Jeep continues to expand their Wrangler lineup, this time by going green with their first-ever Wrangler plug-in gasoline-electric hybrid option coming in 2021. Called the Wrangler 4xe, the hybrid joins the Wrangler’s other powertrain options like the 285-hp 3.6 -liter V-6, the 260-hp turbo-diesel 3.0-liter V-6, and the 270-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, but much like the turbo-diesel, the 4xe will only be available in the 4-door Wrangler models. This is completely understandable considering the amount of space required to fit the necessary components for a state-of-the-art, off-road-ready plug-in hybrid.
Under the Hood
Below you’ll learn just how ready the 4xe is to taming the outdoors in an eco-friendly way, but for now, let’s talk power. The new plug-in hybrid Wrangler knocks it out of the park compared to its non hybrid counterparts boasting a combined 375-hp and 470 lbs.-ft of torque. Those numbers are good ways above the gasoline-powered models, including the diesel 3-liter V-6 that clocks in at 442 lbs.-ft. How is this possible? Technology. The 4xe mounts an electric motor at the front of its turbocharged 2-liter inline-four and a second electric motor mounted at the front of the 8-speed automatic transmission.
The electrified off-roader’s electric motor is a 17-kWh lithium-ion-nickel-manganese-cobalt battery pack and will obviously be the most fuel-efficient model getting an estimated 50 MPGe. While not tested in public yet, the new electric-only mode in the 4xe powertrain is said to be able to achieve 25 miles of electric-only driving. The electric-only mode is only one of three selection settings that can be activated via buttons on the left-hand side of the dash next to the steering wheel. There is also a Hybrid mode that does the typical hybrid thing and blends both gas and electric sources. Then there is what Jeep is calling the “eSave” mode which is programmed to rely on the gasoline engine, saving the battery life until you want it.
More electric features to find in the 2021 Wrangler 4xe is regenerative braking which is a system that blends traditional friction brakes with the mac amount of regen when the driver hits the brakes. The 4-wheel-drive system in the 4xe also contributes to battery regen. Jeep definitely wants to have its bases covered to allow you to get the most out of your plug-in hybrid Wrangler.
One highlight to note is the placement of the battery pack underneath the back seat. This allows the Wrangler 4xe to maintain the same ground clearance and off-road capabilities people have grown accustomed to in a Wrangler.
There are bound to be a few Prius jokes thrown around the new 4xe but rest assured, the electric Wrangler is just as capable off-road as the gasoline or diesel versions. The 2021 Wrangler 4xe comes with a pair of solid Dana 44 axels, 10.8 inches of ground clearance, the capability to ford up to 30 inches of water, and a 2-speed transfer case that enables full-time 4-wheel drive. If the whole water and electric battery thing makes you a bit nervous, don’t be. Jeep has come out and said that all of the electrified Wrangler’s high-voltage components are completely sealed and waterproof.
Styling That’s Electrifying
You’ll be able to tell who is going green with the new 2021 Wrangler 4xe by the Electric Blue accent lights on the exterior of the Jeep. On the more rugged Rubicon model, the blue hue is applied to the front and rear two hooks as well as around the exterior badges the hood decal. The Electric Blue accent can be found on the inside as well in the stitching on the seats and trim panels but other than that the interior is the same layout and option-wise as the rest of the Wrangler lineup.
We don’t have a price quite yet, as Jeep hasn’t announced pricing, but we do know it’ll be offered in the base, Sahara, and Rubicon trim levels. Keep an eye out at DickHannahJeep.com and on our Facebook page for more updates on the 2021 Wrangler 4xe and when we get the first wave of the electric Jeep off the trucks and in the showroom.