Around the holidays sometimes, noteworthy stories slip quietly through the cycle. In December, Jeep dropped the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 option from the two-row 2023 Grand Cherokee but didn’t make a big announcement or issue a press release.
Mopar Insiders reached out to Jeep, which told the publication only that “the Hemi V8 is no longer available in the two-row configuration.” After the release of its new Hurricane V6, it’s not surprising to see Jeep cut the V8 option, but the only engine available for two-row Grand Cherokees is the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6. It’s not a bad powerplant, but it lacks the power and torque of the new Hurricane inline six.
New engines are exciting, but the reality is that increasing regulation and attention on fuel economy likely played more of a role in this decision. Cutting the V8, which delivered 14/22/17 mpg city/highway/combined, and leaving the Pentastar, which returns 18/25/21 mpg with four-wheel drive, will help Jeep boost its average fuel economy numbers while it figures out electrification.
The shift makes the Grand Cherokee 4xe Jeep’s flagship powertrain for two-row models. It offers 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque, which betters the outgoing V8’s output on both accounts, and comes standard with four-wheel drive. Jeep notes 25 miles of all-electric range and up to 56 MPGe for the SUV, making it one of the most efficient in its class.
Jeep didn’t completely remove the Hemi from its catalog. The 5.7-liter engine is still available in some Grand Cherokee L three-row models and the Wagoneer. The Grand Wagoneer gets a 6.4-liter engine that makes 471 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque. If Jeep were to offer it in the standard Grand Cherokee two-row, the new Hurricane twin-turbo V6 would have no trouble replacing the outgoing Hemi V8’s power. It makes up to 510 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque – far better than the Hemi’s 357 ponies and 390 pounds of torque.