitch, a wiring harness and rear load-leveling suspension which is optional on the base trim and standard on the rest of the lineup.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceE Modes
Drivers of the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe can choose from three E Select modes: Hybrid, Electric and eSave. The default Hybrid mode combines power from the 2.0-liter engine and the electric motor and uses battery power first, then adds the 2.0-liter engine after the battery charge has been depleted, or when extra power is required. In Electric mode, the 4xe will operate with electric power only until the battery is depleted, but will still engage the 2.0-liter engine when the driver’s actions call for more power. In eSave the 4xe will use power from the 2.0-liter engine to save battery charge for later use. The driver can use the Hybrid Electric Pages in the Uconnect infotainment system to choose between Battery Save or Battery Charge in eSave mode.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceFour-Wheel Drive
Jeep offers two 4-wheel-drive systems for the Grand Cherokee 4xe. The base-level 4xe and Overland come with Quadra-Trac II with a 2-speed transfer case. Optional on the Overland and standard on Trailhawk and Summit is Quadra-Drive II, which has an electronic limited-slip differential that can send 100 percent of the torque to one rear wheel as needed.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceSelec-Terrain
The 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe comes with Selec-Terrain, which provides preset drive modes to optimize the SUV for different conditions. These modes include Sport, Rock, Snow, Mud / Sand and Automatic. The settings configure the torque split, braking, steering, suspension, throttle control, transmission, traction control, stability control and anti-lock brakes as needed.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceQuadra-Lift
Jeep’s new Quadra-Lift air suspension (standard on all but the base trim) features electronic adaptive damping that automatically adjusts to changing road conditions for improved comfort and control. The system can be operated manually and has the ability to lower the Grand Cherokee L by 1.8 inches for easier entry and exit, or increase ground clearance to 10.9 inches for traversing difficult terrain. At maximum ground clearance, the new SUV can navigate up to 24 inches of water.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceInner Space
The 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe dashboard has a clean design and horizontal vents that give the cabin a wide feeling. The standard touchscreen display integrates seamlessly at the center, with a combination of digital and physical buttons for quick navigation. Climate control as well as volume and tuning knobs are within easy reach. A stylish new rotary shifter as well as other drive controls for ride height and mode selection sit lower on the center console.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceUconnect 5
The latest version of Jeep’s infotainment system, Uconnect 5 functions on the Android operating system and is five times faster than the previous version. The system can be customized for up to five user profiles and includes not only music preferences but also temperature settings, seating position and mirror placement. The home screen can be easily customized to keep the features used most often within easy reach; additional screens can also be added and stored in an individual’s profile.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRear Seat
Plenty of legroom and headroom make the rear seat of the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe a pleasing space to spend time. The outboard seats are heated, and rear-seat passengers can control their own climate settings. Two USB-A and two USB-C ports provide plenty of options for keeping devices charged. An entertainment system featuring Amazon Fire TV is also available, allowing rear-seat passengers to stream videos, play games, listen to music or watch downloaded content.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBehind the Wheel
Jeep invited us out to Austin, Texas, to get some firsthand experience with the first plug-in Grand Cherokee 4xe, and after spending the day both on- and off-road, it’s clear that the 4xe remains a proper Jeep. If Jeep enthusiasts have doubts about the electrification path for the brand, this Grand Cherokee 4xe should alleviate those fears. The 4xe can do everything a non-hybrid Jeep can do — in silence with better efficiency and control.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceOn the Road
Cruising out of Austin, we had a full charge on the Grand Cherokee 4xe and it easily stayed in electric mode as we navigated through city traffic. Acceleration from a stoplight is precise, and with maximum regeneration selected we were able to modulate the speed and braking zones quite easily and smoothly. Accelerating to freeway speeds is easily done with only the electric motors providing power, as was maintaining 70 mph. With regeneration we were able to travel about 31 miles without the gas engine ever starting up.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAcceleration When Needed
There are always occasions when more power is needed, and the Grand Cherokee 4xe certainly delivers. When passing a slower vehicle on a two-lane road, full throttle instantly brings the gas engine online for strong, confident acceleration. After letting up on the throttle, the system goes back to EV mode as long as there is still battery power left.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceOff the Road
Jeep engineers designed the 4xe system to provide the same off-road capability as the gas-only variants, and they clearly succeeded. But there are advantages that the 4xe brings when heading off the beaten path. When powered by just the electric motor, the throttle is much easier to modulate. The torque comes smoother and quicker than a gas engine, which needs to add revs for more power. This electric advantage is extremely useful when rock climbing or tackling difficult terrain.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceOne Pedal
With the Jeep set to maximum regeneration, it’s possible to slow the vehicle by easing off the throttle. This allows the driver to better control the Jeep in situations where power is needed to get over an obstacle, but slowing is immediately needed after. With one pedal the driver doesn’t have to go back and forth from throttle to brake, making for a much smoother transition.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceSilent Running
Perhaps our favorite aspect of off-roading in the Grand Cherokee 4xe is the ability to adventure well away from civilization in complete silence. Granted, it’s a bit eerie to run through deep water and only hear the sound of the water, or to climb rock faces with only the sound of crunching gravel under the tires. But this is also a testament to how well this Jeep is built — even when traversing extreme terrain that takes wheels off the ground, there are no squeaks or groans from the chassis.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRight for You?
Full electrification of the Jeep brand is coming, and if the 2022 Grand Cherokee 4xe is an indication of what can be expected, then bring it on. This fifth-generation Grand Cherokee offers fresh styling and a comfortable, high-tech interior along with Jeep’s legendary off-road capability. Already a great SUV, the Grand Cherokee in plug-in hybrid form delivers performance and efficiency that only make this Jeep even better.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRating: 8.5
Pros: Jeep off-road capability; silent, efficient drive; even base trim feature laden.
Cons: High starting price; no three-row option; gas engine noisy under hard acceleration.
Bottom Line: Jeep capability, comfort and style with an efficient plug-in hybrid powertrain — the future of this iconic American brand is looking good.

The post 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe: First Drive Review appeared first on autoNXT.net.

More from Our Auto Expert