Jeep’s toughest off-road warrior is going green.
The American brand has shown off the new Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid before it enters production in 2021.
Jeep is planning to have some form of electrification in every one of its vehicles in the next few years.
Hybrids aren’t usually thought of as rugged vehicles but the 4xe is hoping to change that.
Power comes from the combination of a four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine matched to two electric motors and a 17kW lithium ion battery.
That all adds up to some pretty impressive performance, with the 4xe making 280kW and 637Nm, which is a massive jump over the current version’s 3.6-litre petrol V6 unit making 209kW/347Nm.
What is even more impressive is that Jeep claims the new 4xe will only drink 4.7L/100km, and it is capable of driving up to 40km on pure electric power.
Jeep says the Wrangler 4xe will be just as capable off-road as regular versions and will wear the brand’s Trail Rated badge to signify its 4WDing prowess.
And the 4xe will still look the part with big chunky tyres, a removable roof and doors along with a folding windscreen.
The Wrangler 4xe joins the Renegade and Compass 4xe models in the brands global line-up.
Jeep plans to sell the Wrangler 4xe globally, which means it could make its way down under in the near future.
And the introduction of a plug-in hybrid version opens the door for a future fully electric model.
Jeep’s head designer Mark Allen has previously told News Corp Australia that electrification makes perfect sense for an off-road focused vehicle such as the Wrangler.
“I don’t think electricity applied to something like a Wrangler is a detrimental thing, I think of it as an opportunity to make a better Jeep,” he said.
Off-road focused vehicles need to be able to vary power and traction between wheels and electric cars provide the ideal base for that.
But the challenge would be to keep the Wrangler traditional look because aerodynamics are so important to electric cars, which would rule out full electrification in the short term.
“With the battery technology now, we visually have no room to waste on anything because the range is limited,” says Allen.
“It is getting better by the day but that efficiency is why you see side mirrors replaced with cameras and really skinny tyres.”
But if a hybrid or electric Wrangler doesn’t sound right, how about a wild off-road version powered by a giant 6.4-litre V8 petrol engine making 335kW/610Nm.
That’s what old school revheads have to look forward to if Jeep puts the gnarly Wrangler Rubicon 392 concept from earlier this year into production.