~ A DriveWays Review ~
by Frank A. Aukofer
After all, it’s a Jeep. Yet the 2022 Grand Cherokee Overland 4xe performs well as a roomy, luxurious and even economical Interstate conqueror once you get past the price.
That’s because it’s a PHEV, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, or 4xe in Jeep-talk, which translates as “four by E.” It’s the first Grand Cherokee with the electrified drive train, though it was preceded by its garage mate, the Wrangler 4xe, and uses the same setup.
The linchpin is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine enhanced by a 400-volt battery pack and two electric motors. Together, they deliver 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission that can be manually shifted.
There are three pushbutton selectable driving modes: Hybrid, which blends electric and gasoline power, and is said to be the most efficient mode; electric, which uses only electricity until the battery is depleted, when it automatically switches back to hybrid mode, and eSave, which prioritizes the gasoline engine to save battery power for later use.
A smidgen of turbo lag came from the gasoline engine, which was mitigated by the electric motors in hybrid driving mode. However, Jeep rates the 4xe’s acceleration to 60 miles an hour in six seconds—no slouch in this era.
On electricity alone, the Grand Cherokee 4xe has an advertised range of 25 miles—about par for the course with plug-in hybrids. Using a standard 240-volt, level two charger, it takes 3.4 hours for a full charge.
The 4xe also makes use of standard regenerative braking. There’s a selectable Max Regen feature to help keep the battery topped up somewhat in electric driving mode. It slows the 4xe more aggressively than the standard system to generate more electricity.
Total hybrid range is 440 miles. The EPA rates the system at a combined city/highway miles per gallon equivalent of 56 MPGe. With the battery depleted and running on gasoline only, the combined miles per gallon rating is 23.
The Grand Cherokee 4xe comes in four versions, or trim levels: Trailhawk, Overland, Summit and Summit Reserve. Driven for this review was the trail rated Overland 4xe, which had a starting price of $67,555 and, as tested, $74,910.
Though there was no opportunity to learn if it could handle the rough stuff off road, a 4xe Trailhawk reportedly successfully negotiated the rugged Rubicon Trail in California driving in electric mode. Trail rated 4xe’s high-voltage electronics are waterproofed and it is capable of fording water up to two feet deep.
Even with its 11-inch ground clearance and built-in off-road prowess, the tested Overland 4xe came across as a luxurious, quiet turnpike cruiser. With two occupants, there’s more than enough space, rear seatbacks folded, for all the gear and clothing, as well as a couple days of food, for a week at an ocean beach.
On the road, the tester had a solid, planted feel with the heavy steering feel common to many luxury cars. Yet it handled easily, even when traffic made quick maneuvers necessary. It tracked well in a straight line and attacked curving roads without anxiety at safe speeds.
Full standard safety equipment included automatic emergency braking as part of pre- and post-collision safety systems, night vision with pedestrian and animal detection, blind-spot warning, head-up display, lane departure warning and lane keeping assist, as well as adaptive cruise control that can operate in stop-and-go traffic.
The tested 4xe came with $7,355 worth of technology, luxury, comfort and appearance options, including Nappa leather upholstery, four-zone automatic climate control, front seats with back massage functions, wireless smart phone charging pad, second-row window shades, a surround-view rear camera display and a camera washer.
With judicious monitoring, a Grand Cherokee 4xe owner who doesn’t average more than 25 miles a day behind the wheel can likely keep motoring on electricity alone—charging overnight—although it would be prudent to engage the gasoline engine once in awhile to exercise the system and keep seals lubricated.
The other side of the coin are reports that owners of plug-in hybrids never plug them in and drive them as standard hybrids, which is a waste because plug-ins are generally way more expensive to buy.
- Model: 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4xe PHEV four-door, five-passenger sport utility vehicle.
- Engine/motors: 2.0-liter four-cylinder, turbocharged; PHEV electric motors; Combined 375 hp, 470 lb-ft torque.
- Transmission: Eight-speed PHEV automatic with manual shift mode.
- Overall length: 16 feet 2 inches.
- Height: 5 feet 11 inches.
- EPA/SAE passenger volume: 145 cubic feet. Cargo 38 cubic feet seats up, 71 rear seats folded.
- Weight: 5,492 pounds.
- Towing capability: 6,000 pounds.
- Combined gasoline/electric fuel consumption: 56 MPGe; 23 mpg gasoline only.
- Overall range: 440 miles; electric only: 25 miles.
- Charging time: 3.4 hours on 240-volt, level 2 charger.
- Base price, including destination charge: $67,555.
- Price as tested: $74,910.
Disclaimer: The manufacturer provided the vehicle used to conduct this test drive and review. Photos © Stellantis
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