Jeep Grand Cherokee 4Xe plug-in hybrid (2022) review: talks a big game

Published:02 June 2022

Jeep Grand Cherokee 4Xe plug-in hybrid (2022) review: talks a big game
  • At a glance
  • 3 out of 5
  • 3 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 3 out of 5

By Adam Binnie

Bauer Automotive's commercial content editor; likes bikes and burgers, often over-tyred

By Adam Binnie

Bauer Automotive's commercial content editor; likes bikes and burgers, often over-tyred

► PHEV Grand Cherokee tested in the States
► It’s coming to Europe later in 2022
► Does it deliver on its plush promises?

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is an uncomplicated car in an increasingly complicated world – a haven for those looking to escape the norm in robust, unfussy surroundings. But like time and tide, the onward march of tech and regulation waits for no-car.

Complicating things further is the need to keep pace with the Europeans; our Range Rover Sport and Audi Q7. Cars that suit a pair of wellies just as well as a tuxedo, all while under pressure to emit less CO2 than the fizz from a bottle of Bollinger.

So, we arrive at the inevitable – a Grand Cherokee with an electrified four-cylinder drivetrain that outsmarts and outperforms the trad V8. Jackson Storm to the established Lightning McQueen. Another knife in the dying bent-eight; join us in examining the future.

I thought fully electric was the future?

Well yes, the Grand Cherokee 4xe is more like the present, or if you’re feeling particularly mean, kind of the past. The big Jeep’s rivals have had plug sockets for some time now, and earlier hybrid exploits from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles left us a bit lukewarm.

Way back before the Stellantis takeover, we had the Renegade 4xe, but this was a very different vehicle to what you see before you now. That car had an electric motor on the rear axle and a petrol one up front, leading to something of a disconnect. Like an arguing couple communicating through an intermediary. Or more simply, a lumpy power delivery.

The Grand Cherokee has a much more conventional setup – a starter generator to make volts and an electric motor in the gearbox to use them. Combined you get 375bhp and 463 lb ft of torque, which is more than the aforementioned V8 model, and more efficient.

Is it good to drive?

Its 20-odd miles of electric range is a bit last-gen PHEV but when the battery is full it provides suitable urban waft. As a long-range cruiser though it really shines, with low wind and powertrain noise, and optional massaging seats for a relaxing ride.

In town the 134bhp electric motor provides enough power but on faster roads you’ll more often than not tempt the four-pot into life. Active noise cancelling does its best to reduce drone but the resulting soundtrack is a thin and whirring tone that makes the motor sound like it’s far away.

Interestingly the longitudinally mounted motor is so far back you wouldn’t be out of order to call it front mid-engined, and the shift between EV and ICE is subtle and swift, aided by the eight-speed auto delivering suitable levels of slush.

What’s the handling like?

The PHEV system adds 350kg to an already weighty vehicle and, while that’s mitigated a bit by being situated low down, there’s no escaping the size and mass of the Grand Cherokee.

That said, while the ride on Texan roads felt worryingly firm, the steering and handling feel much improved on the last car. The steering weight is consistent and linear, while a sportier driving mode adds extra heft.

Otherwise it feels as you’d expect it to in a luxury SUV, isolating you just enough from the road surface to deliver a feeling of calm behind the wheel.

What’s it like inside the Grand Cherokee?

Another huge leap forward with loads of glassy surfaces and warm wood panels that wrap around the driver and passenger. A prod of the starter button brings little aural drama in this plug-in model but there’s plenty of visual intrigue thanks to the neatly scalloped metal surround, which is shared with the on the backlit gear selector knob and looks very smart indeed.

Tech gets a boost too with a six ten-inch screens available depending on spec – four in the front and two for the rear seat passengers. One of those is mounted in front of the passenger and allows them to make changes to the navigation or media system.

The main screen is crisp and responsive, and there are no flimsy or creaky panels. You get plenty of legroom in the back thanks to the scalloped seat backs, and because the PHEV battery is under the car, as opposed to intruding on interior or luggage space.

This car has a panoramic roof and headroom isn’t brilliant in the back, you can improve this by reclining the seats, which makes the rear seats more comfortable but impacts on boot space. Either way it’s definitely comfier in the front – an odd observation, but one that sets the level of luxury the Grand Cherokee is expected to provide.

The ultimate in luxury is of course always experienced in the second row, while being chauffeured around, rather than driving yourself. So, this is an indulgence for drivers instead, and particularly those who want to leave the beaten track.

I do not

No, and realistically people buy into the Grand Cherokee’s image more than its (considerable, as it turns out) capability off-road or capacity to drag the heavy thing. That was fine when cities shrugged at big, diesel SUVs, but those days are long gone.

The trouble is, for an image like that to mean anything it still needs to be backed up with ability, so now you’re asking one car to be a rugged, go-anywhere SUV with a limo-like plush interior and a double-digit electric range. That’s a lot of Stetsons.

Verdict

It’s not just the Jeep Grand Cherokee, all cars are expected to provide more and more tech, luxury and driver assistance within the same footprint these days. While none of those things is impossible, they come at the expense of weight, complexity and of course cost.

Underneath it all the old priorities of off-road prowess, passenger luxury and interior practicality remain, but if you enjoyed previous iterations of this car for their uncomplicated engineering and interior user experience then this posher, cleaner burning variant may not appeal in quite the same way.

Specs

Price when new: £62,000
On sale in the UK: Late 2022
Engine: 1995cc 16v turbo four-cylinder plus e-motor, 375bhp @ 5250rpm, 470lb ft @ 3000rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed auto, all-wheel drive
Performance: 6.2sec 0-62mph (est), 151mph (est), 108mpg, 62g/km CO2
Weight / material: 2416kg
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm):

Rivals

Photo Gallery

  • Jeep Grand Cherokee 4Xe plug-in hybrid (2022) review: talks a big game
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee 4Xe plug-in hybrid (2022) review: talks a big game
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee 4Xe plug-in hybrid (2022) review: talks a big game
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee 4Xe plug-in hybrid (2022) review: talks a big game
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee 4Xe plug-in hybrid (2022) review: talks a big game
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee 4Xe plug-in hybrid (2022) review: talks a big game
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee 4Xe plug-in hybrid (2022) review: talks a big game
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee 4Xe plug-in hybrid (2022) review: talks a big game
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee 4Xe plug-in hybrid (2022) review: talks a big game
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee 4Xe plug-in hybrid (2022) review: talks a big game
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee 4Xe plug-in hybrid (2022) review: talks a big game
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee 4Xe plug-in hybrid (2022) review: talks a big game
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee 4Xe plug-in hybrid (2022) review: talks a big game

By Adam Binnie

Bauer Automotive's commercial content editor; likes bikes and burgers, often over-tyred

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