It has been reported by multiple outlets and confirmed by the Jeep brand that the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 is not available in the 2023 Grand Cherokee in its shorter, two-row form. The only engine available in the “Build and Price” feature on the Jeep website for the Grand Cherokee is the 3.6-liter V6, although the Grand Cherokee 4xe – which is listed as its own model on the consumer website – is also available with the powerful hybrid drivetrain. Also, dealers cannot place orders for a 2023 Grand Cherokee with the Hemi, so it appears as though we have seen the end of the V8 in the standard Jeep Grand Cherokee.
While this is generally disappointing to those of us who enjoy the power and characteristics of the V8 engine, it does not come as a huge surprise. Well, it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, anyway. Brand executives have stated in the past that the days of the Hemi-powered Jeep were getting shorter and with the corporation being pounded with fuel economy-based federal fines in recent years (with the possibility of more in the future), we all knew that this day was coming, but many of us expected there to be a bit more fanfare with the end of the V8-powered Grand Cherokee.
It should be noted that the 5.7-liter Hemi is still available in the larger Grand Cherokee L as well as in the base model Wagoneer, so prospective Jeep buyers who demand V8 power do have an option…for now, anyway.
2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee Engines
The standard engine across the entire non-hybrid 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee lineup is the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, which delivers 293 horsepower and 257 lb-ft of torque. The 5.7-liter Hemi offered 357 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque, so buyers are losing a little horsepower and a ton of torque with the move to the standard V6.
Jeep’s answer to Grand Cherokee buyers who want more power is the 4xe model, with the turbocharged 4-cylinder hybrid delivering 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. In addition to offering some all-electric driving range, the 4xe drivetrain provides more horsepower, more torque and better low-end acceleration than the Hemi while also offering better fuel economy figures. The key measurable advantage of the Hemi over the 4xe hybrid drive is that the V8 offered up to 7,200 pounds of towing capacity while the hybrid can only pull 6,000 pounds.
Again, if you want a 2023 Grand Cherokee and you insist on having the Hemi, the Grand Cherokee L is still offered with the V8 for now, but that model is obviously a little bigger and costs a touch more.
The Push for Efficiency
The demise of the Hemi-powered Jeep Grand Cherokee is disappointing, but as the automotive industry is shoved towards an electric future by the federal government, the brand is working to preserve some gasoline-powered models in the lineup. At the same time, the company needs those gasoline-powered models to be as fuel efficient as possible in order to help reduce the company’s overall fleet fuel economy average.
The fleet fuel economy average is the figure on which federal CAFE fines are handed out and in recent years, Stellantis has been hit hard while still under the FCA name. The company was fined $77 million for missing the required mark for the 2016 model year in early 2019 and $79 million for the 2017 model year in late 2019. All of the red tape surrounding the process takes years to get through, but there is a possibility that the company will face more of these multi-million dollar fines for other model years since 2017. There are ways for companies that fail to meet the required CAFE number to buy credits that allow them to avoid fines, but that also costs money, so in the long run, Stellantis is likely going to be paying more in CAFE fines in the next few years…and it gets worse. Those fines of $77 million and $79 million were handed out with a fine rate of around $5 per unit, buy for the 2022 model year, the fines climb to $15 per unit of violation. In other words, if an automaker misses the CAFE number in 2022 by the same number that FCA missed it in 2016, that company will be fined somewhere in the area of $231 million dollars.
Some people insist that automakers are making the move to hybrids and EVs to push the green initiative, but the bigger issue from a business perspective is literally hundreds of millions of dollars in fines for not meeting federal fuel economy requirements.
The good news is that the new Hurricane inline-six engine family that debuted in the 2023 Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer lineup should make its way to the Grand Cherokee in the not-so-distant future. The Hurricane 6 is offered in two varieties in the Grand Wagoneer, with the version which effectively replaced the 5.7-liter Hemi offering 420 horsepower and 468 lb-ft of torque. The I6 offers plenty of power without much lag, so in terms of performance, it comfortably outshines the V8, but nothing will replace the sound and feel of that Hemi.