The most powerful Wrangler you can buy just so happens to be a hybrid.
Jeep will ford the plug-in hybrid river with this, the 2021 Wrangler 4xe. The electrified version of the brand’s icon debuted early Thursday morning alongside the large Grand Wagoneer Concept, which also carries a plug-in hybrid powertrain.
The Wrangler 4xe will serve as the new range-topper for the lovable off-roader. Using Jeep’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder plus two electric motors, it delivers a combined 375 hp to all four wheels via an eight-speed auto. Torque is an EcoDiesel-besting 470 lb-ft of twist. Jeep is also promising up to 25 miles (40 km) of EV-only range, and 50 MPGe (4.7 Le/100km).
SEE ALSO: 2020 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Review
Jeep has gone with a 400-volt, 17-kWh lithium ion battery pack for the 4xe. The 96-cell pack is mounted underneath the rear seats, which can flip up for easy access. Encased in aluminum, the battery pack features a dedicated heating and cooling unit to ensure optimal performance. This being a Jeep, the company has sealed and waterproofed all the pricey electronic bits so that the Wrangler 4xe can still ford 30 inches (76 cm) of water.
Blue’s the clue
The 2021 Wrangler 4xe uses flashes of electric blue inside and out to mark it out amongst the rest of the range. You’ll find the hue on the Rubicon’s tow hooks, on the brand and Trail Rated badges, and outlining the Rubicon name on the hood.
Inside buyers will find the same color showing up for the contrast stitching. Two interior trim options will be available: black and tan cloth, and black and Dark Saddle leather.
Selectable drive modes
With the hybrid powertrain, Jeep is adding three E Selec driving modes to the Wrangler 4xe. Hybrid uses both electric and gas power, favoring the former and bringing the latter in for support when the charge gets low. Electric mode does as you’d expect: it sticks to electrons until the battery is either empty or the driver goes wide-open throttle. Lastly there’s eSave, which prioritizes the four-pot. In this mode, drivers can choose to simply save the battery’s current charge, or use the gas engine to charge it.
A standard Eco Coaching page of the Uconnect infotainment system can teach drivers how to get the most out of the 4xe, as well as schedule charging times.
SEE ALSO: 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara Diesel Review
The 4xe also features regenerative braking. Engaging 4×4 mode increases regen, and drivers also have the option of selecting the Max Regen feature, which is Jeep’s take on one-pedal driving.
Still an off-roader—just silently
It wouldn’t be a Jeep if it couldn’t effortlessly scale a small mountain. The 2021 Wrangler 4xe will come in three available trims, all with standard four-wheel drive: “base”, Sahara, and Rubicon. All three share Dana 44 axles front and rear and two-speed transfer cases. The Rubicon features a 4:1 low-range; the 4xe and Sahara use a 2.72:1 ratio. A Trac-Lok limited-slip rear differential is also optional.
SEE ALSO: 2020 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk Review: Son of Wrangler
The Rubicon 4xe adopts the Tru-Lok electric axle lockers and electronic front axle sway-bar disconnect feature from the gas-only Rubicon. It also features the Selec-Speed Control system for heading up or down steep grades. Rubicon models feature reinforced skid plates, rear tow hooks, and dedicated 33-inch off-road tires. The Rubicon 4xe gives little away to its gas sibling in terms of off-roading angles: its approach angle is the same 44 degrees, with a 5.3-degree decrease in breakover (to 22.5) and 1.4-degree decrease in departure (to 35.6).
Accessories and availability
Jeep and Mopar are promising a wide range of dedicated 4xe accessories when the hybrid Wrangler touches down. This incluses a 240-volt at home EV wall charger, which will be available on Amazon.com as well as with brick-and-mortar suppliers.
The Wrangler will act as the lead for the 4xe badge, going on sale globally early 2021. After that, Europe will see the addition of the Renegade and Compass 4xe models in the summer.
North American pricing for the 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe will be announced closer to its on-sale date.