Auto review by Veeno Dewan
The venerable Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon is the go-to for affordable superbly capable 4×4 off roaders. With two and four-door models and convertible options, the Jeep is not only much loved, its retro styling is still winning customers. Over time, the Wrangler has morphed into a supreme performance off – roader with V6 and four-cylinder models, plus hardcore rock-crawling Rubicon versions that have extra ground clearance with off-ready tires and upgraded suspension.
And now the biggest surprise of all! For 2021, Jeep has just introduced three new plug-in hybrid 4xe versions of the Wrangler 4xe models as well-equipped Unlimited versions, with four doors, eight-speed automatic transmissions.
Jeep has played an ace with the introduction of the new Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 4xe plug-in hybrid model. The 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe is the brand’s first plug-in gas-electric hybrid in North America and the first-ever plug-in hybrid version of the Wrangler.
The new 4xe model leads the brand’s transition to electrification. It includes: a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gas engine hooked up to two electric motor/generators with a system output of 375 horsepower and an impressive 470 pound-feet of torque. The 17.3 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion hybrid battery can still provide Full-time 4-wheel drive thanks to an eight-speed automatic transmission, Aside from the hybrid powertrain, the 4xe has the same Trail-rated suspension, steering, brakes, drive axles, wheels, tires, and tough ladder frame as conventionally powered Wranglers. The 4xe is available exclusively with the 4-door Unlimited body style in well-equipped Sahara and off-road-optimized Rubicon trims.
On a full charge, the Wrangler is only rated to provide up to 35 km of all-electric range, but this will depend on factors such as tire type, terrain, and driving style. An electric charge port allows the Jeep E to be plugged in to any wall socket, or a Level II (L2) EVSE. Using a 240-volt L2 connection is the fastest way to charge the Wrangler 4xe. You can also use a slow 120-volt trickle charge, or the L2 Mopar-branded that charges from 2.5 hours from roughly 12 hours Jeep claims the Wrangler 4xe achieves an average combined electricity and gasoline consumption rate of 4.8 Le/100 km. The gasoline-only combined rate is 11.7 L/100 km.
The Wrangler Rubicon 4xe arrives with electric blue accents such as the blue tow hooks front and rear, “Rubicon” graphics and a tiny 4xe badge on the rear. There are still the usual high -performance off road equipment such as: skid plates, rock rails, Dana M210 front and M220 rear axles with lockable differentials, and the electrically disabled sway-bar. The interior is the normal Wrangler Rubicon affair with an upright windscreen and a retro, tough looking interior design theme. The battery pack does mean the rear seat sits higher, but it does fold flat, with just a slight decrease in cargo capacity.
On the road, the additional weight of the electric battery and motors doesn’t have much of an effect on the Wrangler 4xe’s on-road manners. The only give away is the eerie silent electric drive as the 4Xe drives and the jarring engine note when the gas engine kicks in. The ride is harsh on the off-road tires – Steering, ride, and handling will be familiar to those who own Wranglers – an acquired taste with wind and road noise, not the most predictable of handling and a bouncy ride, typical Jeep, and loving it! The 4xe E-Save button favours the gas engine to conserve battery power.
Of course, off—road capability is not harmed at all- the two-speed transfer case enables the 4xe to operate in rear-wheel drive, full- or part-time high-range four-wheel drive, or four-low. Trailer-towing, however, does not suffer, and the Wrangler 4xe will haul 1,588 kg (3,500 lb), just like other Wranglers.
The hybrid drivetrain adds about $8,000 to the Sahara Unlimited’ s base price, starting at $54,995, but Quebec and British Columbia residents can take advantage of current rebates.
Jeep have kind of knocked one out the park with s the Wrangler Xe PHEV- No compromise at all with legendary Jeep off-road performance and some added green credentials. Jeep is installing Jeep-branded Level 2 charge points at the trail heads of some key off-road destinations in the U.S. So, this shows the commitment Jeep have to electrification. Gas-engine 4-cylinder turbo and V6 variants of the Wrangler remain in production, and there’s a soon-to-be introduced 392 V8 performance model on the way. Jeep says it will eventually add electrification to all North American models. Good on them. Nice work Jeep!
2021 Jeep Wrangler xe PHEV priced from:$54,995 plus options