Jeep's Grand Cherokee Hybrid Should Be Killer for Overlanding

Jeep says its school-run SUV will have off-road and towing capability fit for the tough Australian market.

jeep grand cherokee l
Jeep

Jeep has already revealed the all-new 2021 three-row Grand Cherokee L (and its spectacular McIntosh sound system). The two-row Grand Cherokee, in turn, should arrive in a few months. But that'll just be the start of the versions and variants for the new SUV. Jeep's global president Christian Meunier has confirmed to Australian outlet WhichCar that the Grand Cherokee will be getting a 4xe plug-in-hybrid version — and, thankfully, it should be a seriously capable overlander.

Jeep is testing the new Grand Cherokee in Australia, according to Meunier, and promises that it will meet the local market's demands. That means withstanding the intense off-road demands exerted upon it by the Outback (and we're not talking about the place with the blooming onions).

It also means being able to tow some of Australia's awesome off-road camping trailers. The Wrangler's 4xe powertrain, which puts out 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque, makes it the most powerful version short of the new Hemi-powered Wrangler Rubicon 392 — and it seems like the most likely fit for the Grand Cherokee 4xe, as well. Meunier likens the 4xe powertrain to a V8, and asserts that Australian off-roaders won't be disappointed there isn't a diesel option.

“Electrification really provides a lot of benefits torque-wise, acceleration-wise and towing is good," Meunier said. "Towing is core to Jeep, so we wouldn’t compromise on it."

If Australians are getting a 4xe Grand Cherokee, it seems extraordinarily likely that it's bound for America, as well. That powertrain has already been confirmed for the Wrangler and Grand Wagoneer, and it wouldn't make sense to strip Jeep's most exciting new engine from the brand's most important (from a sales perspective) American vehicle.

News about the Grand Cherokee's excellent off-road capability should encourage American customers, as well. While there would no doubt be a "Trail Rated" version of the Grand Cherokee, serious off-road cred for the new SUV wasn't a given.

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