"Toyota can't do what we can do": Jeep throws down the off-road gauntlet with new Grand Cherokee
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The new Jeep Grand Cherokee might be yet to touchdown in Australia, but the brand is confident it will be the supreme adventure vehicle when it arrives later this year.
Speaking at the international launch of the new Grand Cherokee 4Xe plug-in hybrid, the brand's Head of Global Jeep Product Marketing, Jeff Ellsworth, told CarsGuide that everything from the Toyota LandCruiser Prado to the Volvo XC60 was in their sights.
The new Grand Cherokee will carry the brand more upmarket in Australia (and will likely be priced accordingly), but Jeep makes a big deal about not having moved away from the off-road credibility that has built the brand in the USA.
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In Australia, that title is held by models like the Toyota LandCruiser Prado and the new LC300, but Jeep says anything Toyota can do, it can do better.
"I’m biased, but for sure (we're better off-road)," Mr Ellsworth says.
"There are different types of off-roading, and I have respect for Toyota so nothing against them, but when it comes to rock-crawling, Toyota can’t do what we can do.
"There’s going to be advantages to what Toyota can do elsewhere, but for rock-crawling, it’s going to be Jeep all the way."
The most off-road-focused model in the new Grand Cherokee family will be the Trailhawk, which presents this time with improved approach and departure angles, 277mm of ground clearance (including the 75mm gained in when in Off-Road Height mode, a 610mm water-fording ability, and electric limited-slip differential, and Quadra-Trac II and Quadra-Drive II active torque management and off-road systems.
In 4Xe guise, it also includes the ability to venture off the beaten track in pure-electric mode, with a 40km EV driving range, including through tough off-road terrain.
While Toyota is in its off-road sights, the brand says more premium players are the targets for the upper-spec trim levels, with the new Grand Cherokee to arrive in five-seat, seven-seat and plug-in hybrid guises.
"The position has always been as a more upscale vehicle, and each generation further and further enhances that," Mr Ellsworth says. "It's a unique vehicle in that it's able to attack the mainstream, while still extend itself to be able to attack the (more) premium brands."