The 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe Is the Best Off-Roader I Drove This Year

Is it really that good? Yes, and here's why

(Images: Stellantis)

While there are more off-road-worthy options, the Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe is one of the most remarkable vehicles I’ve driven in 2022, on any terrain.

The 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe is a plug-in hybrid that combines a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine with an electrified drivetrain. It’s surprisingly transparent, and if you get the Trailhawk version, it’s outstanding off-road. I tend to gravitate towards overall capability, over a one trick pony. My other choice would have been the Ford Bronco Raptor – but its only “trick” is its insane desert runner capability.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe makes amazing power

It’s not only the horsepower numbers that are extraordinary, rather than combined torque numbers. At 470 lb-ft of torque, that is diesel level numbers. This is especially good for rock, crawling, and acceleration. Okay, there’s nothing wrong with the 375 horsepower, either. In short, the 4xe moves with authority. Jeep uses a similar eight-speed automatic transmission as they have in most vehicles with a rear-drive bias. Not only does that power go to a sophisticated four-wheel drive system, but you can also harness the available power to tow up to 6,000 pounds.

Other attributes, like steering and braking, feel very similar to the regular Jeep Grand Cherokee. The best part is that the four-wheel-drive system remains exactly the same.

The 17.3-kWh, 400V lithium-ion battery is not rigged to handle fast charging, just Level 2. Still, it can charge from zero to full in about two hours – on Level 2. After that, you can cruise on regular roads for about 25-miles on nothing but electricity. Add everything up and you can get a 56 mpg-equivalent rating, but that drops to 23 mpg once that range is depleted. If you keep an eye on the battery, and drive conservatively, you can get outstanding mileage.

Not everything is perfect, though…

I was fortunate enough to drive a one-off Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe that was built for the Easter Jeep Safari in 2022. It looked super cool, but it also amplified its biggest flaw: you won’t get much of a lift off this thing. The front-end design prohibits beefy tires and big lifts – which is a shame. Still, I doubt many people who would buy a $66,000+ Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe would be anxious to lift it.

As good as it is off-road, I feel like the previous Trailhawk liked to dance a bit more. Kind of like it was more eager to be bounced, compared to the new one – which feels less enthusiastic. It also feels kind of heavy, because it is. At about 5,500 lbs., it’s not exactly a Wrangler Willys.

Bottom line

I like vehicles that push the envelope and show us promise for the future. Without a doubt, I truly believe that PHEVs have the potential to satisfy both sides of the electrification argument – in time. This Grand Cherokee is an outstanding first step. It off-roads like a mountain goat and flies down the road like a scalded cat.

There’s a lot more to unpack with this ride. Hell, I haven’t even attempted to laud the Mercedes-Benz-like interior yet. Nor have I discussed its outstanding ride and handling. Yeah…it’s just that damn good.

Check out more of the Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe below:

Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.