We drove the Jeep Wrangler 4xe: the iconic Jeep now comes with e-power…

The blue stripes on the hood show it: this Jeep runs also on E-power…

We drove the Jeep Wrangler in its authentic Rubicon livery in plug-in hybrid form, aptly called 4xe. We can tell you right away: this e-Jeep has lost strictly nothing of its legendary off-road capabilities, on the contrary even. In the meantime, the Jeep 4xe owner can now steer proudly into a green world: when using the plug-in function, one can enjoy the merits of e-motion, and this is both excellent for both environment and your wallet…

Just read further!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Every bit as authentic as it ever was…

Walking toward and around the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is already a feast for the eye and mind: this Jeep has got terrific looks, and we are certain you will continue to admire and cherish it for many years to come.

The Jeep styling people are indeed masters in the art of designing a car full of character and panache, and they succeeded in adding some “electrified” touches to its exterior just to suggest to the purist that this car also runs on e-power. Some blue touches betray this indeed, like the Electric Blue tow hooks at the front and rear, and the blue theme which we find in the Trail Rated badges and other graphics elements across the hood and body.

We like the subtle charging port mounted high on the front driver’s side fender, which does not disturb the Wrangler’s looks at all.

A superb, “vintage” cabin…

Stepping, or rather mounting high up behind the wheel of the Jeep Wrangler you enter into a unique, somewhat vintage world; the dashboard and steering wheel are rather close to your chest, with the windscreen not being far off either.

Round instruments are facing you, although the infotainment age has definitely also made its entrance here. We just love it, this tightly laid out dashboard and driver’s space. Jeep has been around for many decades now, and this you should feel and touch.

The electronic age has quetly ushered itself into this dashboard by three blue buttons which sit discreetly left to the steering column.

… with the choice of three driving modes

With these buttons, you can indeed select three ways the e-power of the battery is coming to the wheels.

Hybrid: The vehicle will switch between all-electric mode and hybrid, and the computer calculates out how to use the two in order to achieve the best possible fuel efficiency. Regardless of the mode selected, the 4xe operates as a hybrid once the battery nears its minimum state of charge.

Electric:  The 2-liter turbocharged 4 cylinder engine remains off unless the vehicle determines that extra power is required. It will then turn on the petrol engine to add power, or switch to hybrid mode when the battery is depleted.

E-Save: The 4xe operates as a hybrid and maintains the battery’s state of charge. There’s also an additional setting in this E-Save mode which allows you to actually charge the high voltage battery pack to a higher state of charge using the 4-cylinder engine. We liked this mode very much, as this is very future proof: on any longer highway or cross-country trip, you can charge the battery so you can use its power to get you beautifully around in a totally zero emissions town (up to some 50 km or thereabouts on a full battery), a situation we will encounter rather sooner than later if one sees how regulators all over the world are now taking measures to achieve a greener, low-emissions planet.

E-power to go…

Indeed, this Wrangler can act daily as your ideal electric vehicle. If you charge it regularly and drive everyday not more than some 40 kilometers that is. Then the power of the 17 kWh battery, of which approximately 15 kWh is usable, will get you around. Progress is silent, and the only thing we heard was the impressive rolling noise of the all-terrain tyres of our Rubicon. Remember, this is a true Jeep, and your ears should hear this…

Just flow along with the traffic, and the 4xe (pronounced “four-by-e”, like four-by-four) will reward you with a very useable e-range.

Fuel consumption depends greatly on how you mix electric with combustion power…

The fuel consumption or rather the overall economy you achieve with this (or any, for that matter) plug-in hybrid depends totally on how you use it. Short distances, frequent recharging and a relaxed driving style will deliver top notch economy, any amount of longer distances, infrequent recharging or heavier right foot will cost more energy and also more fuel. It is as simple as that. Physics have no miracles in store for you. Manufacturers will indicate the fuel consumption under the most ideal ratio between e-power and combustion engine, but, as said, this is a full-blown Jeep, which is also an absolute master off-road, so do not get over enthusiastic…

Stay in the “green” zone, using about 25 % of available power, and your consumption is very reasonable. Also, you enjoy your Wrangler at the wheel a bit longer every ride!

On our test, we drove the Rubicon in a rather restrained manner, taking into account that wind and road rolling resistance greatly rise when the speed builds up. So on longer trips, using mostly the engine power, we achieved averages between 8 and 8,5 litres/100 km, rolling along with the traffic flow. When we met very tight (urban) traffic conditions, we just relied fully on e-power. The manufacturer quotes a fuel consumption of around 3.5 liters/100 km in hybrid mode with CO2 emissions lower by almost 70% compared to the petrol version, all this according to the WLTP cycle.

Charging is also a rather easy operation, courtesy of specific public and home charging solutions with the easyWallbox – ensuring a full charge in less than 3 hours at 7.4 kWh – offered by Free2Move eSolutions (a joint venture between Stellantis – through its subsidiary FCA Italy S.p.A. – and Engie EPS) and Mopar®.

Retaining all the qualities of a true Jeep…

The 4xe is powered by Jeep’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, aided by a small starter/generator motor. It is similar in design and function to the eTorque mild-hybrid motor, though this one operates at 400 volts rather than 48.

Sandwiched between the gasoline engine and the standard eight-speed automatic transmission — replacing the torque converter — is the larger, main electric drive motor. A pair of clutches connect it to the gearbox and the gasoline powerplant, allowing the combustion engine to be completely decoupled from the wheels for full-electric driving.

Further on, there is the identical four-wheel-drive system, two-speed transfer case and locking differentials as the non-hybrid Wrangler.

Of course, the most important thing about the 4xe is that it’s still a Wrangler; it still must deliver on the go-anywhere capability that name commands. And this it does.

Don’t forget that this Rubicon has an impressive crawl ratio and relies of course on the excellent torque of its main electric motor. The 4xe’s PHEV extra motor and battery adds to the weight of the Wrangler, but the position of the battery actually improves weight distribution. It also lowers its centre of mass, making this Jeep even more sure footed.

Brilliant performance

Mind you, the Wrangler 4xe has 380 hp of maximum combined output and peak torque of 637 Nm. This means that the Wrangler 4xe accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.4 seconds…

All the infotainment and practical versatility you need…

The 4xe Wrangler includes standard the 8.4-inch Uconnect™ NAV system with touchscreen, comprehensive on-board connectivity with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration and Uconnect Services (for the monitoring of the vehicle’s parameters through the My Uconnect app).

Specific of the 4xe models’ is the 7-inch TFT display with information on battery charge levels and range (in electric and hybrid modes), 9-speaker Alpine audio system with 552-W subwoofer.

In terms of safety, the new Wrangler 4xe offers the most advanced ADAS systems, including standard Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross-Path Detection, rearview camera, Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with Electronic Roll Mitigation (ERM), front and rear Park Assist and Keyless Enter’n’Go™. Optional safety features include Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning Plus and new forward-facing camera (which is standard on the Rubicon).

Conclusion

The Jeep Wrangler in this 4xe version is now more versatile and future-oriented than ever. It has also retained all its iconic off-road qualities, looks and panache. So despite being an enthusiast’s car, it now is endowed with many practical qualities, which make it not only pleasant, but also eminently reasonable to use it every day. And a long life with this Wrangler is also made more interesting with the immense array of accessories which are available by the Mopar® brand: indeed you can select more than 100 accessories for your cherished Jeep…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s