There’s big news for Jeep lovers out there. Jeep is going green with the Wrangler 4xe, and the Grand Wagoneer is poised for a comeback. We dive into all the details below.
FCA unveiled two major new products from their Jeep brand this week. One is the next logical evolution for one of the automotive industry’s most storied nameplates and the other revives a classic to reclaim the throne in a segment it pioneered. The Wrangler 4xe (pronounced 4byE according to Jeep) is the long-awaited addition of an electrified powertrain to American’s favorite off-roader. The return of the Grand Wagoneer (and the regular Wagoneer) marks Jeep’s return to the luxury market with a big, glitzy third-row SUV. Both are exciting infusions into Jeep’s lineup and look to build on last year’s Gladiator success.
2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe – fcanorthamerica.com | Shop Jeep Wrangler on Carsforsale.com
Jeep says they are aiming to become the “greenest” SUV brand in the world. Their new plug-in hybrid Wrangler is the central pillar of that plan. The new Wrangler 4xe won’t look much different than the standard Wrangler aside from the 4xe badging and some subtle and stylish blue accenting (a la Toyota and BMW hybrids). There are, however, some pretty big changes under the hood.
What is different is the inclusion of an electric motor and a 17.3kWh battery pack working in tandem with a 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo. Together, Jeep says the Wrangler 4xe will produce a healthy 378hp and 470lb.-ft. of torque. This translates to a 0-60mph time of six seconds, a tow rating of 3,500lbs., and a payload capacity of 1,200lbs.
The electric driving capabilities are pretty impressive too. Range will top 400 miles on a single tank of gas and include up to 25 miles of electric only driving. There will be three different powertrain modes available: one for full electric driving, another for hybrid – engaging the engine in times of increased power demand, and a regular gas-powered mode that includes an E-Save feature that reserves battery power and a recharge mode. The Wrangler 4xe system operates with regenerative braking, offering a one-pedal driving experience if you so choose.
The Wrangler 4xe will come exclusively as a four-door, with three trims: the base Wrangler, the Sahara, and the top end Rubicon. The first two will receive Select-Track AWD with options for two-wheel and four-wheel drive modes, while the Rubicon will be graced with Rock Track full-time 4WD that comes with extras like True Lock electric front and rear axle lockers, electronic sway-bar disconnect, and a two-speed transfer case.
The 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe is slated for release sometime next year.
Jeep Grand Wagoneer – fcanorthamerica.com | Shop Jeep Grand Wagoneer on Carsforsale.com
Unlike the Wrangler 4xe, the returning Grand Wagoneer previewed this week is still only in concept form and information is scant on the powertrain. Aside from the promise of a plug-in hybrid option, Jeep is currently mum on details. Thankfully, Jeep did grace us plenty of running footage and images to give us an idea on where the company is going with their re-entry into the luxury SUV market.
As we hinted above, the first thing you notice about the Grand Wagoneer concept is the lack of wood paneling. Apparently, Jeep felt the original Grand Wagoneer’s signature feature wasn’t in keeping with modern design aesthetics. But considering how well Ford harkened back to the 1st-generation of their classic SUV with the new Bronco, we question how hard Jeep tried on this one.
A lack of faux wood notwithstanding, the Grand Wagoneer’s exterior does a good job of looking like a proper rival to the Lincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade. Among its flourishes is the gorgeous illuminated grille, undoubtedly the classic seven-slot’s ritziest interpretation to date. Along with the 24-inch obsidian embellished aluminum wheels, such flourishes position the Grand Wagoneer the next Great American Land Yacht. A clear miss however is the extension of the body color up both the B and C pillars, a bold yet perhaps misguided choice we hope doesn’t port from the concept to the final version.
The hit-and-miss of the exterior stops once you open the doors of the Grand Wagoneer, which features one of the most luxurious and refined interiors Jeep has ever offered. In a nod toward greater sustainability, the Grand Wagoneer’s leather is synthetic but also plentiful, as is the wood paneling. Think RAM 1500 with a luxury-level finish.
The arms race among manufacturers for the largest infotainment screen gets turned up another notch with the Grand Wagoneer, which not only offers a 12-inch central screen but another six screens including the gauge cluster, HVAC, dual rear seat entertainment, rear control panel, and a front passenger screen. That adds up to 45-inches worth of screen in the front seat alone. The front passenger screen houses options for infotainment, apps, and other controls. The screen will also be polarized to prevent driver distraction.
The Grand Wagoneer will start around $60,000 and run upwards of $100,000 on the top end. It is targeted for a mid-2021 release.
Judging from the latest from Jeep, it appears manufacturers are starting to crack the code on allowing car buyers to have their cake and eat it too, with smart and exciting electric vehicles. The Wrangler 4xe and Grand Wagoneer confirm that the dual benefits of low-end torque and efficiency make a compelling case for further electrification. In fact, Jeep stated that it’s their goal to offer an electric version of every one of their nameplates within the next few years. Bring ‘em on, we say.