Friday, December 9, 2022
Should-you-buy Should you buy a 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4XE?

Should you buy a 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4XE?

2021 Jeep Wrangler 4XE Pros

  • Feels like a Jeep Wrangler
  • Exceptional off-road capability
  • Great performance and better handling
  • The only electrified convertible option on the market

2021 Jeep Wrangler 4XE Cons

  • Poor electric range
  • Terrible fuel consumption when the battery is depleted
  • Complicated ergonomics

The 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4XE is a lot of things. Of course, it’s Jeep’s first electrified vehicle which in and of itself makes the 4XE remarkable. It is a Wrangler with all of the capacity normally associated with a Wrangler, but it can also be plugged in, and it features an electric motor and a battery. But more than that, the 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4XE is the absolute proof that the automotive industry is going electric.

2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 4xe Review: Putting PHEV Technology To Work

Sure, we have a handful of electric pickup trucks coming down the road, but nothing says the world is changing like a plug-in Jeep Wrangler.  Before getting into reasons why you might want to buy a PHEV Wrangler and what the 4XE does well and what it doesn’t do so well, let’s take a second to immediately put to rest the fundamental question about the 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4XE.

The fact that a PHEV powertrain has found its way under the hood changes in no way the personality or the behaviour or how one feels behind the wheel of the 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4XE. Anyone who says otherwise and believes that this is not a real Wrangler simply hasn’t driven the 4XE.

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe | Photo: Olivier Delorme

Our tester was the Rubicon trim and let us reassure you right now, it was just as bouncy, edgy, unrefined, and uncomfortable as a V6 or diesel-powered Rubicon. And it was just as fun to drive as well. As a matter of fact, it was even more fun to drive because you have more power under your right foot.

The 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4XE brings together a turbocharged 2-liter four-cylinder with an electric motor and 17.3-kWh battery. The resulting combination is an impressive 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque.

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe | Photo: Olivier Delorme

This allows the Wrangler 4XE to reach 100 km/h in around 7 seconds which is simply unheard of in a Wrangler. Jeep also says that you can do 34 km (21 miles) on battery power alone, and the Wrangler 4XE has an overall fuel economy rating of 5.8 litres per 100 kilometres (49 e-MPG) when combining electric range and the turbo’s fuel consumption. It also offers the same towing capacity as the regular Wrangler, 3,500 lbs.

Charging the 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4XE on a traditional 120-volt level 1 outlet will take 12 hours while charging with a level 2 charger cut that down to just over 2 hours. So, now that we have reached a point in history where a plug-in hybrid Jeep Wrangler is a thing, should you buy one?

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe | Photo: Olivier Delorme

Why You Should Buy a 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4XE

  • A lot of people buy a Wrangler not because of its off-road capability, but because of its reputation and it’s looks and the fact that it is just cool. Well, this plug-in hybrid Wrangler takes the coolness factor to another level. There is nothing like it on the market with a battery, and as far as PHEV vehicles go, this is as unique as it gets. You never tire of seeing your Wrangler Rubicon plugged in. It also looks really good, with most trims getting blue tow hooks and other exclusive small details. As far as Wranglers go, this one looks the part and even improves on the Jeep’s iconic design.

 

  • You really do feel the extra performance of the hybrid Powertrain. Never has a Wrangler felt fast and although the 4XE doesn’t necessarily feel extra quick, it certainly accelerates and passes with a lot less hesitation and a lot more confidence. Snappy would be the best way to describe the performance.

 

  • The 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4XE is a lot heavier than other Wranglers. This translates into a more stable feeling which we enjoyed. The handling also benefited, surprisingly. The Wrangler 4XE feels much more connected to the road.

 

  • There isn’t a plug-in hybrid vehicle or an electric vehicle for that matter with better off-road capability. This is true in any version of the Wrangler 4XE, but especially true in the Rubicon version. It has the same approach, breakover, and departure angles as the traditional Rubicon and it has essentially the same four-wheel drive system with the same capability. You can go everywhere you would go with a regular Rubicon even if you’re driving the 4XE.

 

  • It drives just like a Wrangler. We mentioned this previously, the Jeep Wrangler 4XE feels exactly like a Wrangler should. That means that owners are in for a rough and tumble ride with constant wind noise and tire noise coming through the thin windows. If you’re not a fan of that, the Wrangler 4XE won’t do a single thing to change your mind. However, if you’re concerned that the Wrangler 4XE is not a true Wrangler, you have nothing to worry about.

 

  • You can remove the top manually or opt for the convertible Skyroof option. This makes the Wrangler 4XE essentially the only convertible plug-in hybrid vehicle or electric vehicle you can buy. May not seem like a big deal, but for many it is.

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe | Photo: Olivier Delorme

Why You Shouldn’t Buy a 2021 Jeep Wrangler

 

  • You will notice that not once we talked about the Jeep Wrangler 4XE’s range above. That’s because there isn’t a lot to talk about, unfortunately. The advertised range is very difficult to achieve despite an E-Save mode. If you go off road, or you drive for too long with the four-wheel drive system engaged, the range can cut by more than half. Moreover, driving around the city didn’t prove to have the same impact on preserving range than we’ve seen in most PHEV vehicles. If you don’t want to overly change the way you drive, you can expect to do around 20 to 25 kilometres of range (10-18 miles) and even there you have to be careful.

 

  • Perhaps the most surprising thing about the Wrangler 4XE is what happens when the battery is depleted. We averaged over 13 L per 100 km (18 mpg), and that included a lot of highway driving. That is way too high for a PHEV vehicle. It certainly would make us wonder if it’s worth it to upgrade to the 4XE. In certain areas where government incentives lower the price, maybe, but you are certainly not gaining enough in fuel savings to justify the extra cost.

 

  • The Jeep Wrangler has never been an ergonomic vehicle, but the Wrangler 4XE is slightly frustrating when you are trying to adjust the driving modes which are located out of sight. We would have preferred to have the driving modes be more visible.

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe | Photo: Olivier Delorme

Final word on the 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4XE

People who should buy a Jeep Wrangler 4XE are people who understand PHEV vehicles and who want to do everything they can to get the most out of their battery-powered Jeep. That means changing the way they drive in order to maximize efficiency.

If you are buying a Wrangler PHEV with the hopes of saving on fuel, chances are you will be disappointed. The premium cost of the Wrangler 4XE is difficult to make up. On the other hand, the Wrangler 4XE looks great, the performance is strong, and the capability is preserved. It may not be the best PHEV out there, but as far as the first PHEV from Jeep, it is certainly a promising start.

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe | Photo: Olivier Delorme

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Charles Jolicoeur
Charles Jolicoeur was studying to be a CPA when he decided to drop everything and launch a car website in 2012. Don't ask. The journey has been an interesting one, but today he has co-founded and manages 8 websites including EcoloAuto.com and MotorIllustrated.com as General Manager of NetMedia360. He also sits on the board of the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada. Send me an email

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