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Wrangler 4xe, Grand Wagoneer Concept preview an electrifying future for the Jeep brand

by Patrick Rall on

This morning, Jeep took the wraps off of two vehicles that will play a key role in the future of the brand – the Wrangler 4xe in production form and the Grand Wagoneer Concept.

With the brand promising to electrify all of their models over the course of the next few years, the 4xe is the first of many hybrid-electric Jeeps slated to come to market around the globe. Meanwhile, the Grand Wagoneer Concept shows that Jeep is about to jump back into the large luxury SUV segment with a big splash.

Wrangler 4xe

First up, we have the 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe. Jeep gave us our first look at the 4xe lineup at the Consumer Electronics Show as part of their promise to electrify the entire brand lineup, but the Wrangler is the first to come to production with this plan.

Wrangler 4xe is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine mated to a dual motor electric drive system, with one motor mounted to the front of the gasoline engine while the other is mounted at the front of the 8-speed automatic transmission, replacing the traditional torque convertor.

With the help of a 17kwh, 400-volt battery system, this plug-in hybrid Wrangler offers a total system output of 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque, making this the most powerful model in the lineup of the legendary SUV. It is also the most efficient with an official fuel economy rating of 50 MPGe, 25 miles of all-electric range and 400 miles of total range with a full tank of gas and a fully charged battery. It will also sprint from a stop to 60mph in just 6 seconds.

All Wrangler 4xe models come with three drive modes, Hybrid, Electric and eSave. As you might guess, Hybrid mode combines gas and electric power and Electric disables the gasoline engine until battery levels get too low. The eSave mode disables the electric drive system, running all on gasoline to save electricity for specific driving situations, such as off-roading or inching through traffic.

While all of those numbers make the Wrangler 4xe the most powerful and most fuel-efficient vehicle in the entire Jeep lineup, the engineers didn’t want to make a hybrid that looked like a Wrangler. In many cases, when a truck or SUV is hybridized, it loses some of its capabilities, but that wasn’t acceptable in this case. The team wanted a proper Wrangler hybrid and that included serious off-road mettle. The engineers mounted the waterproof battery pack above the frame, under the rear seat. This preserves ground clearance and all of the off-road capabilities that you get with the non-4xe Wrangler.

The Wrangler 4xe is offered in base, Sahara and Rubicon trim, with the base and Sahara offering solid off-road capabilities including 10.1-inches of ground clearance. These two models come with the Selec-Trac two-speed transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio and Dana 44 axles, along with skid plates, rear tow hooks and 20-inch wheels. These models combine on-road comfort, hybrid efficiency and greater off-road capabilities than any other hybrid SUV. However, serious off-roaders who want to cruise through the wilderness without using any gasoline will want to pick the Rubicon.

The Wrangler 4xe Rubicon features the Rock-Trac 4×4 system with a two-speed transfer case with a 4:1 low-range gear ratio and a 77.2:1 crawl ratio, Tru-Lok electric front and rear locking axles, an electronic sway-bar disconnect and 17-inch wheels wrapped in 33-inch off-road tires. The Rubicon model offers an approach angle of 44 degrees, a breakover angle of 22.5 degrees, a departure angle of 35.6 degrees, 10.8 inches of ground clearance and the ability to ford 30 inches of water. When coupled with the instant torque delivery of the electric propulsion system, the 4xe Rubicon has real world advantages over non-hybrid models when climbing through the rocks and mud.

In terms of appearance, the Wrangler 4xe looks like the other models, but there are some distinct differences. There is a charging port located on the upper portion of the driver’s side front fender, there are package specific 4xe logos and all of the badges are trimmed in a unique light blue. On the inside, there is more light blue trim, a unique gauge cluster and a series of unique screen display options in the UConnect system which show power flow, battery levels and charge settings.

The Jeep Wrangler 4xe will be built in Toledo starting in December and these models will be sold global, with the only major difference being charging ports that cater to the varying electrical systems in different regions of the world.

Grand Wagoneer Concept

The other big news today is the introduction of the new Jeep Grand Wagoneer Concept. The Wagoneer will eventually become a range of SUVs that will compete in both the large SUV segment and the premium luxury SUV segment.

 

This Concept provides us with an early look at the what the Jeep engineers are planning and if the production models look like the rig shown here, the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are destined for greatness.

The Grand Wagoneer Concept is powered by a plug-in hybrid electric drivetrain, but no other details were offered on the powerplant. Really, this is a styling concept, showcasing the stunning exterior design and the unbelievably plush cabin.

On the outside, the big, brawny SUV features premium finishes from top to bottom, starting up front with the prominent grille design. The LED projection headlights are accompanied by an LED light bar that runs across the width of the vehicle, with more LED strips flowing down between each of the openings in the familiar seven-slot grille. Even the Wagoneer font logo atop the grille is backlit, so at night, the grille, headlights, driving lights and vehicle name create a truly unique lighting signature.

Out back, there is more LED lighting, including the traditional taillights and a red light bar that underlines the large rear window. The rear Grand Wagoneer logo is also backlit. From front to rear, Obsidian Black chrome trim presents a premium look with help from the 24-inch wheels and a series of unique latticework that has been 3D printed for the grille, mirrors, roof rails and wheel spokes. Finally, the entire center section of the roof is glass, giving occupants in all three rows a clear look to the sky.

The Grand Wagoneer Concept looks great on the outside, but when you climb inside, you are met by one of the most luxurious cabins in the SUV world. Lookout Bentley and Rolls Royce- here comes Jeep.

The Grand Wagoneer Concept features captain’s chairs in the first and second rows, with a traditional bench-style third row seat. This concept is all about using sustainable products rather than diminishing natural resources, so rather than leather, the dash, door panels and seats are wrapped in a plush synthetic material called PUR while the headliner is a man-made suede. This presents the look and feel of leather without using actual animal skin.

Next, the Grand Wagoneer Concept has more screens than any vehicle that we have ever seen. Up front, there is a 12.3-inch driver information screen in the gauge cluster, a 12.1-inch touchscreen mounted in the upper-middle portion of the dash, a 10.25-inch screen below that which controls the HVAC system and the seats and the unique 10.25-inch passenger’s screen that you won’t find on any other luxury vehicles.

In the second row of seats, each captain’s chair has a 10.1-inch entertainment screen mounted on the back of the front seat, along with another 10.1-inch screen on the center console that controls the rear HVAC system. All of these screens run on a variation of the newest UConnect 5 infotainment system.

Finally, Jeep teamed up with McIntosh to create a state-of-the-art sound system that includes 23 speakers and a 24-channel amplifier that we can only imagine offers the best audio experience of any automotive sound system on the market today.

While this Grand Wagoneer is only a concept, the FCA team has stated that much of what we see here will make it to the production version of the Grand Wagoneer. If the majority of the features of the concept do become a production reality, the new Grand Wagoneer will truly be the most impressive luxury SUV offered by any company in the world.

Patrick Rall was raised a Mopar boy, spending years racing a Dodge Mirada while working his way through college. After spending a few years post-college in the tax accounting field, Patrick made the jump to the world of journalism and his work has been published in magazines and websites around the world.


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