Being outdoorsy is all about loving the environment, right? Leave things the way you found them. If you pack it in you pack it out. Don’t hike off the trail. Preserve nature. So then it makes perfect sense that your off-roading-oriented SUV would be environmentally friendly as well, and it doesn’t hurt that the new Grand Cherokee 4xe is not only the most efficient version of the model, but also the most powerful.
Using the same 2-liter turbo inline-four engine and hybrid electric drive system as the Wrangler 4xe, you get 375-horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque combined, which is a good bit more than the GC’s optional Hemi V8 offers. Considering the Grand Cherokee is also more aerodynamically efficient than the Wrangler, its electric range is also a bit higher at 25 miles instead of the hardcore off-roader’s 21.
As with the three-row Grand Cherokee L, the two row Grand Cherokee gets a pretty great looking interior. Jeep is really stepping up their interior game these days. Gone are the days of stamped steel dashboards like my grandfather’s CJ-5. If I wasn’t so averse to the Grand Cherokee name still existing in 2021, I might consider one of these as a daily commuter. 25 miles of electric range and 470 lb-ft of torque is an interesting proposition. It doesn’t look too bad, either. Oh boy, I must be getting old because my eyes just interpreted an SUV as being sort of pretty.
As with the Wrangler 4xe, the GC4xe gets three different battery modes: eSave, Hybrid, and Electric. Obviously electric is full EV, running in electric only until the battery is empty before kicking in the gas engine. Hybrid mode operates in a way that decides what is best for your optimized fuel economy, like any other traditional hybrid. In eSave you can run the engine and save battery juice for city driving where it is more efficient, or for off roading if you want to keep your adventures into the wilderness on the quiet side.
Speaking of off-roading, Jeep says the 4xe can ford 24 inches of water, even with a high voltage battery pack slung under the car. And if you opt for the Trailhawk model, you’ll also get an electronic sway bar disconnect and an electronic limited slip differential, which is pretty dang neat.
Interestingly the GC4xe will tow up to 6,000 pounds, which is plenty for most American families, even those with boats and race cars.
4xe is available in Limited, Trailhawk, Overland, Summit, and Summit Reserve trims. Obviously all of these models are forced into 4WD, but the gasoline-only Grand Cherokee models are available in 2WD. The base model Grand Cherokee Laredo will start at $37,390 with a V6 and limited spec, while the top-of-the-lineup Summit Reserve models start at $63,365 with McIntosh audio and 21-inch wheels.
4xe pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but the hybrid package adds almost $12,000 to the price of a similar-spec Wrangler, so expect a decent bump to the GC price to drive EV. With appropriate tax incentives and fuel savings, the price difference shouldn’t take much time at all to disappear, however.