Everybody’s going electric these days, it seems. Or at least, electrified. The 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe is Jeep’s latest entry in the electrified-vehicle space (sorry for that bit of marketing speak, I must need more coffee), following, of course, the Wrangler 4xe.
Getting electrified might be good for the ‘ole CAFE standards – but is it worth the price premium? Will electrification change a vehicle’s character – and if so, for the better or for worse?
To find out, I headed deep to the heart of Texas last month.
Jeep has one of the tougher challenges in the business, especially when it comes to its longest-running nameplates, such as Wrangler and Grand Cherokee.
That challenge is this – how to keep models that are based on an old-school formula, one that heavily involves off-road chops and, in this case, an optional V8 engine, modern.
Jeep has been up to the task so far with the Wrangler, even introducing a hybrid to the line. Now it’s the Grand Cherokee’s turn.
When the Grand Cherokee originally debuted back in 1993, Americans were just warming up to the idea of daily driven sport-utility vehicles. The idea was pretty straight-forward: Take the capability of the Cherokee XJ, tune it for real-world drivability, tweak the look, and add some creature comforts that shift the scales away from the utilitarian toward the premium.
Nearly three decades later the concept remains largely the same, but the all-new Grand Cherokee L is worlds apart from the first generation ZJ. Aside from the third row (a first for a Grand Cherokee), this decked-out SUV rolls around on decidedly massive 21-inch wheels, boasts massaging front seats covered in quilted Palermo leather and a 19-speaker McIntosh audio system, and floats on an adjustable air suspension with adaptive dampers – latter of which is also a first for the model.
The reviews are breaking today on the new Jeep Grand Wagoneer. As Jeep resurrects one of its most historical full-size nameplates from a three-decade slumber, it’s getting a lot of positive press coverage. But Jeep is in for a world of disappointment in a couple of years.
Jeep has offered all sorts of different utility vehicles over the years – it’s sort of the brand’s thing – but it hasn’t recently offered a three-row crossover. The last one it sold was the Commander, which left the market a decade ago.
I quite honestly forgot the Commander even existed – and I started in automotive journalism in 2007. While it was still on the market. I suspect most Jeep faithful have also memory holed that model.
That’s unlikely to happen with the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L, for better or for worse.
If you spend your days decrying the bloat of American automobiles, you won’t like what 2021 has in store for you. It’ll be like 2020… only worse!
Scary stuff. For consumers enamored both with the Jeep brand and large, cargo-happy vehicles, however, next year will bring the dawning of a new age of glorious excess. Thanks to Fiat Chrysler’s second-quarter earnings report, we can now pin down post-lockdown production timelines for three Jeep vehicles boasting three rows of seating.
After being understandably cagey about its plans to resume North American production, Fiat Chrysler appears to be ready to get back to work. Well, eventually.
After other automakers cautiously penned new return dates this week, FCA did the same, telling suppliers on Wednesday that its restart will be a multi-phase operation. Sadly for those awaiting the launch of Jeep’s two largest models, March’s industry shutdown has pushed their dream vehicles further into the future.
While Volkswagen remains the industrial face of diesel-related scandals, it’s just one of many automakers fingered for emissions cheating. VW was simply the first to be dragged through the coals, and its great shame encouraged governments around the world to launch investigations into whether or not other manufacturers are guilty of similarly uncouth behavior.
Dutch road authority RDW has a problem with diesel models produced by Jeep and Suzuki. While Europe has fallen out of love with the diesel of late, the accusations are a little worse than simply falling to adhere to EU emission standards. RDW says the two automakers used “prohibited emissions strategies” that allowed vehicles to emit higher levels of nitrogen oxide (NOx) on the road than during testing conditions.
I knew I might need wheels during a week-long trip to Los Angeles. I was hoping for something well-suited for a run over the Angeles Crest Highway.
Instead, a Jeep Grand Cherokee was the vehicle available. I hadn’t driven one in years, but I’ve always been fond of the current generation — a generation that is aging rapidly. Would the ravages of time sour my opinions?
Short answer: No. While aging, the Grand Cherokee remains a pleasant SUV for around-town commuting, with off-road capability in its back pocket.