New Model News

Plug-in hybrid Jeep Wrangler coming before the end of 2020

The Jeep Renegade and Compass 4xe have already gone on sale in Europe.

Photo courtesy of FCA

More and more vehicles are being electrified and it was only a matter of time before America's beloved off-roader, the Jeep Wrangler, had its turn. Instead of first going mild-hybrid then advancing to full hybrid before landing on plug-in hybrid (PHEV), the brand is going straight to a plug-in hybrid version of the four-wheel drive model.

During the company' recent annual general meeting FCA CEO Mike Manely discussed the importance of the model to the U.S. market, sharing that it will be on the "front line of our electrification strategy in North America."

Despite the fact that FCA doesn't have many models available in the North American market that are electrified (Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and Ram 1500 with the mild-hybrid powertrain are it), the company is expanding its options worldwide including the forthcoming Maserati Ghibli Hybrid. The coming merger with PSA Group should help bring many other parts of the lineup along.

Plug-in variants of the Wrangler will wear the "4xe" badge. This was first revealed at CES earlier this year. At that time, the brand revealed that PHEV versions of the Jeep Wrangler, Compass, and Renegade are all in the pipeline.

Jeep Renegade 4xe (European model)

Photo courtesy of FCA

Jeep Compass 4xe (European model)

Photo courtesy of FCA

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."

The Wrangler 4xe is expected to have 31 miles of all-electric range, can reach 62 mph when running on electric power, and have around 240 total combined horsepower.

Originally, the models were set to debut at the Geneva, New York, and Beijing auto shows. The Geneva show was cancelled as COVID-19 took hold in Europe. The New York International Auto Show was postponed to September as the pandemic ravaged New York. As the sickness continued to cause shutdown, the organizing body was forced to cancel the show altogether. The Beijing show is still on the books for September.

After its debut, the Wrangler PHEV will be available in China and Europe in the first quarter of 2021. The timeline for U.S. availability has not yet been made public.

The Renegade and Compass 4xe have already been shown to the European market and reservations are now being accepted. Both models are powered by a turbocharged 1.3-liter gasoline engine with an electric motor located between the rear wheels, which is powered by an 11.4 kilowatt-hour battery. Depending on trim level, the models achieve either 190 horsepower (Limited version) or 240 horsepower (Trailhawk and S). The models have Electric, Hybrid, Sport, and E-Save drive modes.

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The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L is show in the Overland trim level.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The Jeep Grand Cherokee has been redesigned but we'll only see a three-row version for the 2021 model year. If you want the two-row, you'll have to wait another year. In the new Grand Cherokee L, a freshly refined interior and exterior is joined with off-road prowess and next-generation technology to make the Grand Cherokee worthy of a cross-shop.

Which Grand Cherokee model is right for you? Scroll down to see the features and specs of each of the SUV's grades, including price. All prices exclude a $1,695 destination charge.

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Laredo

The base model Jeep Grand Cherokee L is no low-tech slouch. It comes standard with a 10.1-inch infotainment touch screen and a 10.25-inch frameless digital instrument cluster. Below the infotainment screen is an 8.4-inch touch screen. The SUV's Uconnect 5 operating system offers customization, a one-touch Home Screen, five user profiles, and standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There are 12 USB ports, split between Type A and Type C, covering all three rows of seating.

The Laredo trim level seats six or seven, depending on the buyer's choice of second row seats. The second-row seats feature standard tip and slide functionality.

Among the roster of standard safety equipment and security features are full-speed collision warning with active brake assist and pedestrian and cyclist detection, rear cross traffic detection, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, lane departure warning, brake assist, blind spot monitoring, and rear park assist.

Keyless entry, automatic headlights, LED daytime tuning lights, and LED taillamps are standard.

The Laredo model is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine that delivers 290 horsepower and 257 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

It rides on 18-inch aluminum wheels, and also has heated fold-way mirrors, roof rails, cloth seats with power-adjustable eight-way driver seat, automatic dual-zone climate control, a leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel, and Bluetooth.

The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L is listed at $36,995 for the rear-wheel drive model and $38,995 for the 4x4.

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Altitude

The Cherokee L Altitude builds on the Laredo grade adding gloss black appearance details, including 20-inch aluminum wheels, exterior accents and badging, roof rails, and a unique seven-slot grille.

