- Jeep's 4xe plug-in hybrid (PHEV) option joins the Grand Cherokee stable.
- The Grand Cherokee PHEV is fuel-efficient and has lots of power.
- We couldn't match the Jeep's electric-only range estimate, but we did get close.
When Jeep launched the newest version of the Grand Cherokee last year — first in three-row Grand Cherokee L form, then the traditional two-row Grand Cherokee — it did so with a pair of familiar engines underhood. The standard V6 provides decent enough fuel economy, even if acceleration is tepid. Upgrade to the V8 and you'll find a lot more power on tap, but you'll have to visit the pump more often.
Thankfully, there's another powertrain in the corporate catalog: the 4xe, which is Jeep's name for its turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder plug-in hybrid. It's more potent than either of the gas-only engines, in addition to being more fuel-efficient and offering an EPA-estimated 25 miles of electric range from a fully charged battery.
It took a little while for the 4xe to make it to the Grand Cherokee (it's been available for the Jeep Wrangler for a couple years now), but the on-paper combination of good power and even better fuel economy is undeniably enticing. I tested the Grand Cherokee 4xe in Austin, Texas, to see if this eco-friendly version was worth the wait.
My drive route started in the suburbs and was clearly intended to develop a baseline for EV-only range. The low speed limits and plenty of brake regen opportunities in the suburbs are ideal conditions for maximizing efficiency of electric motors. I wasn't able to match the EV-only range of 25 miles — the gas engine fired up after 20 miles — though I will concede that the battery was only about 95% full when I jumped in. It's also worth noting that, while we haven't driven the Grand Cherokee 4xe at Edmunds' home base yet, we also achieved lower-than-expected EV range on a Wrangler 4xe that we tested on our vehicle evaluation route.
The turbocharged four-cylinder was more than up to the task of moving the Grand Cherokee once the battery power was depleted. It develops 270 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque on its own — figures that aren't that far off the base V6 — but with juice in the pack, the system produces 375 hp and 470 lb-ft. If you have completely drained the battery and have nothing in reserve, the Grand Cherokee 4xe might feel sluggish. But there's a lot of energy harvesting going on here, so the battery pack always seems to have a little charge for when you need to overtake slower traffic on the highway.
While the majority of Grand Cherokee 4xe owners will stick to the asphalt, this Jeep also needs to be capable in the dirt, especially since it's available in an off-road-focused Trailhawk trim. To that end, the Grand Cherokee 4xe comes standard with skid plates that protect the 17.3-kWh battery pack, should you find yourself scraping the underside against a particularly nasty obstacle. The Quadra-Trac II four-wheel-drive system and two-speed transfer case are also standard. As with other Grand Cherokee models, the more advanced Quadra-Drive II variant with an electronic limited-slip differential comes on Trailhawk and Summit models, and it's optional for the Overland.
The 4xe is clearly capable off-road, as evidenced by a challenging technical course that Jeep procured for a demonstration. I switched into a charged-up 4xe for this excursion, which allowed me to nearly silently navigate the path. The sound of the tires and low levels of electric motor noise were the only auditory clues that I was trudging along at all. Silent off-roading is promised by very few vehicles — the Wrangler 4xe, GMC Hummer EV and Rivian R1T come to mind — but it's certainly a worthy endeavor. Being able to explore the great outdoors and fully take in nature without unnecessarily disturbing it with an abundance of noise benefits driver, passengers, hikers, bikers and fauna.
The price for the most potent and fuel-efficient powertrain is, unsurprisingly, higher than the other Grand Cherokee options. Here's a full breakdown:
MSRP (includes $1,795 destination charge)
|Grand Cherokee 4xe||$59,495|
|Summit Reserve 4xe||$76,095|
We have a more detailed analysis of the Grand Cherokee 4xe's price here, but the overall takeaway is that upgrading to the 4xe carries a $6,600-$9,300 premium when compared to the base V6. However, in some cases (as with the Overland) it's less expensive to opt for the 4xe than it is the V8 once you factor in available tax credits. Plus, if you have a short commute, it'll be a while before you visit a gas pump if you're diligent about charging.
Whether you want to off-road in silence, are tired of visiting a gas station, are worried about rising gas prices, want a lot of power or simply want to be a more ecologically conscious driver, the 4xe could be the right powertrain for you.
If you want to off-road in style and comfort, the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe might be the best way to do it. This plug-in hybrid offers more than 20 miles of all-electric range, plus gobs of power and good fuel efficiency. It isn't an inexpensive upgrade, but the 4xe really offers the best of all worlds.