From autumn 2022, the fifth generation of the Jeep Grand Cherokee will come with comfort, off-road talent and plenty of assistance as well as - ohmygod! – Four-cylinder hybrid to us. V8? Is not. Will the Sevenslot fan club still get involved?
Smashing prejudices is sometimes harder than atoms, claims Albert Einstein. That's right, the Jeep Grand Cherokee would say if it could. One who had to rattle up the steps of Cobo Hall in Detroit with his boss for the premiere in 1992 and break through a glass door. Breakthrough of the SUV and all that, you know... Exactly. That would be, shall we say, difficult today. Where even early Schimanski crime scenes are given a lead that warns against politically incorrect dialogue. For most of them, these were the reason for watching it at all.
It could be something similar with the Jeep Grand Cherokee. For 30 years it has been cultivating the image of the SUV that is as comfortable as it is off-road. No SUV, no crossover. SUV. And pure. Cozy, spacious, with at least six, preferably eight, cylinders behind the seven-slot grill.
Hybrid only. Nothing V8
Of course it was also available with efficient diesel or six and eight cylinders up to the six point something V8, but something casual really needs to be under the hood. High in calories, with plenty of torque without great rpm, comparable to a official menu at Five Guys, where nobody even asks for the nutritional label. well And now they are planting a two-liter four-cylinder in the new plant in Detroit, coupled with a belt starter generator and electric motor plus eight-speed automatic transmission. There are also six and eight cylinders. But not for us in Germany. "Hybrid only" applies to us. Jeep is on the way to total electrification in Europe. "We're not here to play, we're here to win," said one at the presentation. The data sheet speaks nothing against it, shows 380 hp - 272 from the petrol engine, 145 from the electric motor.
Data. Pfft. We'd better take a look at it ourselves, better: drive it out. In a homely ambience: long gone are the days of crumpled leather upholstery and laminated wood wallpaper. At Jeep, 2022 means a high-quality look, optional walnut or oak veneers, some open-pored and Palermo leather. Palermo leather? Allusion to the Italo time at FCA? Regardless, now is Stellantis and time to clear away US clichés. The interior of the Grand Cherokee looks downright European with its three ten-inch digital displays, including a separate one for the passenger plus head-up. It can also do the right ergonomics and fine leather upholstery with double quilting, extensive adjustment, air conditioning and massage.
Up to 130 km/h purely electric
Before we get stuck with four-zone air conditioning at the sound check of the McIntosh system, we cast off. First purely electric. Up to 130 km/h would be possible, we could hum around 40 kilometers locally emission-free.The underfloor mounted 17.3 kWh battery makes it possible. It is tempered by the air conditioning circuit and has a dual charging module with a flap at the front left. Yes, and off-road? No problem, all high-voltage parts are sealed watertight and protected against abrasions by massive underbody protection. In addition, Jeep promises departure angles of 36 degrees at the front and 30 degrees at the rear, as well as a wading depth of 61 centimetres.
But now it's not wading, but driving, hybrid. The two-liter direct injection engine with the twin scroll turbo mounted directly on the cylinder head gets its chance. And with it the maximum 637 Newton meters of torque. If the Grand Cherokee 4xe doesn't sound buffalo, does it at least push buffalo? Well, this isn't going to be a grease-soaked burger menu with fries and extra ketchup on the paper, it feels more like a half-serving on a china plate. You still get the calories (a.k.a. propulsion), just in a different way. Cooler, drier. As soon as the e-machine logs off because the battery is empty or the power is exhausted and the petrol engine is under more pressure, things tend to get hectic. Sometimes jerky during quick gear changes of the eight-speed automatic and noisy in the engine room at the latest at high loads, despite active engine mounts and noise canceling.
With a gentler driving style or purely electric driving, the 4xe should find its fans. Recuperation runs with the brake pedal with up to 0.25 g or "Max Regen". Which does not stand for an irrigation professional, but for single-pedal driving. Speaking of pedals: the feel of the brake pedal could do with a little more transparency, but you can get used to it, as can the steering, which initially remains in the middle position before it then comes out willingly, at least with the right hand torque.
Ground clearance and underride protection
In addition, the Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe consistently ignores small bumps despite air suspension with adaptive dampers. Rolling and bouncing is wooden, it gets better with larger excitations. To compensate, the air suspension is also part of the - yippieyeah - high terrain competence, which is not exhausted by 28 centimeters of ground clearance. Anyone who completes the Rubicon Trail (as a 4x purely electric, of course) must have more than colored towing eyes and steel underride protection on the 4.91 meter box.
That's why as an off-road pro Trailhawk, Jeep gives him the Quadra-Drive II four-wheel drive with reduction gear, electronically controlled rear limited-slip differential, off-road traction and speed control in addition to the detachable stabilizer. And blue grommets. So that you don't need them, the whole off-road magic can be easily conditioned using the Selec Terrain system.Which is easier to get than all the secrets of the UConnect infotainment system (five times faster than its predecessor, over-the-air updateable) or the (110 counted by Jeep) assistance and safety features. In any case, on the test site in the Texas backcountry, the Trailhawk climbs over rocks on which you can stumble on foot, without the driver having to worry about the use of locks, anti-roll bars and power distribution front, rear, left and right. Taking merits is enough.
Assistance and the blue hour
In real life he then butlers with collision warning and brake assistant including pedestrian detection, cross traffic warning, ACC with stop-to-go, night vision, 360 degree camera image, parking assistant lengthwise and crosswise as well as driver assistance on level 2. Ah so, we stopped at the McIntosh earlier. With its 950 watts and 19 drivers including a fat subwoofer, it not only makes powerful dynamic music, but also shows blue-lit power meters on the center display. With pointer needles. Looks real. And thus clearly more exciting than the two-liter hybrid in the full-size SUV. You have to get used to that. At prices around 70,000 euros.
The new Jeep Grand Cherokee delivers a high-quality impression, simple operation with comprehensive assistance and a high level of comfort, right down to the woody rolling. Its off-road competence is impressive, as is its purely electric driving. However, if the petrol engine is required, sovereignty dwindles. Grand Cherokee fans who value a full-fat drivetrain should test-ride before they buy.