Upgrading to the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Altitude will cost $40,195 (4x4) or $42,195 (4x4).

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Limited

Like the Altitude, the Limited builds on the Laredo model of the Grand Cherokee L. The exterior of this model includes automatic high beam headlights, LED fog lamps, power gloss black side mirrors with heating element, blind spot monitoring, and additional turn signals.

Four-wheel drive models get a Selec-Trac traction management system with five available terrain modes (Auto, Sprot, Rock, Snow, Sand/Mud).

The interior of the model gets upgraded to standard Capri leather seats and comes with an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat with memory, four-way power-adjustable front passenger seat with memory, and heated steering wheel. The second row seats are also heated. Active noise cancellation and single-color ambient lighting is standard.

Remote start, a universal garage door opener, and an adjustable height power liftgate are also standard.

Buyers can get the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Limited for $43,995 in the 2WD variant and $45,995 for the 4x4.

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Overland

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Overland: Seating & Cargo Areas

The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Overland has a refined seating and cargo area.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Buyers of the Overland grade get a unique Overland appearance on their Grand Cherokee L. That includes 20-inch aluminum wheels, Black Noise pockets, chrome front tow hoods, a gloss black roof rack with stainless insert, rain-sensing windshield wipers, approach-lit door handles, trailer towing, rearview mirror puddle lighting, power-folding gloss black mirrors with a chrome insert that auto-tilt down when in reverse, auto-dimming glass not eh driver's side, courtesy lighting, a windshield wiper deicer, and keyless entry.

Buyers can opt for a Gloss Black roof to give their model a two-town paint scheme starting with this trim level.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee L Overland is the first trim level that offers buyers the opportunity to get the standard V6 engine or upgrade to a 357-horsepower V8 that delivers 390 pound-feet of torque. With the V8, the Grand Cherokee L Overland is capable of towing 7,200 pounds.

Overland 4x4 models get Jeep's torque-vectoring Quadra-Trac II system when equipped with available Off-Road Group and earn the Trail Rated badge. The equipment package also includes high-strength steel skid plates, electronic limited slip differential rear axle, 18-inch aluminum wheels, and all-season tires. A Select-Terrain system and Hill Descent Control are standard on Overland.

The model's interior features Nappa leather seats and door panels, ventilated front seats, a leather-stitched instrument panel, navigation, a nine-speaker Alpine audio system, dual-pane sunroof, and five-color ambient lighting. Front seat passengers get length-adjustable cushions while. power-folding third-row bench seat is also standard.

An electronic remote release in the rear cargo area is designed to quickly folding the second row flat. A hands-free liftgate is also standard.

Buyers will pay $52,995 for the 4x2 model with a V6 under the hood. A four-wheel drive Overland with the V6 costs $54,995. Upping to the V8, which is only available paired with a 4x4 brings the price up to $58,290.

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit

This model is available with either the V6 or V8 powertrain. They deliver the same output in the Grand Cherokee L Summit as they do in the Overland.

The Grand Cherokee L Summit raises the bar further into luxury territory with premium appointments including Nappa leather leather seats with quilted seat bolsters and perforated seat inserts on all three rows. Absolute Oak wood, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and Berber floor mats, and 16-way power-adjustable adjustable front seats are standard on Summit. For the first time on Grand Cherokee, front-row seat massage functionality is available.

Quad-zone automatic climate control is standard and second-row passengers have access to a second-row floor console with two illuminated cup holders and a two-tier armrest with additional storage.

The whole rig rides on 20-inch polished cast-aluminum wheels in Mid-Gloss Clear and has Sumit-specific LED fog lamps, power-folding Gloss Black side mirrors with a Platinum insert, a 360-degree camera, illuminated door sills, and roof rack with silver rails and a gloss black insert.

Jeep has also added more standard safety features on this model including active driving assist, driver attention monitor, intersection collision assist, traffic sign recognition, and parallel and perpendicular park assist.

Rear-wheel drive Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summits powered by a V6 cost $56,995. The four-wheel drive version of that model is $58,995. Changing out the V6 for a V8 in the 4x4 brings the price up to $62,290.

