2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe
The Jeep Wrangler is a classic American icon. It is a vehicle that can trace back its roots to World War II, when it was instrumental in winning that war. Since then, it has conquered mountain passes, deserts, the deep woods…and shopping malls.
A few years ago, a new generation of the Wrangler was introduced. Little did we know that it would be as transformative as the original. In fact, it became the first Jeep model to feature a plug-in hybrid system.
That is exactly what we have for you – a 2021 Jeep Wrangler four-door Unlimited Rubicon 4xe. In short, it is the most capable electrified vehicle available right now.
While it looks like any other Wrangler, there are a few things that make it a 4xe. If you find it on the driver’s side ahead of the windshield is a black door where you plug your Jeep in. It can take up to Level 2 charging for the battery.
Other than the charging port door, it is still a Wrangler. From the seven-slot grille, the fenders, the boxy style of the passenger area, and the rear mounted spare tire, there is no mistaking this vehicle for anything else on the road.
Our Rubicon tester is the Wrangler’s top-of-the-lie trim, offering an experience that is true to form. With a 10.8-inch ground clearance, it stands on aggressive all-terrain tires with 17-inch wheels.
Over the years, Jeep civilized the Wrangler’s interior for a wider audience. At its heart, it is a functional cockpit for the off roader to take command. Switches are practically all over the place, including the window switches on the center stack. Instrumentation is small, but readable with an information screen in-between two analog dials.
The manually operated leather seats were fine, offering more comfort than support. Rear seat room is fine for two adults. Getting inside the cabin will take a step over the 10.8-inch ground clearance without a step for assistance. Cargo space behind the rear seats measured out to 27.7 cubic feet, expandable to 67.4 cubic feet. Loading up the rear will take opening the spare wheel, the upper and lower tailgates.
The 4xe driveline starts with a combination of an electric motor and a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine. In total, this driveline offers up 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. The four-wheel drive system is channeled through an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The 4xe system starts off in electric mode, good for 21 miles of range from a full battery. You can switch the Wrangler between Electric, Hybrid, and E-Save modes. We did operate our tester with both power sources and found the electric motor providing plenty of power on its own. The gasoline engine was equally up to the task in everyday driving.
In combined driving, we averaged 21.1 MPG for fuel consumption.
As for off-roading, we actually had some time in another Wrangler 4xe on a closed course recently. If you select the vehicle to run only on Electric mode, it delivered instant torque that will get you through the toughest conditions. In our case, it was a muddy track full of steep inclines and descents. We also ran our tester on icy conditions with all four-wheels working hard to keep the Wrangler 4xe on the road.
Ride quality was solid all around, and we never complained about any feedback from rougher surfaces. Handling was on the bit of the soft side, which what was expected in an off-road vehicle. We like how the Wrangler brakes in normal, panic, and winter situations. Pedal feel is good with response to the wheels.
We felt that there was some play in the steering wheel. On-center feel was soft, and we worked to keep the Wrangler in the lane. However, it yielded a good turning radius without any resistance from the front axle on tight maneuvers.
This 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe Unlimited Rubicon tester came with a sticker price of $69,545. The base price of this tester was $55,225. The 4xe lineup starts with a Sahara model unlimited model at $52,530. For non-hybrid Wranglers, the lineup starts at $29,725 for a Sport two-door model.
The Jeep Wrangler is no longer a unique offering. It has yielded a new set of competitors in the off-road space. They now include the Ford Bronco, Toyota 4Runner, Land Rover Defender, and Mercedes-Benz G-Class.
However, what neither of these off-road rivals have is a plug-in hybrid driveline. That is what keeps the Jeep Wrangler ahead of everyone else. It is definitely something different to play off-road.
Story Credits: CarSoup Editors