It’s been 30 years since the Jeep® brand introduced the Grand Cherokee. Since then, the popular SUV has become the industry benchmark thanks to its uncompromised capability and upscale amenities.
Today, the Grand Cherokee lineup is extended to an entire family of vehicles, that includes the two-row Grand Cherokee that we have come to love, a three-row variant called the Grand Cherokee L, and an electrified two-row Grand Cherokee 4xe that delivers 56 MPGe and 25 miles of all-electric range.
For those who have opted for more performance and more towing capability, the Grand Cherokee has offered V8 power since its introduction in 1992. That includes optional 5.7-liter (345 cubic-inch) HEMI V8 power under its hood since 2005.
So what happened to the HEMI V8 on the two-row Grand Cherokee?
But in the past weeks, those who have been trying to configure a two-row Grand Cherokee with a 5.7-liter HEMI on the Jeep.com Build & Price configurator have noticed the option has disappeared. Dealers have also said that they have not been able to order two-row (WL74) models with HEMIs for the past couple of months.
We reached out to Jeep to find answers and got a simple response stating that “the HEMI V8 is no longer available in the two-row configuration.”
That leaves the two-row Grand Cherokee to either be powered by the all-aluminum 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 delivering 293 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque as the only all-gasoline engine option. The Pentastar does deliver some impressive numbers with a towing capacity of up to 6,200 pounds (2,812 kg) and an estimated class-leading driving range of more than 500 miles.
But those looking for more power in the two-row model, have to step up to the Grand Cherokee 4xe. The 4xe combines two electric motors, a 400-volt battery pack, a 2.0-liter turbocharged, four-cylinder engine, and TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic transmission that delivers a combined 375 horsepower and 470 lb.-ft. of torque.
With all that added power from two electrified motors, you think the Grand Cherokee 4xe would out tow the Pentastar V6, but you would be wrong as it has a max towing capability of 6,000 lbs. (2,720 kg).
Now, after doing some research, there are still a few dozen HEMI V8 two-row models left in dealer inventories across the U.S. But they are going fast.
You can still order a HEMI V8, but you need to move up to a Grand Cherokee L!
Fortunately, there is another option. If you are willing to step up to the three-row Grand Cherokee L (WL75) model, you can still opt for the HEMI V8 for the time being. On the Grand Cherokee L, the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 makes 357 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of torque with a best-in-class towing capacity of up to 7,200 lbs (3,265 kg).
All HEMI-powered Grand Cherokee L models do require four-wheel drive (4×4) and are only available on Overland or higher models.
While the HEMI Grand Cherokee L isn’t the best fuel-efficient vehicle in its class, it does still have an EPA rating of 14 MPG City / 22 MPG HWY / 17 MPG Combined. Although Jeep does recommend the HEMI V8 to use unleaded mid-grade, 89-octane fuel, it is rated to accept unleaded regular, 87-octane fuel too. Saving a few dollars at the pump.
A twin-turbo Hurricane engine in the future?
According to our sources, Jeep is preparing to drop the HEMI completely from the Grand Cherokee lineup by 2025. Instead, the 5.7-liter HEMI will more than likely be replaced with the new twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter Hurricane I6 standard output (S.O.) engine.
Currently available in the 2023 Jeep Wagoneer and Wagoneer L, the Hurricane S.O. engine delivers an outstanding 420 horsepower and 468 lb.-ft. of torque.
The Hurricane engines were developed to ultimately replace most of the HEMI V8 lineup while delivering more power, improved fuel economy, and fewer emissions.
While Jeep has yet to confirm the introduction of the Hurricane engine in the Grand Cherokee lineup, Jeep CEO Christian Meunier has hinted at the subject during several interviews over the past year.