While horsepower-obsessed Jeep enthusiasts wait with bated breath for the upcoming Hemi V8-powered Wrangler Rubicon 392, Jeep is gracing us with this first: the plug-in hybrid 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe.
The first-ever plug-in hybrid Wrangler (and Jeep) promises to be a high-tech take on a tried-and-true American icon. The Wrangler 4xe puts down 375 total horsepower and 470 combined pound-feet of torque from a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder hooked up to an eight-speed automatic transmission and two electric motors—one located at the front of the engine where an alternator usually would be, and another in front of the transmission case where the torque converter usually sits.
Drawing juice from a 400-volt, 17.3-kWh, 96-cell lithium-ion battery placed underneath the second row of seats, the plug-in Wrangler is good for 25 miles of electric-only range and the regular gas-car equivalent of around 50 miles per gallon. Its electric charge port is located at the bottom of the driver's side A-pillar and has LEDs to indicate charge status.
Naturally, Jeep ensures that all of the Wrangler 4xe's electrical components are sealed and waterproof, allowing it to ford up to 30 inches of water.
Speaking of its off-road chops, it doesn't sound like incorporating electrics into the powertrain has hurt the Wrangler one bit in the rock-crawling department. In fact, Jeep says the 4xe's low-end electric torque actually ups the Wrangler's off-road game in addition to improving off-the-line on-road acceleration. Not that we foresee many owners racing this thing between the lights, but there ya go.
Exploring the wilderness with the open-air Wrangler in relative electric silence does sound neat, though.
The 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe comes in three variants: base, Sahara, and Rubicon. The base and Sahara versions get full-time 4x4, third-gen Dana 44 axles front and rear, a two-speed transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio, and an optional Trac-Lok rear limited-slip differential for better traction on loose and slippery surfaces.
The upmarket Rubicon, meanwhile, takes all of that and adds Tru-Lok electric axle lockers front and rear, a two-speed transfer case with a low-range gear ratio of 4:1, and boasts a crawl ratio of 77.2:1. Approach, breakover, and departure angles measure 44, 22.5, and 35.6 degrees, respectively, while ground clearance sits at 10.8 inches.
Par for the plug-in course, the Wrangler 4xe features regenerative braking and drive modes that let the driver dictate between prioritizing electric, gas, or a strategic mix of both—a hybrid, if you will.
Jeep says the 2021 Wrangler 4xe will hit dealerships by early next year. In addition to a new plug-in Jeep, prospective owners can look forward to 4xe-specific Mopar parts and accessories including a 2-inch lift kit, beadlock-capable wheels, off-road bumpers, off-road lights, rock rails, and, most importantly perhaps, a 240-volt at-home wall charger.
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