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First drive: Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe. Image by Jeep.

First drive: Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe
Jeep has another crack at the Grand Cherokee, here tested in plug-in hybrid format.


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Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5

SUV and 4x4 specialist Jeep seems, weirdly enough, to struggle when it comes to garnering credibility with its larger products in recent years. Aside from the majestic Wrangler, an off-road-dedicated rough-and-tumble masterpiece, the company is currently pinning all its sales hopes on its smaller crossovers such as the Avenger, the Renegade and the Compass.

But that has meant that the Grand Cherokee has been shoved on the backburner, to a degree, as the last one we drove seven years ago was a 6.4-litre irrelevance even then (mighty fun, though), while the long-serving Cherokee model it is based upon is no longer even sold following its hugely disappointing last outing in the UK. However, Jeep is planning to bring the Wagoneer seven-seater and the chunky Recon electric vehicle (EV) to the UK in the coming year or so, and the Grand Cherokee has now returned for its fifth generation as a plug-in hybrid. We've tried it on road and off to see how it stacks up - and to try and ascertain whether Jeep has got the hang of its larger models now.

Test Car Specifications

Model: 2024 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe Summit Reserve
Price: Grand Cherokee 4xe from £69,915, Summit Reserve from £85,615
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol plus 107kW e-motor with 17.3kWh lithium-ion battery pack
Transmission: eight-speed automatic, Quadra-Trac II four-wheel drive with electronic rear limited-slip differential
Power: petrol 272hp at 5,250rpm, e-motor 145hp, system max 381hp at 5,250rpm
Torque: petrol 400Nm at 3,000rpm, e-motor 245Nm, system max 637Nm at 3,000rpm
Emissions: 60g/km
Economy: 108.6mpg
Electric range: 31 miles
0-62mph: 6.3 seconds
Top speed: 130mph (hybrid, 83mph electric mode)
Boot space: 580-2,005 litres


Sort of quietly handsome and yet verging on the anonymous, the fifth-gen 'WL' Grand Cherokee is one of those designs that possibly needs some careful, considered appreciation to fully acclimatise to. Whether it's an explicitly American piece of design is a point of contention, although some would say that if it were then it would be a problem. Anyway, there are Jeep signifiers here, with sleek headlights, the brand's seven-bar radiator grille and squared-off wheel arches - although the latter only serves to kind of make even the giant 21-inch Y-spoke alloys on the range-topping Summit Reserve seem, well... not giant. It's probably the rear which is the most puzzling aspect, because if you were to pry the Jeep badges off it and slap on pretty much any other from within the wider Stellantis group, it wouldn't particularly jar with you; it could be a Citroen or a Fiat as much as it is a Jeep. Anyway, overall it's a fine enough piece of design and the two-tone roof on this flagship model is another pleasing flourish, so we broadly approve of the Grand Cherokee's looks.


If the exterior of the Grand Cherokee needs some deliberation to accept, the interior is sure to be even more divisive. You're probably expecting us to say it's sub-par inside, with plastics and materials several years out of lockstep with prevailing European cabin standards. But it's not. What it is, in fact, is an exercise in American chintz; the type of décor that might grace a US golf course's clubhouse or the foyer of an upmarket hotel in a more remote state's capital city. It's sort of arresting in its own way, but despite the fact it's all very well put together and doesn't really have any cheap-feeling areas, it almost looks that way at times.

The light-coloured open-pore wood trim of our test car, for example, is real wood; walnut, to be precise. Run your fingers over it and you'll know it's not 'fake'. Yet if you rap your knuckles on the panels of it on the dash and door cards, the fit sounds cheap and plasticky, which is baffling. We're also not convinced it needed to be splashed on the spokes of the rather large steering wheel, either. And then there's the 19-speaker McIntosh premium sound system. It's good, but - and this is not exactly Jeep's fault, we'll grant you, although it chose to partner up with this company - the font of McIntosh's logo is so gothic it looks like the main graphic on a death metal band's album. So when your eye catches this jagged font, either on the speakers mounted outboard on the top of the dash or in the doors, where 'McIntosh' is rendered in mauve, it stands out amongst all the olde-worlde opulence like a sore thumb.

