New Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe 2023 review
The tech-laden Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe sets its sights on premium competition in Europe
Despite being the best version yet, this new Jeep Grand Cherokee can’t compete with the German establishment when it comes to luxury, refinement or dynamics. Nor is it as efficient as the latest BMW X5 xDrive50e – and for both company car drivers and private buyers alike, that stuff matters. At this price, we expected more.
Public perception is an interesting thing. Here in Europe, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is viewed as something of an also-ran. It’s priced on par with premium rivals such as the BMW X5 and Audi Q7, yet rarely considered in the same sentence.
But in the States, the big Jeep outsells its German competitors several times over. It’s an important global car for the brand – just one that has never won favour over here.
In a bid to rectify that, Jeep has raised its game. As well as featuring a more luxurious interior and more tech, the new model keeps the old car’s prodigious off-road ability, and adds a hybrid option. This will be the only powertrain available in the UK – complying with Jeep’s push for low-emission vehicles – and we’re testing it here in top-spec trim.
Inside, fit and finish take a jump in the right direction – providing you avoid the rough-and-ready Trailhawk version. We tried this model first, and came away less than impressed by the swathes of scratchy plastic. After less than 2,000 miles, some of the trim around the gear selector looked scuffed – the ambience was not that of a £60k-plus, Mercedes-challenging family SUV. The tinny sound that reverberated around the cabin when we closed the door left a little to be desired, too.
Summit Reserve versions wrap a number of the offending areas in leather, as well as adding wood trim to the dashboard. These cars feel more upmarket, but the Jeep still doesn’t have the general ambience of an X5 or – at this price – a Range Rover Sport.
Car group tests
- New Jeep Grand Cherokee 2022 review
- New Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk 2019 review
- Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit 2017 review
- Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk review
- Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT review
Used car tests
All Grand Cherokees come with a 10-inch display, plus a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster. In addition, the flagship cars get a Porsche-style screen on the passenger side, allowing access for those riding shotgun to things like the media and nav menus. They can even listen to something completely separate via a set of wireless headphones.
Yet it feels like the answer to a question no-one asked – most will use a tablet for entertainment and leave turn-by-turn mapping to the driver. The technology itself isn’t to be sniffed at, though. Jeep’s system is responsive and the graphics are sharp. Plus it’s pleasing to see separate controls for the volume and air-conditioning.
But while 31 miles of electric running might have been competitive five years ago, that X5 (in updated xDrive50e guise) will officially do more than double (67 miles) without using a drop of fuel. Jeep claims almost 100mpg, but that will be tricky to achieve, given the restricted EV range.
Take things easy and the Grand Cherokee is perfectly pleasant to drive – particularly with a full battery. Things come undone slightly when the charge runs low or you floor the throttle without warning, when the Jeep can struggle to juggle its two power sources. Jerky at times, the four-cylinder engine has to work hard to haul the SUV’s bulk and feels strained under full throttle. The BMW’s smoother six-cylinder is the winner here.
The Summit Reserve is considerably quieter than the Trailhawk – mostly thanks to its road-biased tyres. There’s a bit of wind noise, but you’d be happy enough driving one from London to Liverpool, for example.
But while the soft air-controlled ride is perfectly at home on the motorway, it’s not quite as adept being thrown through a series of bends. The steering is heavy but short of feel, while the seats lack support, so you never feel that connected with the car. Of course, while the Jeep can’t compete with the BMW, Audi or Range Rover on road, it attempts to show them a clean pair of heels off it. Jeep CEO Christian Meunier tells us “4xe is the new 4x4” and apparently this new Grand Cherokee has tackled the whole Rubicon Trail in California in EV mode. If such things matter, no premium SUV comes close.
It should be a practical family car, too. It’s bigger inside than the old one, with more kneeroom and greater shoulder clearance. The boot is a decent size, and 17 per cent larger than the previous Grand Cherokee’s. That said, at 580 litres, rivals like the Q7 are bigger, and offer the option of seven seats.
Four specs are available: Limited cars cost a whisker under £70,000 – £5k more than the cheapest Audi – but get the dual-screen infotainment, “premium wrapped” seats and four-zone climate control. Trailhawk is geared towards off-roading, so we’d avoid it. Overland (from £75,915) ups the kit count, while for £10k more Summit Reserve throws in 21-inch wheels, leather seats, a 19-speaker stereo and that extra screen.
|Model:||Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Reserve 4xe|
|Engine:||2.0-litre 4cyl turbo petrol, 1x e-motor|
|Transmission:||Eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive|
|Electric range:||31 miles|