All five generations of the Jeep Grand Cherokee have offered a V-8 engine, but a transition is coming, Jeep vice president Jim Morrison told Motor Authority.
Morrison sat down with MA after the reveal of the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee two-row to talk about the V-8, electrification, performance, and packaging. Here’s what we learned.
2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe
The V-8’s not long for this world
To date, the V-8 has been part of the Grand Cherokee’s DNA, Morrison said. Customers are looking for it, but eventually customers will transition to electrified options. Morrison believes customers will gravitate to the extra torque that can be had with a plug-in hybrid. “We’ll be ready for them,” the executive said.
While the two-row 2022 Grand Cherokee was unveiled on Tuesday with a V-8, Morrison acknowledged that engine won’t survive. Even Jeep’s performance-minded sibling, Dodge, knows the V-8’s days are coming to an end. In February, Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis said the V-8’s days “are numbered.”
2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe
Outside of the 5.7-liter V-8 Jeep has announced for the 2022 Grand Cherokee, it’s unclear which other V-8s might fit. The WK2 Grand Cherokee has offered both the 6.4-liter V-8 and the Hellcat supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 in SRT and Trackhawk forms, respectively.
When asked if the Hellcat engine would fit in the WL’s engine bay, Morrison cracked a smile and said, “I can’t answer that question.”
While the Hellcat powertrain lived for a few years in the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, it was a one-year special in its platform mate, the Dodge Durango Hellcat. The reason was simple: The powertrain would no longer meet emissions requirements in the old platform. When asked if the Hellcat’s powertrain would meet emissions requirements in the new WL platform, Morrison reiterated he couldn’t answer the question.
It’s been widely reported that, before FCA became Stellantis, the automaker was developing a clean-sheet turbocharged inline-6 to replace the 5.7-liter V-8. FCA filed a patent on the new engine in 2019. The engine will likely be offered as a plug-in hybrid option in larger vehicles such as the Jeep Grand Wagoneer (which is slated to get a plug-in hybrid soon) and even the Ram 1500. It’s quite possible these plans extend to the WL-based Grand Cherokee as well. Again, Morrison wouldn’t confirm those plans or even the existence of the inline-6.
While no performance variant has been announced for the WL Grand Cherokee yet, Jeep will continue to build vehicles that offer performance and a spirited driving character, according to Morrison. As to whether the Trackhawk nameplate has any place in the future lineup or whether it’ll return, “Stay tuned,” Morrison said.
2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee
One cool feature of the two-row 2022 Grand Cherokee is the set of electronically disconnecting sway bars that allow for extra suspension articulation. It’s a trick both the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon and Ram 2500 Power Wagon have, and now it’s on a Grand Cherokee Trailhawk.
The current Grand Cherokee Trailhawk was introduced at the 2016 New York auto show as a 2017 model year. It arrived during the middle of the WK2’s (2011-2021 Grand Cherokee’s) lifecycle, and the team was confined to working within the existing platform’s constraints, which didn’t make room for the disconnecting sway bars. That wasn’t the case with the 2022 Grand Cherokee two-row WL platform, and a Trailhawk was part of the plan from day one. This allowed the team to sketch out the features desired and ensure they worked within the new packaging constraints.
The new model solves another issue familiar to some Grand Cherokee owners. The windshield washer fluid tank can be a pain point for WK2 owners who want to take their Grand Cherokees off-road or switch to an aftermarket front bumper to provide more ground clearance. It’s a tall tank that hangs down low, which creates one of the WK2’s most vulnerable points for off-roading. Morrison revealed the tank was so tall and long in the WK2 so it could hold a full gallon of windshield washer fluid. Morrison attended one of the first WK2 Rubicon Trail test drives when the team crushed a windshield washer fluid tank on a rock, which revealed the issue. While a cutaway illustration hasn’t been shown of the two-row 2022 Grand Cherokee, Morrison assured MA that this issue has been fixed thanks to the platform’s new packaging, and the tank still holds a gallon of fluid.