America's legendary off-roader goes electric.
For the first time ever, there's a Jeep Wrangler plug-in hybrid. Welcome to 21st-century off-roading. The 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe has arrived as the automaker continues to expand its plug-in hybrid lineup in Europe and now the US. The Jeep Renegade 4xe and Compass 4xe went on sale overseas during the summer and the Wrangler 4xe will join them. Of the three, only the Wrangler 4xe will be sold in America.
Although it looks like the current generation Wrangler Unlimited from the outside, the four-door-only 4xe model packs an advanced turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder combustion engine connected to two electric motors and a 400-volt, 17 kWh battery pack. The latter is mounted beneath the second-row seat. Total output is an estimated 350 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque.
To compare, the V6-powered Wrangler boasts 285 hp and 260 lb-ft while the 2.0 turbo four has 270 hp and 295 lb-ft. The 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 provides 260 hp and 442 lb-ft.
Impressively, the new plug-in powertrain can go up to 25 miles on pure electric power and deliver more than 50 MPGe. A TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic is the only transmission available. But don't think Jeep has gone soft in the off-road department here. Quite the opposite.
The 4x4 drivetrain receives instant torque thanks to an electric motor, allowing for more precise control for climbing and rock crawling. Drivers will no longer have to build up engine rpm just to get the tires moving.
An optional Trak-Lok limited-slip differential gives additional grip in low-traction driving conditions, like sand and snow. A total of three models will be offered: 4xe, Sahara 4xe, and Rubicon 4xe.
The first two come standard with a full-time 4x4 system, 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio, front and rear Dana 44 axles, and a Selec-Trac two-speed transfer case. The Rubicon 4xe, however, boasts the Rock-Trac 4x4 system with a 4:1 gear ratio, Tru-Lok electric front- and rear-axle lockers, and a crawl ratio of 77.2:1.
All Wrangler 4xe models come with Selec-Speed Control with Hill-ascent and descent control, and 30 inches of water fording capability. And yes, the Wrangler 4xe proudly wears a 'Trail Rated' badge. The familiar skid plates and front and rear tow hooks haven't been left behind.
The Wrangler Rubicon 4xe is available in 10 exterior colors with 17-inch off-road wheels and 33-inch tires while the lower trims have 20-inch wheels. All three trims feature unique electric blue coloring on those front tow hooks. Blue coloring also traces the Rubicon name on the hood and Jeep and Trail Rated badges. A black hood decal with "4xe" is there as well. The interior has electric blue stitching but is otherwise unchanged, though there are two trim color options.
Sales will get underway by early next year and pricing should be announced closer to that time.