Jeep hasn’t made it a secret that they’re launching an electrified powertrain dubbed 4xe. We just weren’t sure which vehicles would get the powertrain, what that powertrain would consist and what (if anything) would be coming to the U.S. With the reveal of the 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe, we have some answers.
First, by “electrified” right now, Jeep means plug-in hybrid – not full electric.
And second, before we get into Wrangler 4xe specifics, know right now, there will be a Renegade 4xe and Compass 4xe that the U.S. won’t get. Yet.
Other than that and the “electric” blue accents, here’s the most important stuff you need to know about the 4xe we will get.
25 miles of all-electric range
Ok, I know you die-hard truck guys are rolling your eyes right now, saying: “25 miles of all-electric range? BFD.” Well, it is a BFD, and here’s why: The gasoline version with the same engine, gets a stingy 21 MPG in combined driving, whereas the Wrangler 4xe will get 50 MPGe.
Now, when you consider a lot of people buy the Wrangler as an everyday driver (and a sometime off-roader) and the fact the average commute is 30 miles round trip, that means the average person will only be using 5 miles worth of gas per day. Frankly, that will probably be a lot less in the post-Covid era when more people work remotely.
Jeep hasn’t said how long it will take to charge the 400-volt, 17-kWh, 96-cell lithium-ion, nickel manganese cobalt battery pack, but considering that other vehicles with similar range take around 5 hours to charge, we anticipate the Wrangler 4xe will take about that long as well.
The fuel tank is dinky
It’s apparently a good thing the Wrangler 4xe will get 50 MPGe because the fuel tank is a lot smaller than the gasoline model – 4.3 gallons smaller to be exact. While Jeep doesn’t explicitly state it, this is likely due to the size of the battery pack and other electric components. Plus, higher MPGs mean less fuel is needed.
In addition to the high MPGs, another saving grace will be the eSave mode, which will prioritize engine usage and save the battery for less efficient driving – like in the city or stop-and-go traffic. When in eSave mode, you can also choose to save or charge the battery while driving.
It’s also worth noting you might not miss that 4.3 gallons of tank if you pay attention to the Eco Coaching pages, which will let owners monitor power flow and regenerative braking effects to drive as efficiently as possible.
Another thing worth noting: Cargo volume doesn’t suffer too much, so if you needed to cart some extra fuel for a long day off-roading, it shouldn’t be a problem. Be sure to check out our spec-by-spec comparison if you want all the details.
More total power than gas-only model
One of the huge benefits of electric anything is more power and instantaneous torque. And the Wrangler 4xe has both of those in spades.
The plug-in hybrid version will have the same 2.0-liter, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine as the gasoline model, but it adds 2 electric motors and will deliver combined total power outputs of 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. That’s 105 horsepower and 175 pound-feet of torque more than that gas-only model.
Still really capable off road
The whole gas tank thing aside, the new Wrangler 4xe goes toe to toe with the gasoline version in terms of clearances, measurements and capabilities.
Let’s look at the Rubicon models as an example. Clearances are close if not spot-on exact (4xe/gas):
- Approach angle: 43.8/43.9 degrees
- Breakover angle: 22.5/22.6 degrees
- Departure angle: 35.6/37 degrees
- Ground clearance: 10.8/10.8 inches
And lest you worry about the electrification marring any water fording potential, Jeep points out the high-voltage electronics are sealed and waterproof, and the charge port is located on the front left cowl (above the water line). Thus, the 4xe is capable of fording up to 30 inches of water – just like the gasoline model.
On sale by early 2021
It’s still early days for the Wrangler 4xe, and though we have detailed specs and we know this is a 2021 model, we don’t have a lot else. We don’t know an exact drop date, and we don’t know pricing.
We can assume “early” means Q1. And since a non-luxury plug-in hybrid commands about a $4k premium over its gasoline counterpart, I would anticipate a starting price of around $33K for the base model and something closer to $50K for the Rubicon.
The bottom line on the Wrangler 4xe
I’ve heard at least one truck guy call the Wrangler 4xe “lame as hell.” But I beg to differ.
You sacrifice nothing by making the swap to a plug-in hybrid, and you gain A LOT. You get more power, better fuel economy and darn similar off-road capabilities. You don’t lose much interior volume because of the cleverly placed battery pack under the second-row seat. Plus, I’m totally loving the electric blue accents.
The only true unknown will be the pricing. As long as Jeep doesn’t make it completely unaffordable, everything about this is win-win-win.
So, I’ll see your “lame as hell,” truck guy, and raise you a “cool AF.”