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There’s no moss growing under the feet of Jeep engineers and product planners these days. About a year ago, the brand introduced its first plug-in-hybrid vehicle: the Wrangler 4xe. Approximately 30,000 units found buyers last year, which Jeep says makes the Wrangler 4xe (pronounced “four by e”) America’s best-selling plug-in hybrid. Last summer, the fifth generation of Jeep’s Grand Cherokee debuted with the all-new 2021 Grand Cherokee L—the first Grand Cherokee with three rows of seats. Late last year, a redesign of the traditional two-row, five-passenger Grand Cherokee was introduced on a shorter version of the L’s all-new unibody platform. That’s all history now—along with the equally new Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer full-size SUVs—and Jeep’s engineers are on to their next act: the 2022 Grand Cherokee 4xe. It’s an intriguing mix-and-match that combines the Wrangler 4xe’s powerful plug-in-hybrid powertrain with the redesigned Grand Cherokee.
Earlier this year, the Jeep Grand Cherokee kicked off its fifth generation with the all-new 2021 Grand Cherokee L—the first Grand Cherokee to offer three rows of seats. Meanwhile, the 2021 two-row Grand Cherokee soldiered on for one more season with the previous, fourth-gen design. Now, for the 2022 model year, a redesigned two-row five-passenger Grand Cherokee is being introduced. The 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee is built on a shorter version of the L’s all-new unibody platform, and it’s scheduled to go on sale by the end of the 2021 calendar year. Shortly after the new year, Jeep will add 4xe plug-in-hybrid electrified variants of the two-row Grand Cherokee.
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Despite being one of the oldest basic designs in the midsize-SUV segment, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is consistently one of the best-selling vehicles in its class. However, the Grand Cherokee has never offered one key feature that would allow it to compete more directly with rivals such as the Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, and Volkswagen Atlas—a third-row seat. That changes with the introduction of the 2021 Grand Cherokee L, an all-new model that kicks off the Grand Cherokee’s fifth generation and comes standard with a third row of seating for 6- or 7-passenger capacity.
by Don Sikora
Note: The following story was excerpted from the April 2018 issue of Collectible Automobile magazine.
Jeep’s compact Cherokee and Wagoneer proved popular after their debuts for 1984, and parent AMC was already working on a larger replacement when Chrysler bought the company in 1987. Chrysler had other priorities, so it took until the 1993 model year for the replacement to go on sale. At that point the decision was made to keep the old type in production and position the new vehicle upmarket as the Grand Cherokee and Grand Wagoneer.
Class: Midsize Crossover
Miles driven: 257
Fuel used: 22.5 gallons
At the 2017 New York Auto Show earlier this month, Jeep announced the 2018 Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, a new line-topping high-performance model that borrows its 707-hp supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V8 from the Dodge Challenger and Charger Hellcats. At a recent Midwest Automotive Media Association event, we had the chance to check out a Grand Cherokee Trackhawk in the flesh—in fact, it was the first time the vehicle had been shown outside the lights and stage of an indoor auto show. This show vehicle wore a stunning candy-apple-red paint job that won’t be available on the showroom version, but otherwise looked to be almost identical to the regular-production Trackhawks that are scheduled begin hitting dealerships late this year. Check it out, and stay tuned… our first test drive of the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk should take place later this year.