The 2023 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe is a vehicle of compromise offering iconic off-road prowess, interior comfort, and the torque of a V8 with the efficiency of a plug-in hybrid (PHEV). The 2.0-liter four-cylinder PHEV drivetrain provides 375 horsepower and an impressive 470 lb.-ft of torque, with a max towing capacity of 3,500 pounds. In addition to offering 21 miles of all-electric range and 370 miles of total range. Moreover, while running on hybrid gas-electric power, Jeep states the Wrangler 4xe MPG can achieve an impressive 49 miles per gallon/kilowatt.
For these reasons and more, the 2023 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe was voted the Texas Mid-Size Off-Road SUV of the Year by the Texas Motor Press Association in 2022 and 2023.
Jeep Wrangler 4xe Offers the Best of Both Worlds
What makes the Jeep Wrangler 4xe so impressive is how seamlessly it blends power and efficiency into a capable 4×4 that feels at home both on and off-road. The hybrid engine muffles the noises associated with off-roading consisting of loud machines disrupting the tranquil sounds of nature. When driving on electric battery power, the Wrangler 4xe becomes one with the scenery as it silently traverses the landscape with passengers enjoying the view, sounds, and smells of the great outdoors from the open-top cabin.
Moreover, when the dusty trails turn to the tarmac, the Jeep Wrangler 4xe continues to benefit from its hybrid drivetrain. It provides a quiet and smooth ride with enough torque on reserve to get by or overtake anything stuck in the slow lane. A firm press on the throttle results in a sudden and satisfying surge of electrical-assisted acceleration.
Wrangler 4xe Hybrid Engine
The Jeep Wrangler 4xe features a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. On its own, the turbo four-banger cranks out 270 horsepower. However, once aided by electric motors, the small two-liter engine’s combined power output rivals naturally aspirated V8s with 375 hp and a whopping 470 lb.-ft of torque. As a result, the Wrangler 4xe offers a max towing capacity of 3,500 pounds. The Wrangler 4xe’s power is sent to the rear or all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission to a set of Heavy-Duty Dana 44 axles.
In addition, the SUV’s battery pack is sealed behind a waterproof casing. This casing allows the Jeep Wrangler 4xe to safely cross through 31.5 inches of water. Thus, the Jeep Wrangler 4xe can keep up with its ICE variants. Its charging port is located at the top of the front fender near the windshield. Jeep engineers designed the charging port to be strong enough to hold the windscreen when it’s folded down.
Wrangler 4xe Electric Drive Modes
Jeep engineers provided the Wrangler 4xe with specific drive modes allowing the driver to control the vehicle’s battery use. These modes are called E-Selec and are accessed on a button panel located next to the steering wheel on the left-hand side. The driver can choose between the default Hybrid Mode, eSave Mode, and Electric Mode.
The default Hybrid Mode is what you’d expect. The Wrangler 4xe uses its gas engine and electric motors at low speeds to provide maximum performance and efficiency. The combination of its hybrid drivetrain allows the compact engine to deliver surprising amounts of power and acceleration thanks to instant torque provided by the electric motors while delivering an estimated range of 370 miles.
When in eSave Mode, the Wrangler 4xe favors using the turbocharged 2.0-liter gas engine to save the battery’s life for later use. In addition, this mode can help charge the battery using the Max Regeneration feature, which remaps the Jeep’s gas pedal for more aggressive regen at low speeds. It works like regenerative braking or “one-pedal driving” in that when the driver takes their foot off the gas, the Wrangler 4xe slows down without using the brake pedal.
Electric Mode can be used even when the battery is at 1%. This drive mode will run solely on battery power. Jeep says the Wrangler 4xe can run for up to 21 miles on all-electric power. It’s useful for running small errands around town or silent off-road cruising.
Jeep Wrangler 4xe Variants
Buyers have a choice of trim levels for the Jeep Wrangler 4xe. The lineup starts with the Willys Edition at $53k. Following the Willys is the Sahara at $55k, then the Rubicon (featured in this article) at $58k. Finally, the top-of-the-line model is the Jeep Wrangler 4xe High Altitude at $60k. Each trim level offers specific color options, and all can be equipped with standard options like soft tops, different wheel designs, and equipment packages.
The Power to Change Opinion
The most important thing the Jeep Wrangler 4xe achieves is swaying opinions on PHEVs for the better. In addition to preparing SUV buyers for upcoming all-electric Jeep products by giving drivers a taste of silent off-roading. Being able to navigate rugged terrain and appreciate being to hear the earth, wood, and rock crumbling and shifting under the weight of the 4xe was a unique experience. Usually, one can only hear these noises while hiking on foot or on a mountain bike. With the Jeep Wrangler 4xe, you get a stereo soundtrack to the sounds of silence from the comfort of a leather interior.