V6, V8 or 4xe Plug-In Hybrid? Battle of the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawks
Jeep’s “Trailhawk”-branded SUVs have earned a reputation for being some of the most capable non-Wrangler 4x4s you can buy, bringing new levels of ruggedness to showroom stock SUVs.
The Grand Cherokee Trailhawk is easily the flagship of the bunch, being the largest, most powerful and the most expensive of the family.
And with the latest, redesigned 2022+ version, Grand Cherokee Trailhawk buyers have never had more choices when it comes to powertrains.
Whether its the base V6, the Hemi V8 or the new 4xe PHEV, each powertrain comes with its own distinct capabilities and costs, but is there a clear winner among the bunch? Let’s break it down.
Anatomy of a Trailhawk
From inexpensive base models to fully loaded luxury versions, Jeep offers several different trim levels of the Grand Cherokee, but the Trailhawk is easily the off-road enthusiast’s choice.
For starters, opting for the Trailhawk gets you the more advanced Quadra-Drive II 4x4 system, along with Quadra-Lift adjustable suspension for extra ground clearance off-road.
The Trailhawk also gets skid plates to enhance underbody protection, 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tires, and of course Trailhawk branding and signature red tow hooks—or blue tow hooks in the case of Trailhawk 4xe.
The Value Question
When it looking at the standard gasoline models, a 2022 Grand Cherokee Trailhawk with the base 3.6 liter V6 has a base MSRP around $55,000 and the 5.7 liter Hemi V8 is available as a $3,795 option.
The Grand Cherokee 4xe Trailhawk, meanwhile, has a starting MSRP around $66,000—over $10,000 higher than the non-hybrid version.
And while that seems like a high premium to pay, it’s important to note that the Grand Cherokee 4xe is currently eligible for a $7500 federal tax credit which helps to offset a lot of that price difference.
What About Performance?
This where you find the big differences between the Trailhawk 4xe and the regular gasoline version. In terms of power and torque, the 4xe PHEV and its electric assisted 2.0 turbo engine easily outguns the base V6 with its 375 horsepower and 470 pound feet of torque.
The optional (but rare) 5.7 liter Hemi compares better with its 357hp and 390 pound feet of torque, but the 4xe still has the clear advantage.
Even more important, the plug-in-hybrid 4xe can allow you to drive up 26 miles on electric power alone. Depending on the length of your commute and access to charging, you could potentially do a large portion of your daily driving as an EV.
There’s an important asterisk to this comparison, and that’s the fact that for the ’23 model year Jeep has discontinued the Trailhawk trim of the regular Grand Cherokee, so if you want a Grand Cherokee Trailhawk with all of its off-road advantages the hybrid is now your only choice.
Fortunately, at the moment there are still a decent amount of unsold 2022 Grand Cherokee Trailhawks in dealer inventory, many being offered at a nice discount, but if you want a brand new one you’ll want to act soon.
Whether its a traditional gas powertrain or the 4xe, we love the Grand Cherokee Trailhawk package and are a little disappointed to see Jeep discontinuing the V6 and V8 versions of this highly capable SUV.
On the other hand, we understand why they are focusing so much on the 4xe model, and when factoring in tax incentives and its ability to run on electric power, the 4xe might be the best choice in the real world.
Whether you opt for the 4xe or scoop one of the remaining ’22 Trailhawks, you can be confident knowing you’ve got one of best combinations of refinement and off-road capability around.
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