The 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe 30th Anniversary Edition is the brand’s tribute to the first-gen ZJ variant that came crashing (literally) into public view as one of the first SUVs to feature a more civilized unibody construction. Driven by then Chrysler president Bob Lutz and Detroit mayor Coleman Young, the first Jeep Grand Cherokee climbed two sets of stairs before smashing through a glass window at Cobo Hall (now Huntington Place), symbolizing a breakthrough in the growing SUV segment.
Thirty years on, Jeep debuted the Grand Cherokee 4xe 30th Anniversary Edition to where it all began, at the Detroit Auto Show. This new honoring package starts with a plug-in hybrid Grand Cherokee 4xe but with many unique touches to commemorate the thirty-year reign of a true-blue American family vehicle and off-roading icon. “The 30th Anniversary Edition underscores how far the Grand Cherokee has come and is yet another example of the Jeep brand’s goal to be the electrification leader in SUVs,” said Jim Morrison, Senior Vice President and Head of Jeep brand North America.
Setting The Stage
It was 1992 when the first-ever Jeep Grand Cherokee drove through a window in downtown Detroit, but it also found itself in the hands and garages of roughly 250,000 Americans in 1993 alone. Jeep ended up selling more than 1.6 million units of the ZJ Grand Cherokee before the second-gen WJ variant entered the fray in 1999. The third-gen WK Grand Cherokee featured the aggressive SRT-8 with a 420-horsepower 6.1-liter Hemi V8 engine.
Meanwhile, the fourth-generation WK2 Jeep Grand Cherokee introduced the Trackhawk version with a highly-tuned 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8. The existing fifth-gen WL Grand Cherokee debuted in 2021, the first to feature a long-wheelbase “L” architecture and the first in its lineage to offer a plug-in hybrid powertrain.
Stock PHEV Powertrain
The Anniversary Edition is mostly a cosmetic package, so don’t expect more oomph from the Grand Cherokee 4xe’s plug-in hybrid powertrain. Under the hood is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-banger with 270 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque. It also has a 17.3 kWh battery pack and two electric motors that boost the output to 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft. of torque. Power goes to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic connected to a four-wheel drivetrain with a two-speed transfer case: a 2.72:1 low range gear ratio and a 47.4:1 crawl ratio.
Despite its electrified persona, the Grand Cherokee 4xe is trail-rated for off-road duty. It offers up to 10.9-inches of ground clearance and 24-inches of water-fording capability, made better by the vehicle’s 4×4 Selec-Terrain traction management system. Moreover, the hybrid powertrain enables up to 25 miles of zero-emissions driving and a combined EPA rating of 56 MPGe, impressive numbers for a hybrid SUV that can tow up to 6,000 lbs.
It’s easy to distinguish the 30th Anniversary Edition from a regular Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe. It has a new black front grille, dark emblems, a blacked-out lower bumper opening, and dark-treated 20-inch wheels. All the exterior bright ware has given way to darkened accents for a more sinister vibe, including the blacked-out dual exhaust tips and commemorative badging.
Other noteworthy styling updates include a dual-pane sunroof, flared wheel arches, new lower moldings, and unique sill claddings. Inside, it gets premium black Capri leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, wireless charging, and a Uconnect 5 infotainment system with a 10.1-inch touchscreen. Also standard is an Alpine premium audio system with nine speakers, 3D navigation, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.
In addition, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a digital rearview mirror, and a 360-degree surround camera are part of the anniversary package. At the same time, safety features like front and rear park assist, passive entry, and an intersection collision assist system are standard.
Pricing & Availability
The Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe 30th Anniversary Edition package costs $4,700 and is only available for a limited time. Jeep has yet to unveil base prices for the 2023 Grand Cherokee 4xe, but we reckon the updated MSRPs to start at $61,000 for the Grand Cherokee 4xe and up to $77,000 for the range-topping Summit Reserve 4xe. The first deliveries should begin trickling down to U.S. Jeep dealerships in early 2023.
Alvin Reyes is an Automoblog feature columnist and an expert in sports and performance cars. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.