This is the new, plug-in hybrid Jeep Wrangler 4xe. It joins the Renegade and Compass 4xe PHEVs in the American brand’s electrified line-up, offering fresh competition for the recently launched Land Rover Discovery Sport PHEV.
The Jeep Wrangler 4xe’s powertrain comprises a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, a 17kWh lithium-ion battery pack, a belt-driven starter-generator and a high-voltage electric motor mounted to the front of the transmission case, in place of the standard car’s torque converter.
Jeep says the Wrangler 4xe’s powertrain has an output of 375bhp and 637Nm of torque which, unlike the Renegade and Compass 4xe, is fed to a fully mechanical four-wheel-drive system via an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The powertrain also provides a maximum pure-electric range of up to 25 miles, says Jeep.
Like most PHEVs, the Wrangler 4xe’s powertrain comes with three drive modes – Hybrid, Electric and eSave. The first two options force the 4×4 to operate in either hybrid or pure-electric mode respectively; the final setting reserves the powertrain’s battery charge level for use later in the driver’s journey, for instances such as zero-emissions off-roading or driving through emissions controlled cities.
Jeep has also fitted a tweaked infotainment system to allow the driver to monitor the charge state of the battery pack, while a regenerative braking system can top-up the cells on the fly.
Given the car’s heritage, Jeep has done its best to make sure the PHEV Wrangler retains the same off-road ability as the conventionally driven model. So, as standard, it comes with skid plates, front and rear tow hooks, a two-speed low-range transfer case, locking front and rear differentials and chunky 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in knobbly 33-inch off-road tyres.
Buyers also get an electronically disconnectable anti-roll bar for greater wheel articulation, along with hill ascent and descent control. Unlike the standard model, the PHEV Wrangler has improved approach and departure angles of 44 and 35.6 degrees respectively – and it can wade through water up to 30 inches (76cm) deep.
To accommodate the new electrical powertrain, Jeep has had to redesign the Wrangler’s interior slightly. The battery pack is mounted under the second seating row, so Jeep has fitted a new hinged seat base to provide access to the cells and charging equipment. There’s also a new filler door on the front left wing, which houses the car’s charging socket.
Finally, to mark the Wrangler 4xe out as the eco friendly model in the 4×4’s line-up, Jeep has designed a range of Electric Blue accessories, badges and decals. Inside, the off-roader’s seat and dashboard stitching feature the same dedicated colour.
There’s no word yet on whether the Jeep Wrangler 4xe PHEV will be sold in the UK, but US sales are due to start in early 2021. Prices are also yet to be confirmed but, given that the Renegade 4xe is around £3,500 more expensive than the equivalent combustion engined model, we expect the Wrangler 4xe will start from around £45,000, should it come to Britain.