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2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe: What's It Like to Live With?

How will a plug-in hybrid Grand Cherokee do over 20,000-plus miles? Is PHEV dope or nope?

Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe 2023
Miles Driven:Average MPG:

Latest Highlights

  • We needed a midsize SUV so we opted for a 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • We picked a plug-in hybrid to see how practical it can be ... or not
  • So far our best range on electricity only is 27 miles
  • The stop-and-go driving manners take getting used to

What We Bought And Why

by Rex Tokeshi-Torres, Associate Manager, Vehicle Testing Operations

Our test vehicle: 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe
Base MSRP: $61,660
MSRP as tested: $64,150
What we paid: $64,150

We wanted a Grand Cherokee from the get-go due to its rugged yet family-friendly and comfortable nature. But the 2022 models had chip shortage issues. The best way we found to avoid that was to set our sights on a 2023. We discussed our options and voted on the 4xe trim. Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) straddle that gap between hybrids and going full-electric. These days, consumers are straddling the gap of rising gas prices and an EV charging structure with teething issues. It feels like a perfect match for the times. There is a lot of hype around PHEVs but there is also extra cash involved, considering the cost premium on these cars. Let's see how the Grand Cherokee 4xe does over our one-year and 20,000-mile test.

What Did We Get?

Edmunds recommends the base 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee since it's pretty well equipped for the price. So we took our own advice. For $61,660, the base model comes with adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assistance plus features like blind-spot warning, heated front seats, a nice upholstery and a panoramic glass roof. We even splurged a little ($1,995) for the rear entertainment system that has Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime for the parents on our staff. Our grand total: $64,150.

Why Did We Get It?

The biggest reason we purchased a Grand Cherokee 4xe is to explore its mpg and electric range capabilities. The 4xe plug-in hybrid system was new to the Grand Cherokee lineup for 2022 and we've yet to spend a lot of time with it. We'll have plenty of time behind the wheel now. Where does the plug-in system excel and where does it stumble? How long will it take for us to see a real-world break-even point between the premium 4xe cost and its potential gasoline savings? How long can we drive this Jeep on electricity alone? This is an SUV with 4WD (four-wheel-drive) heritage that doesn't always equate to road manners. Well, we have families and kids to transport from school to soccer to grandmother's house on the weekends. We can only distract them with the rear entertainment for so long. How is this Grand Cherokee as a family mobile? Is it fair to consider this an eco-conscious purchase? We have a lot of questions to answer over the next 12 months and 20,000 miles.

Edmunds purchased this vehicle for the purpose of evaluation.

2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe: Real-World Fuel Economy

How helpful is that 25 miles or so of electric-only range on a daily basis? How much in fuel savings can we really expect from the plug-in hybrid?

Average lifetime mpg: 22.2
EPA mpg rating: 23 combined
Best fill mpg: 22.4
Best electric range (miles): 27.0
Best total range (miles): 444.9
Current odometer: 15,786

It's very noticable when the Jeep switches from electric to gas

"Geez, the switchover from EV to gas is ... abrupt. It feels like harsh drivetrain shock. Spoke with Mike and he thinks it should smooth out over time. I feel the same way but it's not a good feeling driving a new vehicle off the lot and experiencing something like this only a few minutes later." — Rex Tokeshi-Torres, associate manager, vehicle testing operations and logistics

What are charging times like?

"When plugging-in the 4xe at our Level 2 ChargePoint chargers at work, it takes two and a half hours to charge to full. When using my regular 120-volt plug, it took 14 hours and 10 minutes." — Rex Tokeshi-Torres, associate manager, vehicle testing operations and logistics

What do we think about the mpg so far?

"I've gone over 415 miles on the first tank of gas and this Jeep needed almost 18 gallons to fill. That's about 23.5 mpg. Readout on the instrument panel says 20.1 mpg. Let's see how this does over time but it's looking promising." — Rex Tokeshi-Torres, associate manager, vehicle testing operations and logistics

The fuel gauge can be a bit optimistic

"One minute we had 50 miles left then the 'low fuel' alert came on a minute after. Once that happens, the display no longer gives you a range — it just says 'LOW FUEL.' And from my observation, the digital representation of the fuel gauge started depleting faster and I don't think we would have made 50 miles. Maybe that's on purpose? That kinda stinks." — Rex Tokeshi-Torres, associate manager, vehicle testing operations and logistics

How difficult is it to find a charger?

