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Three new plug-in hybrid electric Jeeps coming with "4xe" badging

Jeep has announced that the Renegade, Compass, and Wrangler will all be getting PHEV variants in the coming year.

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

It's no secret that Jeep's parent company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, is behind the curve when it comes to electrification of its fleet. That's something the all be helped thanks to the company's forthcoming merger with PSA Group. At CES this week, Jeep took a big step forward showing off three plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) SUVs.

The Jeep Wrangler, Compass, and Renegade PHEVs coming down the line will all carry the new "Jeep 4xe badge". This will be the badging on all forthcoming electrified Jeep vehicles.

Jeep 4xe bagdge PHEV variants of Jeep vehicles will have unique badging.Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

PHEVs benefit from the best of both types of fuel supply. They have a battery pack that holds a charge that usually holds around 30 miles of all-electric range. The battery pack is powered via a cord and plug outlet that can be attached to either a charging station or a household electrical outlet. Power regeneration usually comes from braking and coasting, which allows the battery to recharge without being plugged in.

The vehicles also have a hybrid component with electric motors that run on power supplied by both the battery and gasoline. That's right, there's a fuel tank in the vehicle in the traditional place, though it's usually smaller than what is in a traditional internal combustion engine vehicle.

Jeep is saying that the forthcoming production variants of these vehicles will be the "most efficient and responsible Jeep vehicles ever, providing absolute and quiet open-air freedom while taking performance, 4x4 capability and driver confidence to the next level."

When can you expect to see the models for yourself? Jeep is touting official debuts of the vehicles this year at the Geneva, New York, and Beijing auto shows. The Geneva show is the first one on the calendar, happening the first week of March.

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Jeep has begun teasing its newest three-row SUVs.

Photo courtesy of Instagram

The Jeep Grand Wagoneer. It's wood-paneled sides, cavernous interior, go-anywhere capability. It was the bee's knees. Now those vintage models are a collector's item. Soon, it will be reborn.

A new teaser from Jeep simply states, "Grand" and the definition "magnificent or striking in appearance, size, or style". While AutomotiveMap is pretty sure that the teaser is for the return of the Grand Wagoneer, Jeep also has a redo of the Grand Cherokee and a few other things in its sights. Perhaps this is a BOGO (or three or four) teaser.

A Jeep product presentation for investors earlier this year detailed the forthcoming model rollout, including modifications to the plan due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It states that a new three-row Jeep E-Segment model is coming in the first quarter of 2021. Separately it lists the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer as coming in the second quarter of 2021 followed by the next-generation Grand Cherokee.

All the models are scheduled to have some level of electrification (product plans say PHEV, which would be on-par with the new PHEV Compass, Renegade, and Wrangler offerings) as well as an advanced level of autonomy (don't expect anything too revolutionary here) and connectivity.

The new Wagoneer full-size SUV that Jeep is debuting is expected to compete directly with the Chevrolet Suburban. The Suburban was redesigned for the 2021 model year and, in addition to a bevy of tech updates, the model has significantly expanded its third-row legroom.

Product plants show that the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are different vehicles. Not much is known for sure about the two models, but rumors are rampant. One that seems to have sticking power is that the Grand Wagoneer will have finer appointments than the Wagoneer, which could be designed to be more off-road-ready.

The Grand Cherokee is going to be a two-row SUV built on the same platform as the Alfa Romeo Stelvio.

The most mysterious model is the three-row E-Segment model that Jeep has said is coming. E-Segment models are typically large, showy flagships - sometimes large cars, but other times wagons. Jeep has also said that an electrified version of the Wrangler is on the way. Does A +B = C? Only time will tell.

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The Toyota Tundra is due for a redo, but it still has a lot to like if you're not too picky.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

Americans buy millions of trucks every year. Even in the midst of a pandemic, folks are still buying trucks. In 2019, between all the various full-size truck models from Ford, Ram, GM, Nissan, and Toyota, U.S. customers bought nearly 2.5 million pickups — and that doesn't include all the smaller midsize models, which add another 600,000 to the truck total.

Nearly all of those truck sales are dominated by the big three of Ford, RAM, and GM, but there's a not insignificant niche carved out by Toyota as well. The endlessly-popular Tacoma is the best-selling midsize truck, and the full-size Toyota Tundra has a loyal and dedicated following.

2019 Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition On the outside, the truck looks strong and capable - it is.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

I know a few Tundra owners who love their trucks just as passionately as Ford and Chevy owners do. I've driven most of the pickups on the market, but I haven't spent much time behind the wheel of Toyota's big truck — and I was curious to see what Toyota was doing to compete.

My test unit was the premium, Western-themed "1794 Edition" that honors the founding of the JLC Ranch in San Antonio, Texas on which Toyota now has a truck assembly plant. Unsurprisingly, it's the same plant that built this truck. 1794 is basically Toyota's version of Ford's King Ranch, only with less-impressive brand awareness.

The model weighed in at $55,199, including option-boxes ticked for the TRD Off-Road Package ($155), running boards ($345), moonroof ($850), and a spray-on bedliner ($579). All in, it's certainly not a cheap truck, but it's not crazy expensive either. The big three all have ultra-luxe truck trims that can run well-north of $70,000, so this was a very reasonable top-line truck.

It's also not nearly as well-appointed as those other trucks, but it's certainly nice enough. Inside, there is "1794" embellishment on the floor mats and the center console, plus wood trim on the steering wheel, dash, and gear shift.

2019 Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition There are nods to the 1794 Edition throughout the cabin.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

It's very roomy, and things are laid out logically — which is a good thing considering how old the Tundra is. The interior was last redesigned the better half of a decade ago, and this generation of the truck is nearly old enough to enter high school. So, it's a bit old, but aging gracefully which, perhaps, shows why Tundra owners like it so much. They know what they're going to get.

One thing they'll get is a lot of stops at the pump. The 5.7-liter V8 is extremely thirsty, scoring just 14 mpg combined city and highway, though the engine itself is buttery smooth and capable. Pushing 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque, you won't have any complaints as long as fuel prices stay around two dollars per gallon. If prices shoot back up north of $4, it might be another story.

The exterior is pleasing enough, with a giant big chrome grille on the front and special 1794 badging on the doors. The Tundra has aged well and was particularly striking in the brilliant Voodoo Blue coloring that my tester sported.

2019 Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition The cabin is straight out of the middle of the last decade.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

The interior is solidly dated compared to the competition, but it's all functional enough. The 2020 edition of the Tundra gains Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which is enough to get me to ignore the massive "Home/Apps/Audio" buttons that surround the screen.

With the competition launching enormous 12-inch-plus touchscreens, I don't think Toyota will be able to wait too much longer before reworking this interior. In the middle console are numerous cupholders and storage cubbies, surrounding an enormous phallic shifter. There's a massive center storage bin under the armrest, which will come in handy for those using their truck as an office.

The rear seats have tremendous amounts of legroom, and the seats fold up to allow for more interior storage, though I wish the rear floor was totally flat to make loading Costco water bottles a little easier.

2019 Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition The rear seats fold up allowing for more versatile cargo space.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

In the back, there's a truck bed. It's for putting stuff in. There's nothing elaborate here with in-bed lighting or fancy tailgates like the GMC Sierra has. It's just a truck bed, with a tailgate, that you can fill with things.

That's perhaps the best way to describe the Toyota Tundra. It's a pickup that allows you to haul things around. No fuss, no muss, nothing crazy. It gets you and your stuff from here to there, while slurping down massive amounts of fuel.

It's a Toyota. You know what you're getting. Enjoy it.

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