Taking a drive out to nature should be a Zen-like experience.  But with some Wranglers, the Pentastar or EcoDiesel can interfere with Mother Nature’s soliloquy. 

So now you can spec your Wrangler with a plug providing up to 25 miles of quiet 4X4 EV adventures.




Though the Grand Cherokee is their best seller, when you hear someone say Jeep this is what you envision.  So it’s kind of cool that the Wrangler would be the first Jeep offered in the states that can operate on electricity alone. 



The new 2021 4xe is exclusively available in the 4-door Unlimited bodystyle and comes in 3 trims with this Sahara being the entry-level model with a starting MSRP of $51,300 including destination but excluding the $7,500 federal income tax credit. 



Mine is up fitted with a number of options such as the Cold Weather Group, Safety Group and Advanced Safety Group for an as-tested price of $55,645. 




Looking sharp in Firecracker Red with the Black Sunrider Soft Top, if it wasn’t for the 4xe badge, some blue lettering and the charge port you wouldn’t be able to tell this one apart from other Wranglers. 




That is until you’re cruising through the neighborhood or the parking lot and spook others who aren’t expecting a nearly silent Jeep driving by. 




There’s still a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine under the hood but it’s joined by 2 electric motors; 1 that acts as a starter/generator attached to the front of the engine for the start/stop feature and to feed electricity to the battery pack and a 2nd that replaces the torque converter of the 8-speed transmission ultimately enabling all electric operation. 


Under the 2nd row seat resides the 400 volt lithium-ion battery with a dedicated thermal management system for more consistent operation in cold and hot temps.  When you plug-in there’s a blue LED battery level monitor so you can quickly check charge status.  At 120 volts it takes 12 hours to fully recharge the 4xe while a level II charger takes only 2 hours.  Fast charging is not permitted.


More often than not the trail you’re headed to is over 25 miles from your garage so Jeep gives you the capability to save up the electric propulsion for when you get there.  They’re also installing chargers at a number of popular Jeep spots.  Otherwise, once all of the juice has been squeezed, the 4xe runs as a typical gas-electric hybrid, leaning on its 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo to produce a combined 375 horsepower working through an 8-speed auto with an integrated electric motor.

Now the Sahara is not a Rubicon but it’s still off-road tough and I’ve been having a great time taking it on my favorite trails, Sunrider top pulled back and electric mode engaged. 



You can also choose to save the battery’s energy or charge the battery as you drive to build up the EV charge until you get out here.  As is typical for Chrysler products, the electronics are excellent and simple to use so choosing these modes couldn’t be simpler.  Of course, driving in 2WD will use less battery than if you’re in 4-wheel drive auto, 4H or 4-low.  And like other Wranglers, stuff comes off like doors and windows if you prefer your off-roading naked.      

All high-voltage bits are sealed and waterproofed so the 4xe can ford the same 30” of water and underneath you’ll see the same Dana 44 axles and skid plates while the Rubicon model has an electronic sway-bar disconnect and nearly 11” of ground clearance.  And this one is a torque monster – something off-roaders crave – producing 470 pound-feet from its electrified powertrain.


And there are off-road pages and super useful gauges to keep you informed.  As expected, Jeep’s execution is spot on.  A max regen button also allows you to recapture energy from all 4 wheels in a more aggressive nature, particularly when going downhill.



So here’s what I’ve gathered about the 4xe this week. When you’re on electric it’s really special but Like all plug-ins it’s appeal decreases once the 25 miles or so of electric is gone. After that it’s just another hybrid. Secondly, I don’t know if it’s just my test car but the air conditioning has trouble keeping up when in EV mode, kind of like some mild hybrids when you’re waiting at a stoplight And as always, remember that in the cold winter months your EV range may drop by over 40%. But all told I really like the 4xe.

Would an all electric Wrangler be even better? Of course it would but depending upon your typical usage and availability to charging stations this could be a mostly EV experience anyway.



With plug-in hybrids MPG results will vary greatly depending upon usage.  Yes, the gas engine will kick in when the computer deems necessary – even if you have plenty of battery left, but that’s not typical.  So if you drive back and forth to work each day and your office has a charging station you’ll rarely use any gas. 


But for what it’s worth, the EPA estimates the average user will save $350 per year in fuel costs when compared with a V6 Wrangler.  Driving range of the 4xe does take a hit; reduced from 452 to 370 miles due to its smaller tank.  

And I used to think it was just the Rubicon models with their big off-road tires that wandered all over the road but nope, even the Sahara has steering that needs constant little corrections nicking its everyday drivability just a bit.  It is very quick though with that immediate power propelling it to 60 mph in only 6 seconds.   And hey, when it comes to cargo room and easily accessing it, the Wrangler falls flat compared to any other SUV on the market. 


So when you buy a Wrangler you’ve got to be committed to some sacrifices – it’s not designed with Cherokee or Compass level versatility.  But the cabin in this Sahara model feels particularly well stocked so there are no shortcomings when it comes to goodies.      

I really like the 4xe.  It drives well, it brakes and transitions power sources without any hybrid shortcomings.  It’s a worthy precursor to an anticipated fully-electric Wrangler that could arrive in 2022.






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