But once you've got over the slightly unusual juxtaposition of some of the materials inside, you'll soon realise it's a generally quality place to be. The seats, in particular, deserve praise for being soft and pillowy, without sacrificing the support necessary for driving, and they're covered in upmarket Palermo leather too. Although there's a profusion of physical switchgear, in itself odd in age when everyone else is going as touchscreen as possible, all of it works well and operates with a satisfying solidity. Also, proper climate controls and switchgear, kudos.

For those who do want the tech, the Jeep does have a touchscreen for its Uconnect 5 infotainment, a 10.1-inch item mounted in that eye-catching centre stack of controls. But it also has a 10.25-inch driver's cluster, a 10.25-inch head-up display and, in what it claims is a first for this sector (although Porsche might have something to say about that with its updated Cayenne), a 10.25-inch display for the front-seat passenger too. So the equipment onboard the Grand Cherokee feels suitably 21st-century.


Space is not something this Jeep lacks inside, because it's a big old beast on the outside - more than 4.9 metres long, comfortably in excess of two metres wide and blessed with a nigh-on three-metre wheelbase. This means rear-seat passengers have plenty of lounging room in the Grand Cherokee, while there's a good amount of in-cabin stowage solutions. However, while a 580-litre boot looks decent on the face of it, in SUVs this size it's not that massive. Presumably, the plug-in gear of the 4xe drivetrain limits its outright capacity, while also precluding the ability to fit the Grand Cherokee with seven seats onboard. It's therefore perhaps not the epitome of packaging efficiency in something so physically large, then.


The plug-in hybrid 4xe - pronounced 'four-by-E', remember - is the only powertrain available for the Jeep Grand Cherokee in the UK at present, and in this specification it is formed of the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol as used in the Wrangler, so 272hp and 400Nm, only here it is augmented by a 145hp electric motor and a rather small (by today's PHEV standards) 17.3kWh (gross) battery pack. This leads to a set of published eco-stats that, while admittedly a lot better than a turbodiesel SUV could ever hope to turn in, are nevertheless slightly off the pace by the standards of other luxury PHEVs that the Grand Cherokee is up against: specifically, 60g/km of CO2, 108.6mpg and 31 miles of all-electric range.

It's not a bad drivetrain, though, and before you start saying luxury SUVs should have more than four cylinders, be aware that Volvo's XC90 T8 flagship has been pulling much the same stunt since 2015 and it hasn't seemed to hurt the Swede's chances. The Jeep's 2.0-litre engine is fairly strong in the Wrangler 4x4 with 272hp on its own, so with a combined 381hp performance for this vehicle it is absolutely fine - a 6.3-second 0-62mph time feels believable, although it also hints at how that horsepower and a substantial 637Nm of torque is having to shift a lot of mass. In this trim, the Grand Cherokee weighs a colossal 2,503kg. Oof.

Nevertheless, the engine is better isolated acoustically in the Grand Cherokee than it is in the Wrangler, so along with the smooth-shifting and innocuous eight-speed transmission, the way the Jeep performs is perfectly admirable. It might not turn out to be so good on fuel, though, as we saw around 30mpg from it with a depleted battery, so it's going to be crucial that owners regularly top up its power pack to get the best economy returns. On which note, if you can replenish the 4xe at its maximum 7.2kW rate on a home wallbox, then it should at least only take a couple of hours to get it back to 100 per cent state-of-charge.

Ride & Handling

All models apart from the basic Limited spec have four-corners Quadra-Lift air suspension as standard and this provides the Grand Cherokee with a notably impressive ride quality on tarmac. Even the models on the bigger wheels, ranging up to 21 inches in diameter, float serenely over most road surfaces, with only the occasional big imperfection transmitting a sharp-edged feel into the passenger compartment. It's a quiet thing to travel in, too, giving the impression of being stuffed to the gunwales with sound-deadening and also fitted with Active Noise Control tech to negate road roar.

The Grand Cherokee handles pretty cleanly as well, with not too much in the way of body movements in extremis and commendable levels of grip, although the steering is a bit woolly so as the driver, you don't exactly become massively involved with hustling the Jeep along. However, it drives perfectly well on the road and doesn't let itself down... but by the same token, it doesn't set any new parameters in the segment with a class-leading ride or a surprisingly level of dynamic acuity. It's simply yet another quietly assured, proficiently calibrated large SUV.

