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Sunday Drive: 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee gets an electric upgrade

By Craig and Deanne Conover - Daily Herald | Aug 20, 2022
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The all-new 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk 4xe.
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The all-new 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk, left, and Trailhawk 4xe.
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The all-new 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk 4xe.
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The all-new 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk 4xe.
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The all-new 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk 4xe.

The Grand Cherokee in the Jeep line has become quite a luxurious family hauler, a change over the years from what many were using as a pure trail machine for the likes of the Moab off-roading trails.

Don’t get us wrong; the new Grand Cherokee can still conquer many of the obstacles in Moab, especially with its new Trailhawk trim that is designed for getting off-road. However, with the new fifth generation, the manufacturer has decided to offer a plug-in hybrid version of the Cherokee aptly named the 4xe. After charging all night in a standard outlet, we were awarded with 25 miles of all-electric range.

This may not seem like much, but imagine going off-roading for the day and doing it all on silent electric power. We have found that with these plug-in hybrids, it is kind of eerie going off road with no noise except for the wheels on the gravel. There would be even less noise while navigating Moab’s slick rock.

Before receiving the 4xe, we made the conscious decision to plug in the Jeep every night, make sure it was fully charged for the next day, and do a normal week of driving to see if only 25 miles could really help with the fuel bill. With petrol at the time costing more than $5 per gallon, we expected every little bit would help, no matter how we got the extra boost.

During our week out with the new Grand Cherokee, we did mostly everyday driving around Utah Valley. Craig made a single trip to Ogden, and we also got in a longer Sunday drive. For this outing, we headed up Spanish Fork Canyon and over Sheep Creek to Strawberry Reservoir, ending up in Heber.

While trying to get out of Heber, we came upon heavy traffic at the turn to Midway, so we took the long way home up over the mountain to Cascade Springs and down through Sundance. We were able to regenerate over 10 miles of pure electric power coming down the different canyons along our route.

After the week’s driving, we had gone a combined 587.3 miles, 323.4 of those on pure gasoline and 263.9 using electric power that came either from our home’s electricity or regeneration through hills and braking. This gave us a very nice average of 25.9 miles per gallon of fuel. At the end of the week, we had only added about one quarter tank of fuel to the mix.

During our last test drive in a Grand Cherokee, we got 20.5 miles per gallon average, so adding the electric power did help substantially this time around. The 4xe also comes with a new 2.0-liter, I-4 turbocharged engine. As small as that sounds, it gets big numbers at 375 horsepower and 470 foot-pounds of torque with the electric assist.

In our area, it would cost around $1.40 to $1.75 to charge the Jeep at home overnight, making those 25 miles in the range of 6 cents a mile. With regular gas at $5.25 a gallon, a 20-mpg vehicle would be more in the range of 26 cents per mile.

Electricity aside, the new Overland version of the Cherokee we had for a week was beautiful inside and had all the bells and whistles that we could have imagined, yet there are still two trim levels with even more to offer: the Summit and Summit Reserve.

New this year on the redesigned Grand Cherokee is what Jeep is calling a front passenger interactive display. This puts a 10.25-inch touch screen in front of the passenger up front. This allows the navigator to find places to go and send them to the main navigation screen or give the rear seat occupants access to Fire TV streaming content.

We thought this was a great idea as it was out of view from the driver (keeping his or her attention on the road) and allowed the passenger to take care of navigation changes and keeping the kids entertained. There was also a port that allowed HDMI content to stream onto that screen.

The driver’s cluster was a 10.1-inch LED display that we were glad to see Jeep had altered to allow multiple configurations, including putting the navigation in the center of the instrument cluster.

Front and center is a new 10.1-inch high-definition touch screen that becomes the control center for the Jeep Grand Cherokee, taking over sound, navigation and HVAC controls.

Our ride was also equipped with the Advanced Protech Group III ($2,235) that included a huge 10-inch, full-color heads-up display — quite an addition to the Jeep line.

Safety is also huge on the new Jeep with adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist (one of the best we have experienced from the manufacturer), intersection collision avoidance, night vision with pedestrian and animal detection, blind spot monitoring and rear cross path detection when backing up.

And, as if there were not enough screens in the new Grand Cherokee, the rearview mirror can also be switched to a high-definition LED screen!

The Jeep ended up being one of the most comfortable SUVs we have had this year, with over-the-top comforts at every turn.

Base price: $65,760

Destination charge: $1,095

Price as driven: $75,305


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