"Hanging around the city of Welches, Oregon, I decided to try looking for someplace to put some electric juice into the PHEV Grand Cherokee. Luckily, I found two J1772 stations close to our condo. Unfortunately upon arrival, I found one to be occupied and another was broken. There goes that idea. Thankfully, I can just use fossil fuel. Note: The nearby Tesla chargers had a couple of spots open." — Rex Tokeshi-Torres, associate manager, vehicle testing operations and logistics

2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe: Maintenance

We'll mention any maintenance updates here.

Our first scheduled maintenance trip is in the books

I took the Grand Cherokee for its first general maintenance service and it all went smoothly. Dropped it off in the morning and about three hours later it was ready to be picked up.

We had an odd experience with the Jeep over Christmas

"So I parked the Jeep outside my apartment on December 23. Come back the afternoon of the 24th and it won't start. Not only that, but there's literally no power to anything. The doors won't unlock, the displays won't turn on — it's dead dead. On the 25th (Merry Christmas to me!) I call AAA and they attempt to give the battery a jump, and hey, it turned on! But as soon as they removed the jump pack it went right back to sleep. Come the 26th I get it towed to the dealer.

"The Jeep was locked in gear (because there's an electronic shift mechanism and the electronics were, well, very dead). So I had to find the manual neutral override (underneath a panel on the left side of the driver’s footwell) and override the electronic shift mechanism. But once we got it on the flatbed the thing went HAYWIRE. The dash kept flashing on and off and the seat defaulted to the all the way back position.

"At that point it was on the flat bed so I just let it go.

"A few days later we heard back from the dealer and everything was fine! The problem was defective battery cells in the 12-volt battery. They swapped it for free under warranty and off we were. How. Odd." — Nick Yekikian, news editor

2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe: Performance

How does the Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe drive??

We're not convinced by the powertrain

"I wish I could say that I enjoyed the 4xe more on my road trip. I drove from the west side of LA to Las Vegas, a roughly four-hour trip. It didn't take long to realize that the powertrain tuning in this SUV is less than stellar.

"The transition from electric to gas power is clunkier than it should be, and worse off it's delayed. If you need quick power to get on the highway, for example, it takes a second or two for the engine to join in. Some PHEVs are intuitive in how they deliver power; however, the Jeep just didn't have the seamlessness that you want from such a powertrain.

"The battery ran out in 24 miles, which isn't stellar but is understandable for such a large vehicle. Over the course of the road trip, I managed 21.9 mpg combined over seven hours of total driving with two full charges included in that. Considering the price premium on the 4xe over the standard Grand Cherokee, I just don't see the value proposition. You would have to drive it exclusively in the city and charge it every day to see any decent return." — Clint Simone, senior editor

"I've heard around the office that the stop-and-go driving manners of this Grand Cherokee in hybrid mode are awkward. I won't dispute that. But there is good news once the car is in motion. I find its adaptive cruise control to be really good. Here's what I like:

"In most cases, the Jeep slows conservatively, so unless there is an abrupt traffic stop ahead of you, it keeps things smooth. I only allowed it to panic-like stop once (all the while hovering my foot above the brake pedal) and the car stopped just fine, even if it was expectedly dramatic. Still I'd much rather take control of the brakes myself when I see traffic patterns change quickly. So that is my routine.

"My experience was that the car accelerates at a similarly conservative but reasonable pace. That's even when there is a big gap between you and the car you're following. Here again, it's pretty smooth.

"One last thing worth mentioning is that the system on our car requires driver input once it comes to a complete stop. So you'll need to tap the gas pedal or press the cruise button to get it moving again.

"Toyota continues to be my personal favorite adaptive cruise setup. But the Jeep has a lot of good things going for it. I'd put it in the top 5 systems out there right now." — Mike Schmidt, senior manager, vehicle testing operations

2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe: Comfort

How comfortable is the Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe?

The Jeep offers a smooth ride in EV mode

"When driving in full EV mode, it's really quiet in here. Very nice. It also has a very smooth, comfortable ride in any mode. I'm digging this 4xe." — Rex Tokeshi-Torres, associate manager, vehicle testing operations and logistics

How is rear seat comfort?

