The standard wheelbase Jeep Grand Cherokee was officially unveiled overnight, and it’s the first of its name to feature a plug-in hybrid drivetrain.
Due to arrive in Australia during the second half of 2022, it’s unclear which of the three available drivetrains will be offered locally.
Pricing and specifications will be released closer to launch.
In the US, the V6 and V8 versions of the Grand Cherokee enter showrooms during the fourth quarter of 2021, while the new plug-in hybrid is available from early 2022.
According to Jeep, global availability of the 4xe PHEV is scheduled to come online from “later that year”.
The Grand Cherokee is 4910mm long, 1979mm wide, 1750mm tall, and rides on a 2964mm wheelbase.
Compared to the model it’s replacing, the new Grand Cherokee is 89mm longer overall, has a roof that’s 10mm closer to the ground, and sits on a 49mm longer wheelbase.
It’s significantly smaller than the Grand Cherokee L that was launched earlier this year, and is due in Australia in the fourth quarter of 2021.
The L has a total length of 5204mm and a 3090mm wheelbase, meaning it’s 289mm longer from bumper to bumper and has a 126mm longer wheelbase.
Three drivetrains have been confirmed for the standard wheelbase Grand Cherokee, at least in the US: a 3.6-litre V6, 5.7-litre V8, and 2.0-litre plug-in hybrid.
The standard Pentastar 3.6-litre V6 is rated at 218kW and 353Nm. It’s fitted with automatic engine stop/start, and towing capacity is said to be 2812kg.
Step up to the 5.7-litre V8 and there’s 266kW and 529Nm available under foot. To quell the V8’s thirst a little there’s cylinder deactivation that allows the engine to operate as a four-pot.
Towing capacity in the V8 is rated at 3265kg.
Both the V6 and V8 have a standard eight-speed automatic transmission, and four-wheel drive models come with automatic front axle disconnect to improve fuel economy.
The 4xe plug-in hybrid has a total system output of 280kW and 637Nm. The drivetrain seems to be shared with Wrangler 4xe, and features a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine paired with an eight-speed auto.
A small electric motor replaces the alternator, and is responsible for starting the 2.0-litre engine and generating electricity to recharge the battery pack.
Replacing the automatic transmission’s torque converter is a larger electric motor that can drive the car on its lonesome or in tandem with the four-cylinder engine.
Fitted with a 400V 17kWh battery, the Grand Cherokee 4xe should have an EV driving range of around 40km under the US EPA’s testing standard. Total range from a full tank and a full battery will be around the 708km mark.
According to Jeep, the 4xe’s high voltage electronics are fully sealed off and waterproof, and the PHEV is capable fording water up 610mm deep.
The company says it has also targeted a maximum towing capacity of 2720kg for the plug-in hybrid.
As with previous generations of the Grand Cherokee, the new model will be available with a selection of four-wheel drive systems for differing levels of off-road ability: Quadra-Trac I, Quadra-Trac II, and Quadra-Drive II with an electronic limited-slip differential on the rear axle.
Other available features include the Quadra-Lift air suspension system with electronic semi-active damping. It has a number of driver-selectable modes, and five ride height settings, with the maximum offering 287mm of ground clearance and 610mm of fording capability.
While the Grand Cherokee L doesn’t offer a Trailhawk variant, the standard wheelbase model will continue offering this off-road-oriented trim level.
It comes standard with the Quadra-Drive II system, and also includes tow hooks, unique 18-inch wheels in all-terrain tyres, and an anti-glare bonnet decal.
The Trailhawk will also be available with the 4xe powertrain, which will be available in the US on all trim levels bar the entry-level Laredo and Altitude.
Jeep says the Trailhawk 4xe conquered the famous Rubicon Trail under all-electric power.
The new Grand Cherokee promises to have the most luxurious interior in the model’s history with a cohesive design, upscale finishes and more tech than you could reasonably fit on a spec sheet.
Top-shelf models will have a bevy of screens, with a digital instrumentation display, 10.0-inch full-colour head-up display, a 10.1-inch central infotainment touchscreen, a 10.25-inch touchscreen ahead of the front passenger, and two 10.1-inch seat back-mounted screens for rear seat passengers.
Heated and ventilated seats are available for both rows, as is customisable ambient lighting, wireless smartphone charging, the Amazon Alexa personal assistant, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, 16GB of built-in entertainment storage, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support.
If you want to go all out, there’s also a 19-speaker McIntosh sound system with a 950W amplifier on the options list.
Available safety features include Level 2 hands-on driving assist, a surround-view camera, traffic sign recognition, parallel and perpendicular parking assist, night vision cameras with pedestrian and animal detection, and intersection collision assist.