Jeep Wrangler 4xe Is Still The Same Rugged Off-Roader, But A Lot More Powerful and Efficient
At one point, it looked like Jeep will be one of the last automakers to adopt electrification, but the company has started taking steps towards it. Jeep unveiled the Wrangler 4xe, its third hybrid vehicle that joins the Renegade 4xe and Compass 4xe. Since this is a hybrid addition, it features a lot of changes under the hood, but things are pretty much the same on the inside and the outside. With the addition of two motors that bring in extra horses and torque, will the 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe perform better than its pure internal-combustion engined avatar?
The 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe is the fastest, most powerful Wrangler ever produced
The Jeep Wrangler is legendary for its rugged design and impressive capability on the unbeaten path. And that’s mostly why the idea of an electrified Wrangler seemed ridiculous until recently. But Jeep is slowly electrifying its lineup and, somewhat surprisingly, it picked the Wrangler as the first nameplate to benefit from a full-fledged hybrid setup. And the result is the fastest and most powerful Wrangler developed so far!
Jeep added a new version to its Wrangler lineup: called Wrangler 4xe - the new model has been described as the most capable, technically advanced and eco-friendly Wrangler ever. The car is also the third hybrid car in Jeep’s lineup next to the Renegade 4xe and Compass 4xe models.
2019 Jeep Compass Hybrid
The Compass has been in Jeep’s stable for around 13 years now. It was unveiled as a concept at the 2002 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Although revealed as a two-door concept, the Compass was ultimately launched as a four-door crossover four years after it made its world premiere in Detroit. Five years into production, Jeep decided to give the Compass a face that resonated with the Grand Cherokee. Soon, the Compass started receiving its own identity as with many off-road features and packages available. In 2017, the second-generation of the Compass was launched, and it replaced its predecessor, as well as the Jeep Patriot. It will not be the worst thing to say that even though it could not garner big numbers for the automaker from 2007 to 2017, there was consistent growth in the sales figures. However, 2018 turned out to be the breakthrough year for the Jeep Compass. Jeep sold 171,167 examples of the Compass in 2018, an increase of 87,914 from 83,253 copies it sold in 2017. That’s more than 100-percent growth! Carrying over its rich form from last year, the Compass came to Switzerland with a plug-in hybrid powertrain. The Compass did not come alone; the Renegade accompanied it with the same mill under its hood. It’s like two brothers wearing the same clothes to go to a party. That’s cute.
Jeep Compass Plug-in Hybrid Debuts in Geneva with 31-mile EV range
The second-generation Jeep Compass has yet to see a comprehensive mid-cycle facelift, but it just became one of the first Jeeps to feature a hybrid drivetrain. The electrified Compass made its global debut at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, alongside the Renegade hybrid.
Jeep Enters the Electric Market with Renegade Plug-in Hybrid
It’s been less than a year since Jeep introduced a mid-cycle facelift for the Renegade and the mini SUV was updated once again at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. This around though, upgrades aren’t about styling tweaks, but a brand-new hybrid drivetrain. Alongside the Compass, the Renegade is the first Jeep vehicle to boast electrification.
Jeep Renegade to Get a Plug-in Version by 2020
FCA is one of the slowest groups to move towards electrification. Currently, it has got just 3 cars under its umbrella which are anywhere close to electrification. Nevertheless, FCA announced the production of a Jeep Renegade Plug-in hybrid. It will be built alongside the regular Renegade and its Fiat 500X platform mate in FCA’s factory in Melfi, Italy. Jeep will start building pre-production units in 2019, and launch it in the market in early 2020.
The Jeep Wrangler JL to go Hybrid in 2020
Amid the excitement at Jeep’s debut of its all-new 2018 Wrangler, Jeep boss Mike Manley announced the SUV will come with a plug-in hybrid powertrain in 2020. That’s huge news for the Wrangler – both because of the departure from rugged simplicity and the expected fuel economy improvements possible with PHEV powertrains. This could make the Wrangler actually economical to drive.
Manley and the Jeep team have been tight-lipped about details, so there’s no official estimated fuel economy numbers, price, or even what engine the hybrid components would be paired with. However, one possibility is the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and plug-in equipment used in the Chrysler Pacifica minivan. Considering how FCA loves sharing components across its brands, this is a legitimate rumor. The Pacifica Hybrid boasts an impressive 84 MPGe combined fuel economy despite its 4,900-pound curb weight. The 2018 Wrangler could see even higher MPGe figures since it weighs several hundred pounds less. Jeep will likely work hard to eliminate parasitic losses in the 4WD drivetrain, as well.
Packaging of the hybrid battery pack will be the biggest challenge though. The Wrangler has very little extra space, so a smaller battery might be necessary. Jeep might have to constrict the PHEV model to the four-door Unlimited for this reason. Hopefully not, since a PHEV two-door Wrangler could achieve even better efficiency.
For those not wanting a plug-in hybrid Wrangler but like the idea of good fuel economy, Jeep will be launching the 2019 Wrangler Unlimited with the long-awaited 3.0-liter, EcoDiesel V-6. The revised engine now boasts 260 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque and is expected to get 30 mpg highway.
Talks about the next generation Jeep Wrangler due out for 2017 are already heating up. Rumors of independent suspension systems, diesel powerplants, aluminum bodies, and even carbon fiber bits have sparked interest in the growing number of Jeep junkies. Now the idea of a hybrid powertrain behind the Jeep’s iconic seven-slot grille radiates from Mike Manley himself, Jeep’s President and CEO.
In an interview with AutoExpress, Manley says he and his team must first must preserve the look of the Wrangler. However, with looming CAFÉ standards, improving the SUV’s efficiency is critical to its continued success. Manley says that beyond preserving the Wrangler’s looks and improving its gas mileage, improving its on-road driving dynamics was the third biggest target.
In reference to improving fuel efficiency, he continued by saying, “You have the potential for hybrid powertrains in the future. For those people who use the Wrangler, the most important thing is the initial torque and the crawl ratio. With an electric motor, you have the most torque available and with the right combination of transmission and gear ratios, you can create incredible crawl ratios.”
Those great crawl ratios and smooth electric power would prove impressive on the trail, however adding hybrid technology to a vehicle that won’t always be near civilization proves problematic. “If you are eight hours and four miles into a trail, there is not a hybrid that we could do which could provides the battery support,” Manley continued.
Of course, the alternative is a diesel powerplant with higher efficiency than the current gas engine. Also, using lighter materials in the Wrangler’s construction would help reduce fuel consumption. Whatever solution is used, we can rest easy knowing the 2017 Wrangler will carry the iconic Jeep look.
Click past the jump to read more about the Jeep Wrangler.