Gone are the days of the diesel-powered Grand Cherokee, though an all-new drivetrain promises to fill the hole.

Jeep’s new Grand Cherokee will arrive this year with only petrol power, followed by a plug-in hybrid but no diesel drivetrains. (There will also then be the Grand Cherokee L – a seven-seater version, after that.)

While the news might be a blow for those after diesel frugality and smooth grunt for towing, Jeep’s Global boss Christian Munier says that both models will continue the tradition of providing plenty of power and that the hybrid will be good at towing.

This news doesn’t really come as a surprise with reports that one of the best-known tow vehicles, the Toyota LandCruiser, is dropping V8 oomph for petrol V6 and petrol V6 hybrid drivetrains. Jeep’s move seems no different, though there’s a good chance – an unconfirmed one for now – that glorious V8 powerplants will continue in models such as the SRT.

Speaking with media, Meunier says specifically: “There won’t be diesel on the Grand Cherokee, but I think Grand Cherokee is going to be a home run. Without diesel, with 4xXE (plug-in hybrid electric power), with V6, it’s going to be a home run, I have zero doubt. The product is going to be awesome for Australians, they’re going to love it.”

That means we will see the continuation of the 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 engine here. In the US, that motor develops 216kW of power and 350Nm of torque, so expect similar results down under.

The plug-in 4XE, which is yet to be detailed, will offer a boost of torque via an electric motor(s). We could see anywhere in the vicinity of 400-550Nm depending on the augmentation of electric power, which will be a benefit for towing and off-road crawling. While the added grunt will be welcome, the economy when cruising will benefit too. Although plug-in hybrid batteries are heavier than a normal hybrid, the system is able to generate power on the fly to help with engine/cylinder deactivation at cruising speeds, plus obvious gains around town when the battery is charged.

“We don’t want to be followers in Australia, we’re going to be leaders in electrification, we’re going to be before the others,” says Meunier of Jeep’s new offensive in introducing hybrid, and specifically plug-in hybrid tech, to the large SUV and off-road segments.

“It’s going to be an alternative, it’s going to be a way for Jeep to differentiate and to show that we’re really advanced on technology, and the capability off-road is outstanding. People are going to love it, I have no doubt.

“Towing is core to Jeep, so we wouldn’t compromise on it; we’ve tested Wrangler and Grand Cherokee 4XE. Towing is at least as good as with an ICE engine.

And it seems that electrification in Jeep’s instance is not just about lowering emissions, with Meunier telling us there are some proper advancements coming from the 4XE system.

“With electrification on products like Wrangler and Grand Cherokee, we’re able to deliver more capability off-road, more fun to drive, strong towing capacity, strong torque, and eco-friendly technology. So we believe that’s the perfect world for Jeep.

“To also be able to drive on electric-only for commuting is hell of an experience and we strongly believe in it. So we’re very, very committed to electrification.”


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About Author

Alex Rae

Alex Rae brings almost two decades’ experience, previously working at publications including Wheels, WhichCar, Drive/Fairfax, Carsales.com.au, AMC, Just Cars, and more.


  1. There is no doubt that change is coming and very few manufacturers have definitively killed off the diesel option (yet).

    FCA should look back at the sales history of the Grand Cherokee in Australia – like around 2014. If, in the short term, they think they can bring the numbers back to anywhere near their heyday without a diesel – good luck with that one in the short term.

    FCA just took their offer off my future shopping list by not offering a diesel.

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