Last fall we were watching intently here at Landmark Dodge of Atlanta as the review staff on duty at the Road and Track blog claimed that the Jeeps’ then-new fifth-generation Grand Cherokee fully impressed the auto writing staff. They took out both the V8 and V6 options during its launch, and at that time they wondered whether the hybrid Grand Cherokee could prove to be an option faster and torquer than the V6, and not quite as constantly thirsty.
This time the same very excited and awestruck writer took the hybrid Grand Cherokee for a drive in Austin, TX, and confirmed excitedly that Jeep has got another very stellar rig on its hands. The 4xe is powered by a hybrid drivetrain, with every single bit of off-road capability that you’d still expect from a Jeep, and all the on-road commandeering props you’d want in a Grand Cherokee. Early forms of hybrids and the framework that they had laid during automotive culture did not do much to stoke images of daring or excitement, but this release offers up an entirely different character to its capable all-gas relative.
The batteries that are now under the floor don’t edge threateningly into the passenger’s rear legroom, and a separate generator/motor applies torque to the front axle while also replacing the starter. The powertrain is mated to an 8-speed transmission with a two-speed transfer case, and steel skid plates offer protection for the powertrain and the batteries. The 4XE’s eLSD allows the transfer of 100 percent of torque to any wheel, and also for torque to be sent to either side of the vehicle respectively.
When you are traversing on gravel or dirt, managing the transfer of a vehicle’s weight and maximizing the delivery of power across such limited grip is a necessary part of the formula to properly conquer hazards off-road, and this driver was excited to try it in the loose red dirt just outside of Austin’s city limits. The crew started off with a section that was every bit as intimidating as a quadrant of Moab would be, making sure the handler was allowing the perfect balance of precise power when you are looking right at a scary upwards crawl of slippery and dangerous obstacles.
One important claim here is that the 4xe offers better straight-line performance than the V8, and even better overall efficiency than the V6. The most luxurious Grand Cherokee experience is also evident with its near-silent running, and you’ll also be enjoying a towing capacity of 6000 lbs. Here is a model to truly get excited about: this review team claimed that you can’t find any finer or more versatile SUV in the entire segment, and that it’s the ideal vehicle for this time and space in the market before electrification becomes the norm. The Jeep namesake has long been known as where you want to be if your headspace requires the constant addition of blue skies and raging water, and this new addition to the line will not forego anyone from fly fisherman on up to kayakers anxious to get their gorge-climbing groove on!