Where it'll perhaps earn its spurs over all of the rivals we mention in the next section, with the possible exception of the Range Rover, is with its off-roading prowess. For all the luxury leanings and fake-no-it's-not-it's-real wood trim inside, the Grand Cherokee is still a Jeep at the end of the day. And Jeeps should be able to go a long way into the wilderness. Of course, you can pick the Trailhawk model, with its 18-inch wheels wrapped in bespoke all-terrain tyres and fitted with the Jeep Off-Road Accessory kit as standard, if you're planning to regularly green-lane your 70-grand-plus SUV, but we went on the same challenging course around the Yorkshire Dales that the Wrangler Rubicon took on - with the Grand Cherokee Summit Reserve on road tyres, and simply using its Quadra-Drive II 4x4 system (which does have a low-range function, selectable via a button on the transmission tunnel) to get around.

And it was epic. An outrageous rock-crawl that was both narrow and ludicrously steep was dealt with in embarrassingly easy fashion, while the clever Quadra-Lift suspension can raise or lower the body through five different levels on its air springs. That gives anything from 200- to 275mm of ground clearance, the ability for the Grand Cherokee to ford through 610mm of water at up to 5mph, and approach, breakover and departure angles of 35.5, 29.8 and 22.2 degrees respectively. So while the big Jeep might not eclipse its European premium SUV competition on tarmac, it sure as hell will if you ever need to venture off into wild landscape for any significant amount of distance and/or driving-difficulty levels.


Jeep sells the Grand Cherokee 4xe in four specifications: Limited, Trailhawk, Overland and then Summit Reserve. Prices start at a chunky £69,915 for the Limited, then it's a branched structure so that you either take a £4,000 walk to the off-road-optimised Trailhawk (£73,915), or £6,700 to arrive at the more luxurious Overland. The Summit Reserve we've driven here is the culmination of the technology and opulence levels of the Grand Cherokee family, hence it's the most expensive variant at an eye-widening £85,615.

Contextualising those prices, it makes it a little bit cheaper than the entry-level figure for a Range Rover Sport, which starts at £75,255 as a diesel (not the P440e plug-in hybrid model) and that can knock on the door of £100,000 in its highest Autobiography specification with the same engine. But such money also puts the Jeep firmly in the ballpark of some of the other big-hitting premium models, some of which have the option of seven seats (at least), such as the Audi Q7, BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE and that aforementioned Cayenne, so it might look punchy from the American outfit, given the Grand Cherokee doesn't have the strongest heritage on these shores.

At least standard equipment isn't a problem. Even a base Limited comes with 20-inch alloys, LED exterior lighting, a powered tailgate, a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated plus power-adjustable front seats, a digital rear-view mirror and wireless smartphone charging, as well as the 10.1-inch infotainment, 10.25-inch TFT cluster and a nine-speaker Alpine sound system, among much more. Both Trailhawk and Overland add crucial items like the air suspension and the electronic limited-slip diff (and, in the Overland's case, the 19-speaker McIntosh audio too), but this Summit Reserve is bells-and-whistles stuff, equipping pretty much everything - including a set of 21s, the 10.25-inch passenger screen, a head-up display, a 360-degree camera system, four-zone climate control and Night Vision, to mention a few highlights - as standard.


It's an accomplished showing from the latest Jeep Grand Cherokee, which manages to successfully blend together the seemingly disparate characteristics of being a luxury SUV, a fuel-saving plug-in hybrid and a rugged off-roader into one likeable package. The issue is that the 4xe doesn't exactly set your pants on fire in any one department and it's pricey for a five-seater model like this, but it does show that the American company has once again got the hang of a large SUV, which is a relief. As the Jeep's strongest suit is still its off-roading capability, then we'd rather have the cheaper, more charismatic Wrangler 4x4 if that's your outright priority, if we're honest, but the Grand Cherokee remains worth some serious consideration among a host of default German, British, Scandinavian, Japanese and Korean high-end SUVs.

Matt Robinson - 7 May 2024    - Jeep road tests
- Jeep news
- Grand Cherokee images

2024 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe PHEV. Image by Jeep.2024 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe PHEV. Image by Jeep.2024 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe PHEV. Image by Jeep.2024 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe PHEV. Image by Jeep.2024 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe PHEV. Image by Jeep.

2024 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe PHEV. Image by Jeep.2024 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe PHEV. Image by Jeep.2024 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe PHEV. Image by Jeep.2024 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe PHEV. Image by Jeep.2024 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe PHEV. Image by Jeep.


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