Jeeps with plugs: Renegade, Compass and Grand Cherokee 4xe PHEV models for NZ

David Linklater
  • Sign in required

    Please sign in to your account to add a vehicle to favourite

  • Share this article

Left to right: Jeep Renegade, Compass and Grand Cherokee 4xe models.

Left to right: Jeep Renegade, Compass and Grand Cherokee 4xe models.

Suddenly, Jeep New Zealand is all about electric vehicles. The brand’s Kiwi distributor, Ateco Automotive, is about to launch its first-ever Jeep EVs. There are now plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) versions of three familiar models: the Renegade compact-SUV, Compass mid-sizer and the flagship Grand Cherokee (pictured from left to right, above).

PHEVs combine a conventional petrol engine with a plug-in battery that gives pure-electric driving for short distances; when the battery is depleted, the car reverts to petrol-electric hybrid operation.

While the Jeep 4xe (say it “4 by e”, like 4x4) models are new to NZ, the Renegade and Compass were unveiled internationally back in 2020. The Grand Cherokee is more recent: it appeared last year, as a 2023 model.

The Renegade model line has been absent from NZ since 2018; the new $69,990 Limited 4xe is now the sole model available, and yes, it qualifies for a Clean Car Discount (and will continue to do so when the rules change in July, albeit a reduced one).

The Compass S Limited 4xe (above) is the new flagship of the range, sitting above the conventional Night Eagle and S Limited versions. At $77,490 it’s $22,500 more expensive than the equivalent petrol-only model, although it also dips under the $80k Clean Car Discount cap to qualify for a rebate.

The Grand Cherokee 4xe comes only in top Summit Reserve trim, at a heady $154,990. It’s also only available in five-seat form: the PHEV technology has not been integrated into the L seven-seat model as yet and may not be.

There are still petrol-only V6 versions of the Grand Cherokee Night Eagle and Overland ($92,990-$112,900), although these may eventually move to the 4xe powertrain when they are available from the factory.

While the basic PHEV concept and badging is shared across all three models, the Renegade and Compass are a little different to the Grand Cherokee.

The smaller models have a 132kW 1.3-litre petrol engine (shared with sister brand Fiat) driving the front wheels and a 44kW electric motor at the back (combined torque 270Nm). So in EV mode they are rear-drive, but in hybrid operation they offer AWD.

The 11.4kWh plug-in battery is the same in both; it offers a claimed 49km EV range.

The Grand Cherokee 4xe has a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine, large 17.3kWh battery and two electric motors: one used as a starter-generator and the other integrated into the eight-speed transmission (combined power 280kW/637Nm). It’s more conventional to drive (it has gears in EV mode, for example), is more durable and can perform off-road as a full EV if desired. That’s something the Renegade and Compass can’t manage.

With a full charge, Jeep claims the Grand Cherokee 4xe can cover 52km as an electric vehicle.

The powertrain is essentially the same as that used in the Wrangler 4xe – which Jeep NZ says it would love to have, but strong demand in the US and the lack of right-hand drive supply right now mean it’s off the table for the time being.

But there is also potential for Jeep NZ to have its first pure-electric model here by the end of the year. Ateco is keen to launch the Avenger compact-SUV, which is available as a battery electric vehicle (BEV).

Underneath, it’s closely related to the Peugeot e-2008 and Opel Mokka-e, both sister brands to Jeep under its Stellantis parent company, and offers a 54kWh battery and front-drive, with a range of around 400km.

An AWD Avenger 4xe is also planned by the factory for 2024.

Keep up to date with DRIVEN Car Guide

Sign up for the latest news, reviews, our favourite cars and more.

By signing up for this newsletter, you agree to NZME's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.