The first batch of Jeep Grand Cherokee L models are arriving at dealerships this week, packing a third row for the first time in the history of the nameplate. Of course that now means that attention has shifted to the conventional two row version of the Grand Cherokee, which itself is slated to arrive for the 2022 model year. The two-row may be a bit smaller than its new sibling, but it may bring some new surprises of its own. While we already know that a hybrid variant of the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee is a forgone conclusion, it’s possible the 4xe might not be the only one. As SEMA points out in a new report, the long-awaited Tornado inline-six could also be joining the lineup.
2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee: More Than One Hybrid?
The 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe is the hybrid SUV we expect to arrive when the new two-row debuts. That vehicle’s hybrid powertrain is likely to be borrowed from the current Wrangler 4xe. That means a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine and two electric motors, which combine for 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque in Wrangler 4xe spec. This is a traditional plug-in system, with recent spy shots highlighting charging ports on the SUV’s flanks. That said, it isn’t the only hybrid powertrain that has reportedly been in the works.
Rumors have persisted for years about a turbocharged inline-six cylinder engine being developed at FCA. Early reports related to the mysterious powertrain go back several, with a patent for the “Tornado” engine design finally being approved by the USPTO back in April of 2019. The Tornado inline-six is based on the familiar Hurricane 2.0L engine, and is thought to be a more efficient replacement for the 5.7L Hemi V8. SEMA’s sources believe it could even come paired with a 48V mild hybrid system, as well as a new electric-drive ZF eight-speed automatic. They’ve gone a step further to suggest that it will eventually end up inside the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee, and presumably other models in the automaker’s portfolio.
It’s likely that a similar application could be headed for the Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger muscle car twins, as well as the Dodge Durango SUV. Dodge plans to “reinvent the muscle car” after all, and this could be the powertrain that is a part of that plan.
An Electric Era
If Stellantis decided not to put the kibosh on the Tornado inline-six project during the merger, that’s quite possible. But it is also important to note that rolling out a new gasoline engine isn’t exactly in line with industry sentiments as of late. Jeep and their parent company have been quite clear about the electric vehicle intentions, with which a mild hybrid might not jive. That said, if the hybrid system is able to come together and improve efficiency in the 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee, there may still be a case for it yet.