The WL-series two-row Jeep Grand Cherokee was spied on local roads ahead of its launch.
Jeep has confirmed that the two-row Grand Cherokee will launch locally in the fourth quarter of 2022, followed by the 4xe plug-in hybrid models in the first quarter of 2023. We have contacted Jeep Australia to confirm if there have been any changes to the launch schedule.
“The two-row WL is already here. And it’s already tested and evaluated, all the data is fed back,” Jeep Australia managing director Kevin Flynn told CarExpert in May.
“We have a full-time employee who works only on this project and returns the data. And so yes, it is happening. And there will be an ongoing commitment to do so.
Mr Flynn said it was “more about validation” than developing a bespoke track for the local market.
“In all honesty, while there’s a certain uniqueness to the environment here, one of the big ones is just the length of the dirt road type environments plus the heat. That’s very, very important to us. said Flynn, noting that WL has been developed in about 10 countries.
“So when they put the parameters together and then configure the vehicle for us, we validate that spec is either good or bad or whatever, and we send it back.
“To be honest with you: the car we have is perfect.”
The Grand Cherokee 4xe plug-in hybrid is also being tested locally and will be the first PHEV sold by Jeep in Australia. The 4xe is only available in the shorter two-row body and not the three-row L.
The example pictured appears to be a stock Laredo gasoline here for engineering and evaluation purposes, with its badges removed.
We don’t necessarily expect the two-row WL lineup to open with a Laredo, as Jeep Australia moves away from offering those entry-level versions seen in the North American market.
Currently, every member of the local Jeep lineup now opens with sportier Night Eagle trim, including the three-row Grand Cherokee L that launched earlier this year.
CarExpert has already figured out that the two-row range will be offered in Night Eagle, Limited and Summit Reserve trims, with the 4xe only to be offered in the top two trims.
The shorter two-row body is also offered in a more off-road-ready Trailhawk variant in North America.
Jeep currently advertises its Grand Cherokee L line with a base price of $83,500 before road charges, with the Limited costing $89,500 and the Summit Reserve $116,700. Naturally, we expect the shorter two rows to be more affordable, although it’s unclear by how much.
The 266kW/530Nm 5.7-litre Hemi petrol V8 was not introduced locally, meaning all Grand Cherokee models sold in Australia exclusively use the naturally aspirated 3.6-litre Pentastar petrol V6.
This produces 210 kW of power and 344 Nm of torque. Jeep says it would be “feasible” to install its new, more powerful inline-six in the Grand Cherokee, but refrained from confirming such an addition.
Meanwhile, the most powerful Grand Cherokee to be offered locally will be the 4xe, which combines a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with an electric motor and 17 kWh battery, for total system outputs of 280 kW and 637 Nm.
As with the three-row L, don’t expect to see a diesel even though a significant number of large SUVs still offer an oiler, with the 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel dying with the previous WK2 series.
“In this segment, I’m told that diesel…that’s what we need. If we don’t have diesel, we can’t sell,” Christian Meunier, Jeep’s global CEO, told CarExpert in September.
“I don’t believe in that kind of stuff. The market will change, right? Because diesel will disappear. Diesel is going to die.
“He will die in Europe. And because the big volume came from Europe and the European manufacturers were really, really promoting diesel.
Meunier said he sees plug-in hybrids as a good bridge in markets like Australia until there is a more favorable infrastructure for fully electric vehicles.
The defunct V6 turbo-diesel, which is being phased out by parent company Stellantis, has accounted for around 57% of WK2 Grand Cherokee sales over the years, and its absence is keenly felt in a part of the market where diesels remain popular. .
Jeep Australia relies on diesel enthusiasts to think long and hard about how much oiler capability they need.
“No doubt we will have diesel customers who will have to reconsider and figure out what they really need,” Mr Flynn told CarExpert earlier this year.
“And it’s entirely possible that in fact the vehicle still has 2800[kg braked towing capacity] will always be enough for them to correctly shoot what they need to shoot.
Mr Flynn also added that things are “moving away from diesel very, very quickly”.
The new WL, on the other hand, has a braked towing capacity of 2813kg in the Night Eagle and Limited versions and 2268kg in the Summit Reserve – down from the 3500kg figures offered by the old WK2 diesel and the big SUV like the Isuzu MU-X.
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