If they change an icon, you’ll notice it immediately. The image permanently ingrained in your mind is being changed, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Because of this, companies don’t change the icons much. If they do, it’s usually little things or things that you can’t see under the skin. “ALL THINGS NEW!” they shout, causing those of us who adore the icon to feel a pang of panic, only to breathe a sigh of relief to see that the icon still looks as it always was, as it always will be . When Jeep changed the Grand Cherokee, we caught our breath together and hoped for the best.
Yes, looks a little different. The front grille is a bit more vertical and formal. The whole front end looks…Cleanser. smoother. The rear of the car has a removable hard-top optic. To be honest we like it. There’s a touch of Land Rover style language in the design, probably not accidentally. Jeep has always sought a little more respect from its upper-class clientele while keeping its muddy work boots on. Nothing wrong with that. Best of both worlds. But what’s with the blue tow hooks? And the blue panel on the hood? What is written there? “4xe”. hmmmm
It is an electric
I’m not sure about that. Jeep stands for off-road. HARDCORE off-roading in a class of its own.
electric. Someone is playing with the symbol.
Take a deep breath. Let’s give him a chance. Fiat-Chrysler has surprised us before.
2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk 4xe
Inside there is a new interior. Not radically different, but definitely new. It looks luxurious. And smart. Both types of Smart. Intelligently designed and packed with smart electronics capable of outperforming most home computers. The T-handle shifter is long gone. A rotary knob now tells the 8-speed automatic transmission what to do. A selection of switches and knobs allow you to tailor the 4WD system to the terrain you will be tackling. It’s good. There’s a swaybar disconnect button to automatically disconnect the bar for more travel when the trails get hairy. That’s reassuring. ride height adjustment lever. Good. So far it still seems pretty hardcore. The rear seats are roomy and comfortable, and there’s plenty of storage space on the way back. Overall it’s a very comfortable interior. Not quite Grand Wagoneer nice, but you don’t carry the Grand Wagoneer’s payments either.
On the left side of the steering wheel is another row of buttons. “Hybrid mode – Electric mode – E-Save mode.” Ahhhh, okay. It is therefore an electric hybrid with the option of driving as a fully electric or full-throttle engine (e-save). This is not as radical as we feared.
The gas engine is a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 375 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. Which is impressive for a 2.0 liter engine. I’ll get straight to the point and tell you that you’ll miss the sound of the V8, but the rush and power are still there. You just have to be prepared for a little noise and a little more vibration. That’s doable.
In hybrid and electric modes, the electric motors do what they’re supposed to do quietly, seamlessly and effortlessly, although the gas engine doesn’t seem to charge the waterproof battery when it’s running like many hybrids do. Maybe I just didn’t ride it enough – it was used in my hands as a commuter, sadly nothing more. Although we tried every mode, for the most part we left it in Hybrid and let the G-Cherokee do its thing.
And overall we liked it, although we had to get used to a few things. For example, when we started it in hybrid mode, all the electronics came to life without the engine having to fire. Normal enough. But then we heard liquid rushing behind the dashboard. It took us a while to realize that the Grand Cherokee needs to heat and circulate coolant to provide warmth to the interior, rather than using electric heaters. We weren’t that scared when we found that out, but it’s a sound that seems utterly out of place in an EV at this price point. Switching the powertrain from electric to gas wasn’t the smoothest of experiences either. The transition felt rough and somewhat disconcerting.
But maybe we’re too hard, too picky. What else have we driven recently in this price range with this type of drive? Most recently we drove a Volvo XC-60 Hybrid. It was in the same price range, with a similar hybrid powertrain. The XC-60 felt much more refined all around and also felt more appealing to drive than the relatively numb Grand Cherokee. Of course on paved roads. If I had to traverse backcountry trails out west or traverse Michigan’s upper peninsula via ORV trails, I’d feel better prepared and in better, more competent hands in the Jeep. I think it depends what your priority is.
While ours was a 2022 – we were probably one of the last to see this fleet car – there aren’t many changes between 2022 and 2023. The base price was $62,485. As tested, our car cost $71,790. It had a lot of options including the “Advanced ProTech Group II” which includes “Night Vision”. It’s a thermal imaging type and does an excellent job of helping you see in the inky darkness of the night. Deer, possums and people all stand out in brilliant contrast to the background. Just like brake discs, tires and exhaust pipes in cars. The camera is built into the grille and the display is located in the instrument cluster between the speedometer and tachometer.
Overall we liked and were pleased with the Jeep Grand Cherokee. We wish it was a little more engaging to drive, but it’s extremely capable in the sport and utility areas. It can go almost anywhere and do almost anything, including hauling huge loads while you can sit comfortably and watch the miles chew up through the large panoramic windshield. It does what you ask for, stylishly and fairly competently, without asking much in return. And that’s the essence of the Jeep Grand Cherokee.