Gallery: 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe First Drive

The all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee has proven to be a big hit with buyers. Introduced first in the long wheelbase “L” form with three rows, followed by the traditionally shaped two row SUV. The new Grand Cherokee is bigger inside and out, but it is more refined than the previous generation in every way. To continue the momentum of the new generation Grand Cherokee, the plug-in hybrid 4xe package was recently introduced and last month, select members of the media were invited to Austin, Texas to drive the newest electrified Jeep.

It was a great experience, both on-road and off, making it clear that the 4xe is the best option for someone who wants a great combination of power and all-electric driving in a roomy Jeep.

The 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe is offered in base, Trailhawk, Overland and Summit trim levels, but from the outside, they all look very similar to the non-hybrid version of the same trim level. There are unique blue trim accents around the exterior and package badging, but this is not a package that broadcasts hybrid functionality to the world. It probably should though, because it is a great drivetrain option for the new Grand Cherokee – one which I would seriously consider over the 5.7-liter Hemi.

The 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a pair of electric motors mated to a 400-volt battery system. Combined, the gasoline engine and electric motors offer 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque, with the power being sent towards the wheels by the 8-speed automatic transmission and either the Quadra-Trac II or Quadra-Drive II four-wheel-drive system.

Now, the new Grand Cherokee is a big, four-wheel-drive SUV, so the hybrid version doesn’t offer the crazy fuel economy numbers of smaller, far-less-powerful crossovers, but it does offer 25 miles of all-electric driving on a single charge. That is enough to cover the average American commute and if you work somewhere with Level 2 charging architecture, you can double that range by charging during the work day. Even when running only on electric power, the Grand Cherokee 4xe offers solid power, but in Hybrid drive mode, it will tow up to 6,000 pounds. 

My day with the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe Summit Reserve began in downtown Austin with a fully charged battery and the vehicle set to the Electric driving mode. In this mode, it nearly locks the SUV into all-electric driving, unless you really hammer the throttle hard or do something else to ask for  full power. You can still apply plenty of throttle to keep up with traffic without forcing the gasoline engine to engage, so under normal commute-style driving, the Grand Cherokee 4xe will operate purely on electric power.

Power application in Electric drive mode is smooth and strong, and when you engage Max Regen braking, you more or less have a one-pedal driving experience. The brakes engage when you let off of the throttle to create more friction for regenerative charging efforts, nearly bringing the vehicle to a complete stop in slow-moving traffic. It takes some getting used to, but it is a great feature for the daily drive and I enjoyed using it while driving through Austin.

Thanks to the on-board charging systems, I covered nearly 28 miles on all-electric power, exceeding the 25-mile official range without any unusual driving efforts. I even made a stop along the way, so I would have made it more than 28 miles if not for that, so in the right situation, Grand Cherokee 4xe owners will be able to go even further on battery power.

Once the battery is depleted, the 4xe switches to Hybrid drive mode, which uses the gasoline engine and the electric motors together. In situations where little torque is needed, the gasoline engine will shut down and let the electric motors do a bit of work, while points of peak torque will have the engine and motors working together to improve power and efficiency.

In Hybrid mode, it drives very much like any other gasoline-powered SUV, and as the regenerative systems add battery power, the vehicle will cycle in and out of all-electric driving. 

As you might expect, with 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque, the Grand Cherokee 4xe is quick from a stop and offers solid passing power at highway speeds, so there is really no compromise with the hybrid drivetrain when driving on paved roads.

The mid-point of our drive time with the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe was a private ranch that had been transformed into an off-road testing area. The Summit Reserve that I drove to that ranch wouldn’t have been ideal with its huge wheels and low profile tires, but the 4xe Overland that was waiting for me proved to be very impressive.

The battery in that SUV was fully-charged as well, so I was able to complete the entire off-road course without using any gasoline. Even the steep hills and rock crawling exercises, with very steep hills, were conquered by the new Grand Cherokee 4xe on all-electric power.

Off-roading in an electric vehicle is interesting, as without the engine sounds, you can hear everything going on around the new Grand Cherokee 4xe. You can hear the sound of the tires cracking sticks on the ground and gripping rock, along with the sounds of birds and other wildlife that you cannot hear over the roar of a gasoline engine.

While many Grand Cherokee 4xe owners will never go off-roading, those who do so with an Overland or Trailhawk will have a great time and great success – further showing that there is no compromise with the big hybrid Jeep.

The only downside to the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe is the cost, as it is the most expensive package in the lineup, but it also comes with unique content. For example, the base 4xe model costs $57,700 before destination or the $7,500 tax credit. The base 4xe is best compared to the Limited non-hybrid model, which starts at $46,645, but the 4xe package adds the Qudra-Trac II 4WD system, the passenger screen, 18-inch wheels, a premium 9-speaker Alpine sound system and the dual pane sunroof as standard equipment.

The price different between the non-hybrid and 4xe models varies by trim level, but in most cases, that difference is all-but-countered by the federal tax credit. However, even at the higher price point, the 4xe models are superior to their non-hybrid relatives and for anyone who isn’t hung up on the Hemi, the combination of the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and the dual electric motors makes for a great driving experience in any situation.

In the case of the Grand Cherokee 4xe Overland, it starts at $65,760 while the non-hybrid Overland starts at $56,240 and in premium Summit trim, the price jumps from $60,300 to $69,820, but again, the 4xe applies to the $7,500 federal tax credit and the non-hybrid does not. That effectively brings the price of the hybrid much closer to the non-hybrid. When you consider the advantages of the 4xe, the price difference is easily justifiable. 

The bottom line here is that if you want the best combination of power and efficiency from the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee, you want a 4xe model. You will pay more, but you get more and in the end, it offers all-electric driving that you cannot get elsewhere in the segment. 

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Patrick Rall

Industry News Editor Patrick entered the Mopar world when he bought his 1983 Mirada back in 1994, installing a mild 340 a year later that would eventually be built up into the range of 500 horsepower. Today, Patrick daily drives a Hellcat Challenger, but he still has his 340-powered Mirada, as well as a 1972 Demon 340 and a Hemi Ram.

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