2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe Plug-In Hybrid First Look: Photos, Specs, and More!
Jeep continues to expand the powertrain lineup of its Wrangler SUV with the arrival of a gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid option for 2021. Dubbed the 4xe (which is pronounced “four-by-E”), the latest powertrain Wrangler joins the 285 horsepower of the 3.6-liter V6, 270-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo and 260-horsepower 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V6. As with the latter engine, Jeep limits the 4xe kit strictly to four-door Wrangler models.
2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe: Plug it in in Before Go Outside
Thanks to the combined effects of its 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and two electric motors, (a 44 hp starter-generator in the engine compartment – dubbed eTorque by Jeep – and a second 134 hp unit integrated into the automatic transmission eight-speed), the 4xe produces a peak of 375bhp, 90 more than the next most powerful engine in the Wrangler. Torque, meanwhile, peaks at 470 lb-ft. That’s an extra 28 lb-ft of twist over the available diesel engine, which is truly impressive.
The 4xe’s extra growl comes with a weight penalty, however. Tipping the scales at around 5,000 pounds, the lightest Wrangler 4xe carries over 830 pounds more than the lightest four-door Wrangler, the Sport V-6 with an eight-speed automatic. Blame the extra electrified elements, including the 17kWh lithium-ion battery that Jeep tucks under the 4xe’s rear seats, a space that the brand claims to protect it better from the elements – Jeep notes that the Wrangler 4xe matches the ability of its siblings to cross the 30 inch water mark. The redesigned rear seat bottoms now tilt forward for easy access to the heavy battery.
On a full charge, Jeep expects the Wrangler 4xe to provide up to 25 miles of all-electric range. Likewise, the brand predicts that the SUV will handle 50 MPGe once its gasoline engine kicks in. Plan to set aside around 12 hours to fully charge the discharged 4xe battery using the standard 110-volt charging cable, by Jeep. This time drops to about two hours when plugged into a 240 volt Level 2 charger.
2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe: Drive Fashionable
With the exception of its hood-mounted charging port, model-specific badges, and the occasional bits of electric blue trim, the Wrangler 4xe is almost identical to its strictly gasoline and diesel parents. Step into the SUV, however, and the Wrangler 4xe reveals its true colors. Accompanying its electric blue stitching, the PHEV all-terrain vehicle receives an instrument panel-mounted charge indicator, a model-specific gauge cluster and separate infotainment system menus. Additionally, the Wrangler plug-in contains various 4xe-specific drive settings that are aimed at getting the most out of the SUV’s gasoline-electric powertrain.
Dubbed E Selec, the configuration offers three driving modes: hybrid, which serves as the SUV’s default configuration and uses both gasoline and electric power as needed); Electric, which avoids using the gasoline engine until the battery has exhausted its charge; and eSave, which offers the driver the option of maintaining the current battery charge or using the gasoline engine to increase the battery charge. There is also a Max Regen function, which increases the amount of regenerative braking of electric motors.
2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe: Track Note
Despite its efficiency-focused powertrain, the Wrangler 4xe promises to offer the same overall capabilities as other four-door Wranglers. In fact, the 10.1 inches of ground clearance of the entry-level 4xe models and the top-class 4xe Sahara models improves on the 9.7 and 10.0 inch figures of other Wrangler Sports and Saharas. For its part, the 10.8-inch ground clearance of the even more off-road-oriented 4xe Rubicon matches that of its less powerful Wrangler Rubicon comrades.
Like other Wranglers, the 4xe comes standard with Dana stock four-wheel drive and solid axles at both ends. Jeep’s Selec-Trac permanent four-wheel drive system comes standard on the 4xe and 4xe Sahara versions, with the brand installing its more robust Rock-Trac system on the 4xe Rubicon. Both configurations feature a two-speed transfer case, the first with a low range ratio of 2.7: 1 and the second a shorter ratio of 4.0: 1.
Heavy-duty front and rear tow hooks and a handful of skid plates ensure that all Wrangler 4xe models remain worthy of the Jeep “Trail Rated” badge that Jeep affixes to the model, even though the standard 20-inch wheels of the SUV seem far from ideal for off-tarmac travel. Those looking for better off-road performance should look to the 4xe Rubicon and its standard 17-inch wheels wrapped in knotty 33-inch tires.
Jeep Wrangler 4xe 2021: date and price of sale
The effects of the 4xe’s extra pounds on the Wrangler, on-road and off-road, remain a mystery until we get a chance to get behind the wheel. Nonetheless, Jeep is convinced that the added growl of the hybrid powertrain, along with the near instantaneous thrust of the electric motors, will make the 4xe a great tool for city trips and rough trails.
As for the price, expect the 4xe to cost a pretty dime. While Jeep has yet to release an MSRP for the model, we expect it to start well north of $ 40,000 when it goes on sale at the end of the year. That’s way more than the starting $ 33,290 for the 2020 Jeep Wrangler Sport four-door.