The Open-Air Freedom and Off-Road Capability We Expect, With More Power, Range, and Efficiency That We Want
by Bryon Dorr
Updated on September 3, 2020. In Automotive News
What’s not to like about more horsepower, more torque, more range, more fuel economy, and the same open-air freedom and off-road capability that we expect? The 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe plug-in-hybrid (PHEV) is going to be all of that and more when it hits U.S. dealerships in early 2021.
“Our Jeep 4xe vehicles will be the most efficient, responsible and capable that the brand has ever created. We are committed to make Jeep the greenest SUV brand. The electrification of the Jeep lineup will allow commuters to travel solely on electric power, delivering an efficient and fun on-road experience and offering an ability to enjoy even more Jeep capability off-road in nearly complete silence.” – said Christian Meunier, Global President of Jeep Brand – FCA.
2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe
With over 1.4 million validation miles around the globe, Jeep was not messing around when it was testing the Wrangler 4xe. This latest Wrangler variant will offer a PHEV powertrain and be offered in base Wrangler, Sahara, and Rubicon trim levels. What you get is the same optional open-air freedom that we all love from the Wrangler, and the option to enjoy near-silent running by way of a pure-electric powertrain.
The 4xe version of the Wrangler adds 500-pounds to the vehicle (over the 3.6L gas version). Most of that weight is located under the rear seats, in the form of a 400V, 17 kwh, 96-cell Samsung battery pack. This battery location keeps the weight low without impeding ground clearance, while also protecting the batteries from the outside elements. It also manages to preserve nearly identical interior space as the standard Wrangler. We all know the Wrangler doesn’t’ have any interior volume to give up, as it’s pretty cramped already.
While the weight is up a bit, so is the power. With the 2021 Wrangler 4xe you get 470 lb.-ft. of torque and 375 hp. Those are impressive numbers, and big bumps over the other powertrain options. That power will come in handy both on the highway and when tackling tough off-road terrain.
The First Trail Rated EV
The 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe is Trail Rated, like all Wranglers. That means that it has been tested hard to withstand and have the capability to tackle tough off-road terrain. You still get solid axels, a full-time 2-speed 4×4 transfer case, and 30-inches of water fording capability.
The Wranger 4xe Rubicon gets the same clearance as the gas-powered Rubicon, at 10.8-inches. The rest of the 4xe Wrangler lineup offers a still very respectable 10.4-inches of ground clearance.
A cool new feature on the 4xe is Select Speed Control. The system is basically cruise control for 4Lo off-road travel. While that might sound absurd to hardcore off-road enthusiasts, it will come in handy for many off-road novices.
Jeep 4xe Drive Modes
The 4xe offers three drive modes; Hybrid, Electric, and E-Save. Hybrid mode uses a combination of the turbocharged 2.0L 4-cyl engine and the 4xe’s two electric motors to propel the car, to a nearly 400-mile range.
Electric mode offers up to 25 miles of near-silent electric-only driving. In Electric mode, the gas engine is only engaged when max toque is requested with a wide-open-throttle or the batteries reach a minimum charge level.
The E-Save mode allows the hybrid system to heavily favor the gasoline engine, saving the battery charge for future electric power needs. This mode would be particularly handy if cruising down the highway to an off-road wilderness destination. You could burn fuel on the highway and then use electrons when in the wilderness to easily tackle obstacles with the instant torque and more easily sneak up on wildlife.
Besides the impressive range and electric-only driving modes you can also expect an estimated 50 MPGe range. The 8-speed TorqueFlight automatic transmission helps make this happen, and is a robust quality transmission. Sadly there is no manual transmission option on the Wrangler 4xe.
Jeep’s Global Electric Vehicle Program
The Jeep 4xe global electric vehicle lineup started with the Grand Commander PHEV in China last year. It will also include the Renegade and Compass 4xe models next year. These new models will get up to 240 hp and 31-miles of pure electric range. Sadly we don’t get those models just yet, but they will arrive in Europe this summer.
Production of the 2021 Wrangler 4xe will start in December, with the first deliveries scheduled for early 2021. Not only will we get this vehicle here in the U.S., but Europe and China will get it at the same time. To keep up to date with all things Wrangler 4xe check out Jeep’s Website.
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