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2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe is a plug-in hybrid that enhances the JL's off-road prowess​

The Jeep Wrangler is getting an available plug-in hybrid powertrain.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

We all know how capable the Jeep Wrangler is. We know what mountains it can climb and what rivers it can ford. We also know that the fuel efficiency is terrible. Since the JL has debuted, Jeep added a slightly more efficient available EcoDiesel powertrain. Now there's an even more fuel-efficient choice.

The 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe is a plug-in hybrid that is capable of driving up to 25 miles on electricity alone. It's a next-generation system from Jeep and provides the added benefit of improving off-road performance.

2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The gasoline engine attached to the Wrangler 4xe is a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder. It has two electric motors providing torque on-demand, and power is sent to all four-wheels via Jeep's tried-and-true eight-speed automatic. Jeep is estimating 50 MPGe.

Total system power output is 375 horsepower - significantly more than the 260 to 285 horsepower the JL has in its other power plant options. Combined system torque, however, is where it gets really fun. It's a beefy 470 pound-feet. That means it makes more than the EcoDiesel's 442 pound-feet, which should make ambitious rock crawling even more fun.

There's a 400-volt, 17-kilowatt hour, 96-cell lithium-ion nickel manganese cobalt battery pack on board for hybrid duty. On a Level 2 charger, expect a full charge in around two hours from empty. While those figures make the Wrangler 4xe's setup sound a lot like what's in the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, this is a newer system. It's also larger and more powerful than the hybrid system in the Jeep Compass and Renegade 4xe.

2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

There are separate controls to regulate the hybrid system. Standard operating procedure is in hybrid drive mode. There's an EV-only mode, which makes the Wrangler run on electricity on demand. An eSave mode will hold the electricity in the battery for use later and use the gas engine to fill it up. In Europe and Asia, some cities charge extra or prevent gasoline vehicles from entering their city center. Being able to hold the electricity until the driver needs it is crucial in those regions.

The battery pack sits under the rear seats. By default, this means that the 4xe only comes in the 4-door Unlimited body style.

In top-spec Rubicon trim, the Wrangler 4xe maintains all the capability of the non-hybrid Rubicon. That includes a water fording capability of 30-inches. All electric operating modes remain available when the Wrangler is in 4Lo.

The two other trims available for 4XE are the base model and the Sahara. All models get Dana 44 axles and have a two-speed transfer case. All Wranglers have Selec-Speed Control with both ascending and descending hill controls. That means the driver can select the speed they want to Jeep to go, and it controls the throttle and the brake to maintain that speed while clearing an obstacle.

Jeep's selectable Max Regen feature allows for more assertive regenerative braking while a driver is coasting. This is similar to one-pedal driving and it can slow the Wrangler 4xe faster than standard regenerative braking and generate more electricity for the battery pack.

Visually you'll be able to tell a 4xe model from the rest of the lineup because the Wrangler 4xe has blue accents on the badges and hood. The tow hooks on the Rubicon are also blue instead of red. Inside, the Wrangler 4xe Rubicon includes unique Electric Blue stitching on the seats and trim.

Beyond the electrification, the Wrangler is still a Jeep. They went to great efforts to ensure that selecting this powertrain option doesn't hinder the performance of the Wrangler off road, but actually improve it.

Pricing is unknown at this point, but getting the JL as a PHEV likely won't be the cheap option. Expect the Wrangler 4xe to be in showrooms in early 2021.

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Larger tires headline the upgrades.

Jeep

The off-road wars are heating up. This year alone, we've seen the new Ford Bronco, Rivian's R1T electric pickup truck, new off-road models of the Ford Ranger, GMC Canyon, and Chevrolet Silverado, and more rugged versions of the Subaru Outback and Forester. Jeep, already deep in the game, doesn't need to do much to bolster its off-road offering, but the brand is doing just that for 2022. The automaker is offering a new Xtreme Recon Package for the Wrangler Willys SUV, which brings more capability and style to the boxy off-roader.

Jeep Wrangler Willys Xtreme Recon Package The package can be ordered for Wrangler Willys models later this year. Jeep Wrangler Willys Xtreme Recon Package

Beyond beefy 35-inch tires tires, the Wrangler Willys with Xtreme Recon Package gets a 1.5-inch factory lift, a 4.56:1 axle ratio, 17-inch wheels and swing gate reinforcement. Jeep says those improvements give the Willys best-in-class approach and departure angles, ground clearance, and water fording capability. Approach angle improves to 47.4 degrees, breakover angle improves to 26.7 degrees, and departure angle jumps to 40.4 degrees. The extra ride height also pushes ground clearance to 12.9 inches and the water fording depth to 33.6 inches.

The package's 35-inch tires make the Willys Jeep's third Wrangler model with hardcore rolling stock. It joins the Wrangler Rubicon and Wrangler Rubicon 392 in the 35-inch club, all of which can be equipped with the tires directly from the factory.

Jeep Wrangler Willys Xtreme Recon Package A factory lift helps improve ground clearance and capability.Jeep

The Xtreme Recon Package can be ordered starting in October and will be available for the Jeep Wrangler Willys with 3.6-liter eTorque engine. The package adds $3,995 to the Wrangler Willys' price tag, which brings the total starting price to $40,930, including a $1,495 destination charge.

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New electric luxury vehicles

Three new Mercedes-Benz EVs we can't wait to see

Mercedes showed off its electric future at the 2021 IAA Mobility show in Germany.

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz is going electric, and though it only recently announced its firm plans to do so, it already seems that the German automaker is moving quickly toward that goal. At the 2021 IAA Mobility show in Munich, Mercedes showed off some of its upcoming electrified products. We've seen the EQS, a flagship electric sedan, but three newcomers made an appearance at the show.


Mercedes-Benz EQB EQB will be Mercedes' electric family SUV.Mercedes-Benz


EQB

EQB is the brand's family-sized SUV, offering seating for up to seven people. A long wheelbase of 111.3 inches and adjustable second-row seating allows more interior space for people and gear. Mercedes says the EQB will offer two powertrain configurations: The EQB 300 4MATIC will get 225 horsepower and the EQB 350 4MATIC will sport 288 horsepower. A front-wheel drive configuration will go on sale later and a long-range model will follow.


Mercedes-Benz Concept EQG The EQG will eventually become the brand's electric off-roader.Mercedes-Benz


EQG

Concept EQG is a preview of the eventual electrification of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, its boxy, upper-crust off-roader. This concept is far closer to a design exercise than something we'll actually see in production, but it's an interesting demonstration, nonetheless. With 22-inch wheels, wild exterior lighting touches, and what the automaker says will be legendary off-road abilities, the EQG will be an exciting vehicle when it does make an appearance.


Mercedes-Benz EQE EQE will follow the EQS as a smaller, sportier electric sedan in 2022.Mercedes-Benz


EQE

EQE is the second car to use Mercedes' EVA2 electric architecture, following the EQS sedan. The car is currently scheduled for a staggered release in mid-2022 and will feature a more compact and sportier design than its predecessor. Mercedes says that the car will be available with either 19- or 21-inch wheels, and notes that its size is comparable to the current CLS coupe-sedan. The car offers an impressive range of up to 410 miles on a single charge from its 90kWh battery and special charging capabilities through the Mercedes me Charge network.

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