Hybrids have an image problem out in the real world. The Toyota Prius was so successful for so long that people formed an impression of hybrids as funny-looking and slow.
Plug-in hybrids have an image problem too. Totally committed electric vehicle advocates say they're unnecessary middle ground and people should just make the leap to full electrics. Rapidly increasing range and decreasing charging times make their case more and more solid.
But Jeep---yes, Jeep---is among the brands making the strongest case for the plug-in hybrid or PHEV.
First, with its Wrangler 4xe and now with the Grand Cherokee 4xe, Jeep has used the electric motor to boost the power of the engine for performance and is using the plug-in to provide 25 miles of pure electric driving before the hybrid gas/electric powerplant kicks in. In fact, there's a button you can use to save that electricity for when it will do you the most good. Some will choose around-town driving. Others, off-roading, might use it to have the least impact on the wilderness. The power is significant---375 total system horsepower. Zero to 60 runs get done in six seconds flat.
The combined range of the pure electric miles and the hybrid is 440 miles. And the EPA rates it at 56 MPGe. When it goes to pure hybrid mode, it's a city/highway combined average of 23 miles per gallon. So there's a major upside to plugging in.
The 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe comes in five trims, 4xe, Trailhawk 4xe, Overland 4xe, Summit Reserve 4xe and Summit 4xe. Our tester was the Overland. Base price $65,760 (even the lowest trim begins at $60k-plus).
An Overland comes pretty loaded as-is, but our tester had some extra-cost options, including $395 for Silver Zynith (their spelling) exterior paint, $2,155 for the Luxury Tech Group IV (Nappa leather seats, rear-view auto-dimming digital display mirror, wireless charging, 12-way power driver and front passenger seat with back massagers, passenger seat memory, manual second-row window shade and four-zone automatic temperature control), $2,335 for the Advanced Protect Group II (active driving assist system, head-up display, intersection collision-assist system, night vision with pedestrian and animal detection, surround view camera, back-up camera washer, integrated off-road camera and a map-in-cluster display), $775 for a black painted roof and $1,095 for the Uconnect 5 navigation with a 10.1-inch touchscreen and a 950-watt, 19, speaker McIntosh high-performance audio system. With $1,795 destination charge, the as-tested price of the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4xe is $74,210.
Yes, that is serious money---but it's a loaded (or close to it) Jeep Grand Cherokee with 375 horsepower and the ability (if you drive 25 miles or less a day) to avoid gas pumps for days, weeks or months on end. It might be the smartest way to buy a Grand Cherokee.