CHATHAM, Mass. – I saw it but had trouble believing it: the instrument cluster of the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4xe indicated 35.7 miles per gallon during my week behind the wheel.
With more than 30 years of Grand Cherokee experience, including years of one being my daily driver, I would have been pleasantly surprised by anything above 20 mpg. But thanks to the plug-in-hybrid-electric (PHEV) powertrain, this latest, all-new fifth-generation of Grand Cherokee does everything expected of a premier sport-utility vehicle and gets exceptional fuel economy.
The 4xe Overland has a lot more than superb fuel efficiency going for it including a comprehensive suite of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), a full complement of technology and amenities, as well as traditional Jeep capability to conquer virtually any off-road motoring challenge.
Lots of power along with PHEV fuel economy and energy-efficient regen braking
What has 375 horsepower, 470 pounds-feet of torque, seats five in luxurious comfort, and can easily squeeze more than 35 miles out of each gallon of gasoline? The 4xe PHEV is both the most powerful and most fuel-efficient member of the entire fifth-generation Grand Cherokee lineup.
The heart of the system is a two-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine coupled with a high-voltage, liquid-cooled motor generator unit which spins the engine for “nearly seamless, fuel-saving, start-stop operation and torque,” according to Jeep.
A larger high-voltage motor generator is mounted in the transmission, replacing the torque converter. Two clutches manage power and torque from the e-motor and engine. A 400-volt, 17 kWh EV battery, packaged under the Grand Cherokee’s floor and protected by skid plates, provides the juice for the motors.
And all high-voltage electronics are sealed and waterproof. This Trail Rated Jeep 4xe is capable of water fording up to 24 inches.
Charging is through a port on the front, driver’s side of the SUV and through regenerative braking.
When the driver steps on the brake pedal, the powertrain control engages the maximum available regenerative braking, up to 0.25 g, from the electric motors to slow the vehicle, augmented with the Grand Cherokee’s traditional friction brakes. With 4×4 engaged, all four wheels feed torque for regenerative braking, maximizing the energy recovery. Electricity from regenerative braking is fed to the battery pack to maintain or increase the state of charge.
A driver-selectable Max Regen feature deploys a more assertive regenerative braking calibration when the vehicle sees zero throttle input from the driver (coasting). Max Regen can slow the Grand Cherokee 4xe faster than standard regenerative braking and generate more electricity for the battery pack.
The remainder of the powertrain features an eight-speed transmission, Jeep’s Quadra Trac II full-time 4×4 system with two-speed transfer case and 2.72 low-range gear ratio.
Power delivery is smooth and immediate, a characteristic of electric and hybrid setups. In addition, the powertrain can tow a trailer of up to 6,000 pounds.
The ADAS list is long
All Grand Cherokee models include a long list of ADAS including:
• Full-Speed Collision Warning with Active Braking and Pedestrian/Cyclist Detection
• Rear Cross Path detection
• Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go
• Active Lane Management
• LaneSense Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist
• Advanced Brake Assist
• Blind-spot Monitoring
• ParkView rear back-up camera
• ParkSense rear park assist sensors with stop
The Overland model with Advanced Protech Group III option package ($2,235) added:
- Active Driving Assist System
- Intersection Collision-Assist System
- Night Vision with pedestrian and animal detection
- Integrated off-road camera
- 360º camera
- Parallel and perpendicular park assist
- Traffic-sign recognition
- Head-up display
An interior filled with luxury, technology and amenities
Jeeps have earned their reputation for rugged, go-anywhere capability from their initial days providing transportation for America’s GIs in World War II. This capability continues in the 2022 Grand Cherokee Overland 4xe, but comes with a luxurious, techno-filled interior which would shock any soldier from that era.
The redesigned dash features slim HVAC vents amongst – in the fully equipped Overland I drove – and three screens: a 10.1-inch digital cluster; a 10.1-inch center-stack infotainment/vehicle management display, and a 10.25-inch front-passenger interactive display (a $1,095 option).
The Luxury Tech Group IV ($2,155) means this vehicle came with Nappa leather seats; rear-view auto-dimming digital display mirror; wireless charging pad; 12-way power adjustable front seats with massager; four-zone automatic climate control and manual second-row window shades.
Jeep’s Uconnect 5 infotainment system with navigation features wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto along with Bluetooth streaming audio, AM/FM/satellite radio and 950-Watts of sound pumped through 19 speakers by the McIntosh High-Performance Audio system.
A SUV package unlike most others
The Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe Overland conquers one of the main criticisms sport-utility vehicles have garnered during their growing conquering of the American market: poor fuel economy. This jeep topped 35 miles per gallon, with its driving range never dropping below 405 miles, during my time in the driver’s seat.
In addition, the customizable instrument cluster reported the 4xe covered about 40 percent of the miles under electric power, a key to the great mileage figure.
This is a powerful, comfortable and efficient machine, equal in to many luxury vehicles on the road today. And at $75,305 (base price of $65,760; options and $1,795 destination charge created the final number), actually a very strong value proposition within the luxury, premium SUV category.