2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe Plug-in Hybrid — Electrifying off-road fun

By Jim Prueter

(June 28, 2021) Recently Jeep unveiled its 2021 Wrangler 4xe, a plug-in hybrid version of their iconic off-roader that combines the capabilities expected when the pavement ends, with all-electric capability and the most performance of any production Wrangler in its nearly 80-year history.


The new Wrangler 4xe combines a gas powered 2.0-liter turbo-4 engine, which is already available in the Wrangler, but it adds two electric motors and a 17.3-kwh lithium-ion battery that’s located underneath the rear passenger seats. It’s paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission only. All together you get 375 horsepower and 470 lb.-ft of torque. Jeep says the Wrangler 4xe will travel up to 25 miles on electricity alone on a single charge and deliver an EPA-estimated 49 MPGe.

Hybrid mode is the default when first starting the vehicle, and blends power from the gas and electric drivetrains with a battery power first preference. Choosing “Electric” mode, and the Wrangler runs on battery power only until it depletes the power or if the driver requires more power. At that point the gas engine kicks in. In eSave mode the gasoline engine is prioritized saving the battery for later.

There’s also regenerative braking with the slowing the vehicle that can pump a charge back into the batteries. A Max Regen option that’s driver-selectable and will be “more assertive” in how much it slows the SUV when you lift off the accelerator.

Still, Jeep’s primary focus was to not compromise its legendary off-road capabilities. The automaker says the “4xe is still 100% Wrangler with Trail Rated running gear and is just as capable as non-electric hybrid Wrangler offerings  it just has an electric charge port where the charging cord plugs in as well as a gas tank.” Selec-Speed Control with Hill-Ascent and -Descent Control comes standard. Optional Trac-Loc limited-slip rear differential adds extra grip in low-traction situations, such as snow, ice, sand or gravel. Additionally, there’s an added advantage to the linear, right-now response of an electric car, both on-road and off. All the high-voltage electronics and wiring are sealed and waterproofed so that the 4xe can still ford up to 30-inches of water.

Outside, our Rubicon test 4xe is instantly recognizable as a Wrangler. There’s Electric Blue elements like the front and rear tow hooks and badging outlined to highlight and identify the electrification both inside and out.

The 4xe is available in three trim levels, Sahara ($51,500), Rubicon ($55,000) and High Altitude ($56,875). Prices include the $1,495 destination charge. All three trim 4xe models are Unlimited (4-door) configuration only.

If you’re shopping for a Jeep Wrangler, we highly recommend considering the 4xe. You’ll not only get the most fuel-efficient Wrangler ever; you’ll also be owning the most powerful production Wrangler that Jeep has ever built.

Vital Stats
Base Price:  $55,000
Price as Tested: $62,830
Engine, Transmission: 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder gasoline engine connected with two electric motors and a 17.3 kwh lithium-ion battery together generating 375 horsepower and 370 lb.-ft torque, paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
EPA Fuel Economy: 49 MPGe combined city-highway and 20 MPG combined city-highway gasoline only.
Seating: Five

Crash Test Safety Ratings: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety: Small front overlap driver side rated: Marginal. Moderate overlap front rated: Good. Side crash rated: Good. Roof strength, head and seat restraints all rated: Good.

Where Built: Toledo, Ohio

Competes With:
Ford Bronco

Fab Features
First ever partial hybrid-electric vehicle
Excellent fuel economy
Most powerful Jeep Wrangler ever