Experienced by Leon Brittain
Redesigned in 2018 from the ground up, one of the latest Jeep Wranglers for 2021 is a plug-in electric variant dubbed the 4xe to bring the American icon up-to-speed with green energy expectations. As the proud owner of three prior Wranglers, and my current 2016 Unlimited, I enjoy the “spirit of adventure” Wranglers offer and the unequivocal go-anywhere and self-assurance they present. And now, I can partake in Jeep group activities with more planetary consciousness.
The new 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara 4xe was delivered to Automotive Rhythms (AR) in a Billet Silver Metallic Clear-Coat exterior paint with defined Surf Blue highlights signifying the 4xe model that comes in three trims: Sahara, Rubicon, and High Altitude. With the sales success of the Wrangler 4xe, Sahara pricing increased from an MSRP of $47,995 to $51,025, excluding the $1,495 destination charge. Rubicon 4xe starts at $54,725 and the High Altitude 4xe comes in at $56,845. Our Sahara 4xe also featured the $2,495 body-color 3-piece hardtop, which I took off here and there when we showed signs of good weather in Maryland. Keep in mind that a $7,500 federal tax credit is available to help reduce overall vehicle expense.
“Our 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe is the greenest, most efficient and capable Wrangler we have created yet,” said Christian Meunier, Global President of Jeep Brand – FCA. “We are committed to making Jeep the greenest SUV brand, and the new Wrangler 4xe is part of that goal, delivering an efficient, eco-friendly and fun-to-drive experience both on- and off-road.”
The Wrangler Sahara 4xe is powered by Jeep’s competent 2-liter 4-cylinder Turbo PHEV engine producing 375-horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. It’s paired with a TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic transmission. The two electric motors are ignited by a 400-volt, 17 kWh, 96-cell lithium-ion, nickel manganese cobalt battery pack that distributes roughly 21 all-electric miles when you are feeling super green. The Wrangler Sahara 4xe starts in silence and moves as swiftly as needed when it’s time to fly. An included Level I charging cable re-powers the battery in 12 hours from a standard household outlet. I plugged it into my garage outlet for convenience. An upgradeable Level II Mopar Branded TurboDX EV charger can handle the task in just two hours. In addition, a partnership with Electrify America will allow owners to utilize its public charging network in shopping centers, hotels, government offices, and other businesses.
A technologically savvy feature dubbed E-Selec presents three driving modes to take advantage of the EV capabilities. All Electric Mode is pure E-energy, but you will tap out sooner than expected when running your errands. The default Hybrid Mode combines torque from the gas engine and juice from the electric motors. eSave Mode focuses on the 2-liter power first to save E-energy for later use. On top of that, Max Regeneration allows recharging from decelerating and braking.
Inside, the 4xe mirrors the comforts and technologies of traditional Wranglers. It begins with the thick, multipurpose steering wheel with an impressive on-center feel and ends with the latest generation Uconnect 8.4” touchscreen display. The Sahara 4xe is adorned with leather-trimmed bucket seats, big rubbery dials, elongated door armrests, New Lift-Assist handles under each door, multiple USB and USB-c slots, and netted door pockets. Its front seatbacks are indented for a little more legroom to second-row passengers. However, the driver’s seat sits too high and puts my head at the ceiling. Also, manual seat and steering adjustments are still in play. Lastly, the 9-speaker Alpine audio system with a massive subwoofer in the cargo area, a 552-watt, 12-channel amplifier, and “ceiling frame” installed speakers act as a mobile concert when the doors and roof come off.
As stated, the fiberglass hardtop is removable in pieces. I could detach the front two parts by myself, but the one-piece rear section requires two people or the Mopar crane. Of course, you can take off the doors as usual and wash out the interior because the utility has drain holes. Moreover, even with the use of lighter materials such as aluminum doors, hinges, hood, windshield frame, and fenders and a 50% lighter swing gate built from magnesium, rigidity has been improved by 18%.
For adventurers, the Wrangler 4xe can still crawl over boulders and climb up mountainsides thanks in part to the 2.72:1 Selec-Trac Full-Time 4WD System and 20×8″ Black-painted aluminum rims outfitted in 275/55 R20 Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza tires. In addition, the wheelbase is longer, two tow hooks are strategically placed within the front fender, the turning radius has been improved, the track is wider, and next-generation Dana 44 HD axles are stiffer with wider diameters. Also, expect 3,500 pounds of towing.
With legendary traits, the Wrangler’s cult-like following will love the 4xe model while continuing to grow its reputation astronomically. I ended my experience by connecting with AR publisher Kimatni Rawlins to put our mountain bikes on trails while enjoying the beauty of Mother Nature. Fellowship is essential, so keep connecting and moving sustainably people.