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve: Exterior rear 1/4

The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve is the most premium model.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve is the most luxurious Grand Cherokee L that you'll be able to get straight from the factory. It features a hand-wrapped, quilted Palermo leather, ventilated front and second-row seats, memory and massage front seats and choice of a new Tupelo interior color add distinguishable details to the model.

The interior features open-pore Waxed Walnut wood and wrapped, suede-like fabric on the A-pillars and headliner.

Jeep has given this version of the SUV 21-inch wheels and a 19-speaker McIntosh audio sound system.

The Summit Reserve trim is only available as a 4x4. Getting with the V6 costs $61,995; the V8 is $65,290.

The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L is scheduled to start arriving in Jeep dealerships in the second quarter of 2021.

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The Nissan Ariya has wind glide over it in the testing tunnel.

Photo courtesy of Nisan Motor Company

Nissan is targeting a drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.297 for the Ariya all-electric crossover. If it can make that number, it will be the company's most aerodynamic crossover to date. What does that mean? Let's take a closer look.

What is drag?

Simply put, drag is an aerodynamic force. It's mechanical in nature, so it is the result of the interaction of a solid body and a liquid. In the case of a car, this liquid is air. (Yes, air is a liquid.) It only occurs when one part of the equation (the solid body or the liquid) is in motion. If there is no motion, there is no drag.

Drag only occurs in the opposite direction of the object's movement. Think of a car cutting through the air as it drives down a north-south road. As the car heads north, the air it passes through is pushed south. The car is in motion; there is drag.

2022 Nissan Ariya

Photo courtesy of Nisan Motor Company

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What is coefficient of drag?

The coefficient of drag, also called a drag coefficient, is a number that aerodynamics professions (aerodynamicists) use to determine the shape, inclination, and flow conditions on a vehicle's drag. The shape of an object (bullet vs. square vs prism, etc.) has a large impact on the amount of drag created by airflow surrounding a vehicle. Objects with narrower front ends tend to have a lower coefficient.

Scientists and vehicle designers want to keep air moving around the car for maximum efficiency. The inclination of the airflow to either move in a smooth, connected pattern, or to be broken up with air sitting, stalling in one particular part of the vehicle, lessening airflow and making the vehicle less aerodynamic.

A vehicle's Cd is determined by plugging various measurements into an equation. Cd is equal to drag (D) divided by the quantity of density (r) multiplied by half the velocity (V) squared multiple by the reference area (A). As an equation, it looks like this: Cd = D / (A * .5 * r * V^2).

The smaller the Cd, the more aerodynamic a vehicle is.

2022 Nissan Ariya

The Nissan Ariya employs aerodynamic wheel design, made to help it cut though the air with greater ease.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

What is the coefficient of drag of the Nissan Ariya?

"With the growing shift towards electric mobility, aerodynamic testing is becoming increasingly important. The aerodynamics of electric vehicles are directly linked to how efficiently the vehicle moves – less drag and better stability allows the customer to drive longer distances before having to recharge," said Sarwar Ahmed, Aerodynamics and Aeroacoustics Engineer at Nissan Technical Centre Europe.

Nissan is targeting a 0.297 coefficient of drag for the Ariya. How will it achieve that number? By utilizing precisely shaped body lines and strategically placed air ducts, among other components. There's a bonus to better aerodynamics when it comes to EVs.

"Following official homologation of the Nissan Ariya later this year, we anticipate the range to improve compared to the 310 mile figure shared in 2020 during the World Premiere. This will give drivers more efficiency and confidence to go even further on a single charge," said Marco Fioravanti, VP Product Planning, Nissan Europe.

How does the Ariya's coefficient of drag compare to other Nissans?

The newest Nissans, the Kicks, Pathfinder, and Frontier, don't have their Cd publicly available yet, but other models have their results. The targeted 0.297 Cd in the Ariya is less than that in the 2021 Armada, Murano, and Rogue. But, it's higher than the Nissan Leaf.

The fact that it's higher than the Leaf is not surprising. Shorter cars tend to be more aerodynamic because they sit lower to the ground and have a smaller profile. That also explains why Nissan's largest and boxiest SUV, the Armada, has the highest number on the list.

How does the Ariya's coefficient of drag compare to numbers from other EVs?

The Nissan Ariya's coefficient of drag is higher than that of most other electric cars, crossovers, and SUVs sold in the U.S. Here's where the others measure up:

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