New 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee makes European debut with plug-in power

The flagship Grand Cherokee SUV arrives in Europe with plug-in hybrid power only as Jeep looks towards an all-electrified engine line-up in 2022

In a bid to boost its environmental credentials Jeep will only offer its new Grand Cherokee SUV with its 4xe plug-in hybrid powertrain in Europe, signifying the brand’s next steps when it comes to electrification.

Making its European debut, the firm’s flagship SUV this side of the Atlantic will start a move towards electrified-only powertrains as parts of its European range as the American brand will drop its pure-petrol and diesel engines by the end of the year, according to CEO Christian Meunier. However, a seven-seat three-row Grand Cherokee won’t be offered here.

Meunier told Auto Express that “In most European markets with the exception of Italy we’ll have a 100 per cent electrified range - every Jeep will either be MHEV or 4xe. We will drop the ICE. We will drop the regular gas [petrol] and the diesel - and that’s going to happen in the course of this year. That’s a pretty bold statement and an acceleration of our electrification towards our vision of zero-emission freedom.”

“And by 2025 we will have a zero-emission BEV Jeep in every global SUV segment. This is a big opportunity for Jeep, we believe.”

The brand’s fifth-generation Grand Cherokee is based on an all-new architecture and features a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine driving an eight-speed automatic gearbox, while a 17.3kWh battery feeds a pair of electric motors (one a motor/generator, the other a drive motor in the gearbox), helping the hybrid Grand Cherokee retain the model’s legendary off-road capability.

The petrol and electric motors produce a combined total of 375bhp and 637Nm of torque, while Jeep claims a zero-emissions range of 31 miles “in urban areas”. The 4xe actually completed the famous off-road Rubicon trail on electric power only; the brand hasn’t yet revealed any performance or fuel-efficiency info, however.

As confirmed for the US-market car, the 4xe powertrain features three different E Selec drive modes: Hybrid, Electric and eSave. In Hybrid mode both power sources drive the wheels, with the car optimising battery and petrol power to best balance fuel economy and performance. Electric prioritises EV-only running, with the petrol engine only cutting in when battery charge is depleted or the driver asks for full-throttle acceleration.

Finally, eSave will retain battery charge for use at a later point, for example in a built-up area with air-quality restrictions. Users can also choose a Battery Charge setting within eSave mode that sees the petrol engine actively charge the battery on the move. Regenerative braking also features, incorporating a Max Regen setting to further boost efficiency and all-electric running.

Due to the 4xe model’s battery pack, the Grand Cherokee features extra underbody protection in this area in the form of 3.5mm steel skid plates. These will help avoid rupturing the cells in the event of a knock during off-road driving. 

Jeep’s Quadra-Drive II 4x4 system, with a two-speed transfer case and a low-range gear ratio mode is offered, while there’s also an electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential. The off-road focused Trailhawk trim level will feature this tech, while the less sophisticated Quadra-Trac system will feature on lower-spec models.

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All Grand Cherokees get selectable driving modes tailored for different terrains, including Auto, Sport, Rock, Snow and Mud/Sand, while Jeep’s Selec-Speed Control hill ascent/descent function is included too.

Standard-fit Quadra-lift air suspension allows up to 277mm of ground clearance, while the Grand Cherokee 4xe can wade through water up to 610mm deep in the suspension’s highest Off Road 2 setting - 100mm more than its predecessor. There’s also an easy entry/exit function that will reduce the car’s ride height to make it easier to climb in and out of, as well as load up.

The Grand Cherokee offers 567 litres of load space, 72 litres more than the previous model, while a new interior architecture gives a more upmarket appearance, Jeep claims. The horizontal elements on the dash include contrasting wood and leather trim, while metal finishers and LED ambient lighting - plus double diamond-stitched quilted leather on top-spec models - complete the redesign.

The new dash layout houses Jeep’s new UConnect 5 infotainment system as the Grand Cherokee comes loaded with more technology than ever. This includes no less than four 10-inch displays, according to Jeep.

A digital instrument panel is joined by a central screen running the new infotainment set-up, including wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, over-the-air map updates, a 4G hotspot for up to eight devices and Amazon Alexa integration. There’s also an interactive passenger display and a digital rear-view mirror.

There’s more storage space, including a bin for two smartphones and a wireless charging pad, while the brand is claiming a boost in quality and comfort too, thanks to a new seat design. Heating, cooling and massage functions will be available.

Safety kit is also improved, with collision warning including pedestrian and cyclist detection, plus autonomous braking. Rear cross-path detection, adaptive cruise, active lane management, lane-departure warning and lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, a rear-view camera with parking sensors and tyre pressure monitoring are also offered.

Alongside the interior redesign, Jeep has also overhauled the 2022 Grand Cherokee’s exterior look, with a more sculpted, sportier look, retaining its trademark seven-bar grille layout. 

This new design does have functional benefits too, with the car’s lower, more tapered roof helping improve its aerodynamic performance and therefore efficiency, while there’s also a lowered belt line that gives more glass area and lets more light into the cabin.

UK Grand Cherokee models feature blue accents for the badging reflecting the 4xe plug-in powertrain, including on the charging flap mounted on the car’s front wing. Blue tow hooks also feature to further differentiate the plug-in hybrid.

The Grand Cherokee is on pre-sale between 24 February and 31 March, with the fully kitted out Summit Reserve trim level the only model to be offered initially. The Grand Cherokee’s first 20 customers will benefit from an exclusive experience with the car. Deliveries begin in summer.

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Sean’s been writing about cars since 2010, having worked for outlets as diverse as PistonHeads, MSN Cars, Which? Cars, Race Tech – a specialist motorsport publication – and most recently Auto Express and sister titles Carbuyer and DrivingElectric

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