Driving report: Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe: Chief small spring

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is still a cool number and in its latest generation it is more luxurious than ever.

Driving report: Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe: Chief small spring

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is still a cool number and in its latest generation it is more luxurious than ever. While one or the other competitor only mimics the tired crossover, the American with its technology is a real bank even in rough terrain. But it doesn't exist in Europe with the 3.6-liter six-cylinder and the V8 flagship with 357 hp and 390 Nm maximum torque. In our latitudes, the 4xe plug-in hybrid version, whose 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo is supported by an electronic module, should be the only choice for the thoroughbred American. 280 kW / 380 hp / 400 Nm sounds powerful as a total performance, but in real driving operation the Jeep Grand Cherokee leaves something to be desired.

It's not because of the vehicle itself, because six- and eight-cylinder engines were already able to impress on several occasions during test drives in the USA. But with a two-liter four-cylinder, the almost 2.5-ton US four-wheel drive disappoints, just like the BMW X5 or Range Rover plug-in hybrids used to do when they had to make do with a narrow quartet of cylinders under the hood. Here one has learned from the mistakes and the four cylinders have now been replaced by significantly more powerful six cylinders, which are supported by electric motors. The Jeep is a whole generation behind here, because the 200 kW / 272 hp two-liter four-cylinder is anything but the best for the four-wheel drive.

When driving normally, it starts in automatic mode. This means that at low speeds and a correspondingly full battery pack, the turbo burner has a break. A 107 kW / 145 hp electric motor alone then provides the propulsion, which brings its power solidly to both drive axles via the eight-speed automatic transmission. Casually, almost silently and particularly comfortably, the jeep makes its way through the city center before heading west on the more turbulent highway. If you press the gas pedal harder, the four-cylinder with its impressive 280 kW / 380 hp jumps in all too loudly and anything but sonorous and ensures an impressive intermediate sprint on the acceleration lane of Interstate 210. A few seconds later the 4.91 goes Meter-long Grand Cherokee 4xe switches back to relaxed cruising mode without the driver having to do anything, and the electric motor alone provides propulsion at speeds of up to 135 km/h. During the next overtaking maneuver towards Interstate 5, however, the driver quickly senses that the 245 Nm torque of the electric motor is not much for such a colossus, so changing the driving program to Sport mode brings more dynamics, because the combustion engine and electric motor are now working together again pull together and things move faster.

Unfortunately, what remains is the less than impressive sound of the four-cylinder, which, despite good noise insulation and insulating glass, certainly doesn't want to fit in with a US boy like the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Even the supposedly low level of thirst cannot overplay that, because a standard consumption of 2.6 liters of premium fuel with a fully charged battery pack is just as unimpressive today as an all-electric range of just under 50 kilometers. The competition with significantly more engine power, mostly two combustion chambers and one liter more displacement, now manages 80 to sometimes over 100 kilometers purely electrically. One reason is the lithium-ion battery pack with a capacity of 17.3 kWh. With a top speed of 190 or 210 km/h and a sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.3 seconds, the performance is also less impressive and significantly less than the competition.

This is all the more annoying because the Jeep Grand Cherokee delivers a great performance apart from the drive. Apart from the slightly overloaded center console, the American luxury model is just as elegant as it is comfortable on the road and, last but not least, does not have to hide from any of its competitors due to its design and off-road capability. The variable air suspension ensures a high degree of comfort, although depending on the wheel-tire combination it should spring up a little more comfortably. In contrast to most competitors, the Jeep Grand Cherokee attaches great importance to its off-road capabilities and does not only want to convince on the road. Depending on driving requirements, the air suspension can vary the ground clearance by more than ten centimetres, making it easier to drive off-road, more aerodynamically advantageous on the motorway or more comfortable in the parking lot.

Class: noise level, space and luxury equipment that leaves little to be desired even in the Overland variant. Even better: the Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit 4xe, which costs at least 97,500 euros and offers, among other things, air-conditioned leather seats, massage function, countless USB ports, four-zone automatic climate control and various driver assistance functions. There is even a recordable display for the front passenger and the entertainment system reflects the image from a rear seat camera if desired. The display can also be divided for two views in the individual child seats. Infrared lights surround the camera between row two/three, illuminating the cabin when needed and automatically switching between day and night modes.

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