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Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe Trailhawk on Nitto Recon Grappler A/T: 4,500 Mile Review

Is it fair to call the current Jeep Grand Cherokee underrated? Though the nameplate is one of the most well known out there, and its sales remain strong, the Grand Cherokee just hasn't enjoyed the same sizzle as other 4x4s like the Toyota 4Runner, Ford Bronco or Jeep's own Wrangler.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe on Nitto Recon Grappler

While it may not be quite as hardcore as those body-on-frame rigs — the Grand Cherokee has more than proven itself over its decades of service, with the latest version being the best yet. And when paired with the Nitto Recon Grappler all-terrain tire, it gets even better.

Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe on Nitto Recon Grappler

John, the owner of this 2022 4xe Trailhawk, had been eying the next-gen Grand Cherokee from the moment Jeep released the details on it. As a previous owner of a 2015 Grand Cherokee SRT, he was no stranger to the Grand Cherokee platform and ready for a change.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk Off Roading

From SRT to Trailhawk

Though he'd miss the rapid acceleration and the V8 noises his old SRT made, he was drawn to the improved fuel economy, creature comforts and the improved off-road capability the new Trailhawk 4xe brought.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk in Mud

With a hybrid-assisted turbocharged powertrain and the ability to do short drives on electric power alone, the 4xe would bring some serious efficiency improvements compared to the SRT. All while still making a V8-like 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque.

Jeep Gand Cherokee 4xe Off Roading

Then there’s the Jeep Trailhawk treatment, which brings a full arsenal of off-road upgrades that give the Grand Cherokee Wrangler-like off-road capability, but in a much more spacious and comfortable package.

Grand Cherokee Trailhawk Badge

John’s Trailhawk was one of the first to come off the line. A factory order put-in during the height of the supply chain shortage was well worth the several-month wait.

Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe Trailhawk on Nitto Recon Grappler

From the moment he first drove it, the jump in refinement over the old SRT was huge, and some quick trips into the snowy Sierra Nevada mountains helped show just how good the Trailhawk was off-road.

Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe Off Roading

Recon Does the Job

But there was one area where the Jeep needed improvement: its wheels and tires. It’s not that the factory setup was bad. It was just a little underwhelming compared to the rest of the vehicle.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk on Nitto Recon Grappler

The factory 18-inch wheels not only looked a little small, they looked more like something from a sedan or crossover. So off they went, replaced by a set of rugged 20"x8.5 Black Rhino Arsenal wheels.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk on Nitto Recon Grappler

Wanting to go with a tire that would further improve the Trailhawk's off-road abilities, John was drawn to Nitto, having previously run a set on his SRT. For the Trailhawk, he went with the more aggressive look of the Recon Grappler A/T in a 265/50/R20 size.

Nitto Recon Grappler Tread Pattern

Though they have nearly the same total diameter, visually the wheel and tire change completely altered the look of the Grand Cherokee. And now it has a stance and attitude truly fitting the Trailhawk name.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk Off Roading

In 4,500 miles of everyday use, the Recon Grapplers have also lived up to their mission. Proving themselves not just on off-road adventures into the snowy Sierras or muddy foothills but also on long highway trips and the daily suburban commute.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Driving

Rugged Meets Comfort

Even with the larger wheel size, the effect on road noise and ride quality has been minimal and the small trade off in fuel economy and electric driving range is more than worth the improved look and capability. 

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk in Mud

Given the 4xe's ability to run without firing up the gasoline engine, the low noise of the Recon Grapplers has been much appreciated, as have their comfortable highway manners during the road trips John often takes across California.

Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe Charging

Combine all of that with real Jeep off-road capability and you've got the reputation for one of the best all-around daily drivers on the market. This year, he's also looking forward to see how the Recon Grapplers handle towing duty when he hooks up a trailer and pulls his Subaru STI to track days.

Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe Rear View

John thinks the Grand Cherokee might be overlooked because of its more conservative shape and styling, but he says the aggressive Recon Grappler tread pattern has given his rig a needed boost in attitude. And earned him plenty of "Jeep Waves" from Wrangler drivers on the road.

Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe on Recon Grappler

While we struggle to figure out why the Grand Cherokee doesn't enjoy the same hype as other modern off-road platforms, the Recon Grappler and Black Rhino combination on this one help make for a vehicle every bit as cool and capable as the competition. 

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