"My rear passenger said that the rear seat wasn't comfortable for her because the seat was hard and not well cushioned. Said the F-150 Hybrid rear seat was more comfortable (on a trip to Wyoming).

"Wife says the seats feels pretty flat and broad — they're not bucket seats so she tends to move around in them more." — Rex Tokeshi-Torres, associate manager, vehicle testing operations and logistics

2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe: Technology

How's the technology in the Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xE?

Smartphone integration is hit-or-miss

"Apple CarPlay is brilliant when it works. A third of the way into the road trip to Oregon, Uconnect decides to stop working with CarPlay and downright refuses to connect to it. Android Auto is working just fine — which can also be problematic at times. Looks like it's working now. Happy to switch to whichever one works." — Rex Tokeshi-Torres, associate manager, vehicle testing operations and logistics

What do we think of the Jeep's driver aids?

"Safety technology is a great feature to have. However, when you get multiple false positives due to reverse automatic braking because of a trash can, then it becomes problematic. The thing was at least 2 feet away and to the left of the bumper. Yet there I was having trouble backing up because the brakes kept applying. Keep in mind that I have a backup camera so I can clearly see that no one was directly behind me. So I gave up and drove forward. Thankfully, the car in front drove off at the same time we were leaving." — Rex Tokeshi-Torres, associate manager, vehicle testing operations and logistics

"I'm thankful that I'm not one of those people who blindly trust tech and out of that caution, I tend to keep my foot hovering above the brake when I use adaptive cruise control.

"I set the following distance at two car lengths. After a long day on the Oregon coastline and stuck in rush-hour traffic, we were on our way back to our condo when some yahoo decided to rapidly merge into our lane and had to brake hard due to the building traffic in front of them. I took over to brake hard and stop before hitting them. The adaptive cruise didn't react quickly enough for my comfort and I'm not sure it would have avoided hitting the car in front if I didn't hit the brakes myself. Always be alert." — Rex Tokeshi-Torres, associate manager, vehicle testing operations and logistics

2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe: Interior

All our thoughts on the inside of the Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xE

How's the Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xE's interior?

"I'm an optimistic person by nature, and, for better or worse, that means I want to like a new car's cabin before I even step in. When Jeep unveiled the new Grand Cherokee, the photos showed an interior that appeared to be a huge step forward in terms of tech and materials quality. I was immediately taken by the revised design.

"Many months later, I signed out the long-term Grand Cherokee 4xe for the first time. Before I even got inside, I pulled the door handle and noted its flimsiness. Not a good sign. I steeled myself for disappointment.

"The Grand Cherokee's cabin photographs well, but once you start poking around, it all feels so ... cheap. There's hard textured plastic everywhere (some of these panels flex and move with the slightest provocation), the piano black trim feels like it was ripped out of a decade-old Mitsubishi, and even the leatherette and leather feel downmarket. The worst offender is the fake wood trim, which doesn't quite sink to the lows of our old long-term Yugo, but it's not far off.

"Simply put, this is not the interior of a $65,000 SUV." — Cameron Rogers, manager, news

2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe: Utility

What do we think of the Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xE's utility?

Reviews are mixed for the cupholders

"My passengers say the angled cupholders are both weird and can be a bit tight for thin 24-ounce Hydroflask water bottles. They prefer cupholders to be straight up/down. Personally, I didn’t find it to be an issue. The angle actually made it convenient for me to grab the top of my Smartwater." — Rex Tokeshi-Torres, associate manager, vehicle testing operations and logistics

2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe: Miscellaneous

All the stuff we couldn't fit anywhere else!

Early build-quality concerns

"Is the hood misaligned? It seems to be. The passenger side looks higher than the driver's side. I noticed it because we were driving on I-5 North and the hood was jiggling up and down on the passenger side. That's disappointing given the price. I expected more out of Jeep." — Rex Tokeshi-Torres, associate manager, vehicle testing operations and logistics

Check your headlights!

"When getting into the Grand Cherokee, I find that my knee sometimes brushes against the headlight knob and turns it on (see photo). This isn't really a complaint, just a friendly reminder to check your headlights." — Rex Tokeshi-Torres, associate manager, vehicle testing operations and logistics