Jeep is moving away from V8 engines, and a twin-turbocharged inline-six plug-in hybrid could instead sit atop the Grand Cherokee range instead.

The brand’s North American boss Jim Morrison, in an interview with Motor Authority, ruled out the prospect of any performance variants of the redesigned SUV packing a V8.

He also wouldn’t commit to a return of the Trackhawk nameplate to the Grand Cherokee line. This nameplate was used on a version of the outgoing WK2, which packed a fire-breathing supercharged 6.2-litre V8.

In addition to indicating “it does make sense” for the four-cylinder 4xe plug-in hybrid powertrain to be used in the three-row Grand Cherokee L – it’s only been revealed in two-row guise – the Jeep boss suggested it won’t sit atop the Grand Cherokee pecking order for long.

When asked if the non-hybrid version of Stellantis’ new Hurricane 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged inline-six engine would be coming to the Grand Cherokee, Morrison reportedly said there was little point as the 4xe has so much torque.

That points to the previously announced plug-in hybrid version of the Hurricane six making its way into the Grand Cherokee instead.

Morrison also alluded to wanting to maintain the Grand Cherokee’s towing capacity, among the best in its class in the US, and suggesting Jeep may have “a different solution” for those who tow.

“You know me, I don’t like ever letting anything go,” he said, referring to the towing rating.

In the US, the WL Grand Cherokee has a claimed braked towing capacity of 3265kg with its available naturally-aspirated 5.7-litre petrol V8.

The naturally-aspirated 3.6-litre V6 tows 2813kg and the four-cylinder 4xe tows 2721kg.

Only the V6 and PHEV have been confirmed for Australia for the local WL range.

Jeep has yet to announce which vehicles will use the plug-in hybrid Hurricane six and what its outputs are, but it’ll almost certainly produce more power and torque than the standard- and high-output versions that debuted in the Wagoneer L and Grand Wagoneer L.

The Hurricane six’s standard-output tune produces 313kW of power and 635Nm of torque, while the high-output tune produces 375kW and 678Nm.

The extended-length Wagoneer L and Grand Wagoneer L aren’t available at all with the V8 engines that power their standard-length siblings: a mild-hybrid 5.7-litre with 292kW and 547Nm, and a 6.4-litre with 351kW and 616Nm.

“If you want a V8 Jeep, I’d get one sooner rather than later,” said Mark Allen, head of Jeep Exterior Design, earlier this year.

The company has previously pledged to have a 4xe variant of all its models by 2025. It currently offers 4xe versions of the Compass, Renegade and Wrangler, though none are available here.

Beyond the continued rollout of plug-in hybrid models, Stellantis is investing in pure-electric propulsion for the Jeep brand.

Stellantis previewed in March a small electric SUV set to go on sale globally in 2023 and teased a couple of large SUVs in wireframe last July.

It’s going fully electric in Europe by 2030 and, by the same year, it’s aiming for EVs to account for 50 per cent of its sales in North America.

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William Stopford

William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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