Jeep Grand Cherokee Loses V8 Engine

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
jeep grand cherokee loses v8 engine

Jeep has discontinued the optional 5.7-liter Hemi V8 for the two-row Grand Cherokee, meaning you can either have the standard 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 or the new 2.0-liter PHEV that comes with the 4xe trim. That doesn’t mean the V8 has been removed entirely, however. Specific versions of the 3-row Jeep Grand Cherokee L can still be outfitted with the Hemi. You just have to get it in all-wheel drive, padding the price somewhat. 

While the manufacturer hasn’t made any formal announcement about the change, Motor Authority noticed changes to Jeep’s car configuration website on Monday. Meanwhile, Stellantis has routinely asserted that the V8 will be ousted in favor of electrified powertrains. This seems completely at odds with everything brands like Jeep and Dodge allegedly represent. But it begins to make sense when you consider the ridiculous amount of social and regulatory pressures manufacturers are currently under. While your author preferred the days when Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) leadership balked at the premise of ditching V8 motors in favor of chasing efficiency or embracing electrification, those days are over. 

FCA is no more and Stellantis, bringing in French management, seems very interested in pushing EVs and utilizing newer platforms. 

What’s being lost in the process is the buttery smooth acceleration offered by the V8’s 357 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque. It’s significantly more powerful than the 293 hp offered by the V6. Though it’s also quite a bit thirstier, averaging around 14 mpg city and 22 mpg highway, and leaving the door wide open for something like the 4xe. 

Promising a combined output of 375 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque, the plug-in option is technically faster than the V8 to 60 mph and manages to yield far better fuel economy in the process. But the 4xe’s 2.0-liter turbocharged hybrid has taken a beating among some reviewers ( including our very own Tim Healey) for feeling unrefined and having trouble transitioning smoothly between gasoline and electric power. It’s also quite a bit more expensive than its combustion-driven counterparts, with off-road enthusiasts fretting over the possibility that the hybrid powertrain is going to be too persnickety to make for a desirable ORV. 

This mainly revolves around the complexity of the setup, which involves connecting one motor generator to the crankshaft pulley via a belt that spins the engine for start-stop operation while also generating electricity for the battery pack. Meanwhile, a second, larger generator serves double duty as a torque converter and is mounted inside the transmission while dual clutch assemblies mitigate power between the gasoline engine and electric motors. It doesn’t sound like something you’d want to service yourself, frankly. 

There have also been some gripes about towing capacity, as that was another arena in which the V8 could flex really its muscles. Whereas the V8 could reliably tow up to 7,200 pounds, the hybrid option doesn’t even manage to exceed the V6 maximum towing capacity of 6,200 pounds. Perhaps Stellantis doesn’t see things like towing capacity and serviceability as being extremely relevant to consumers as they try to shift Jeep upmarket a tad. But they’ve traditionally been very important on the North American market – especially where pickup trucks and SUVs are concerned – and your author wonders if this won’t eventually come back to bite them.

[Image: Jeep]

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5 of 23 comments
  • Chris P Bacon Chris P Bacon on Dec 20, 2022

    "But the 4xe’s 2.0-liter turbocharged hybrid has taken a beating among some reviewers ( including our very own Tim Healey) for feeling unrefined and having trouble transitioning smoothly between gasoline and electric power."

    As I've stated here before, I have a Wrangler 4xe. I don't see the issues that the reviewers apparently do. I suspect it's because all they do is hammer the devil out of it, whereas the 4xe (or any hybrid TBH) rewards smoother driving. I very rarely see a harsh transition because after 6 months I understand how to drive it smoothly. Because of the regenerative braking, I can drive through my neighborhood without touching the brake 95% of the time. I also understand how much pressure to put on the accelerator when pulling away from a light to keep it on electric. Most around town driving can be accomplished on full electric. My goal most of the time is to NOT force the gas motor to come on. It's there if I need it, but even most highway merging can be done perfectly well on electric. Tim (and the other reviewers) seem bound and determined to force the vehicle to run on gas, and to do so in the most awkward manner so they have something to complain about.

    • See 2 previous
    • Matt Posky Matt Posky on Dec 21, 2022

      I'll agree that it doesn't make a lot of sense to scramble around at top speeds in a high-riding SUV. But Jeep made it a point to declare that the 4xe would be the fastest and most powerful trim wherever it appeared. Everyone was already going to test the acceleration because you have to test everything, Jeep just added more pressure for it to matter by hyping up the powertrain. Heck, you even mentioned that you can "smoke just about everything off the line" so performance is clearly a factor here.

      I understand that people get defensive when someone says something unkind about a vehicle they own. However I don't think the truth has to spoil the 4xe for anybody. The 4xe has some real shortcomings but it also has some real perks that might make it the better choice for some drivers. An unrefined feeling powrtrain doesn't have to be a deal breaker. But it still needs to be mentioned.

      Frankly, I'd like to see someone do a head-to-head with Jeep's hybrid and non-hybrid offerings to see how they handle classic Jeep stuff.

  • Waterloo Waterloo on Dec 20, 2022

    I always saw the Grand Cherokee with the V8 as being the entry level luxury SUV. An option for the domestic buyer that didn't want the X5 M50i, the Defender/RRS V8, MB GLE AMG, Audi SQ7 etc... Never a good thing when another V8 option goes away. But who am I to say, I didn't buy the GC V8 and have a Rivian R1S on order. Progress?

  • Lou_BC I realized it wasn't EV's burning by the absence of the usual suspects.
  • Kwik_Shift A manual bug eye WRX wagon (2001-03) would interest me more.
  • El scotto Ferrari develops a way to put a virtual car in real time traffic? Will it be multiple virtual players in a possible infinite number of real drivers in real time situations?This will be one of the greatest things ever or a niche video game.
  • El scotto It's said that many military regulations are written in blood. Every ship's wheel or aircraft joystick has a human hand on it at all times when a ship or aircraft are under power. Tanks, APC's and other ground vehicles probably operate under the same rules. Even with those regulations accidents still happen. There is no such thing as an unmanned autopilot, ever. Someone has to be on the stick at all times.I do not think MB understands what a sue-happy nation the USA is. The 1st leased MB in a wreck while this Type 3 "Semi-Autonomous" driving, or whatever it is called, will result in an automatic lawsuit. Expect a class action lawsuit after the 1st personal lawsuit is filed. Yes, new MB owners can afford and ever are lawyers.Mercedes Benz; "The best wrecks or nothing!" Oh and has anyone noticed that Toyota/Lexus and Honda/Acura, the gray suit with white shirt and striped tie, automobile companies have stayed away from any autonomous driving nonsense?
  • Merc190 Very streamlined but not distinctive enough for a Mercedes. And besides, the streetcar of the early 20th century seems a far more efficient and effective method of people moving in essentially an autonomous manner. A motor car is meant to be driven with proper attention to what's important in every situation. To design it otherwise is idiotic and contradictory.