Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara 4xe
“From simple to complicated high tech – a Jeep on juice”
By Arv Voss
Despite its newfound complexity, the 4xe range of venerable Wranglers loses none of its legendary capability or features. The iconic off-road warrior enters the modern era as a four door, five passenger convertible although going sans top is a bit of a challenge. It’s now a plug-in hybrid, but one is not likely to be tooling about in electric mode when rock crawling.
Unlike the WWII era Wrangler, todays examples serve up such conveniences as air conditioning and power windows. Other available goodies include leather upholstery, touchscreen infotainment featuring in-dash navigation, a Wi-Fi hot spot along with a power soft top. Doors and roofs remain removable.
There are now two new powertrains – the plug-in hybrid 4xe and the monster 470 horsepower V8 that moves the new Rubicon392 down the road.The electrified hybrid Wrangler combines a turbocharged four-cylinder with an electric motor for a generous 375-hp combined output. Along with the extra electric power, the 4xe powertrain is also capable of delivering up to 25 miles of electric-only motoring and a potential zero-to-60-mph time of 6.0 seconds. The 4xe system is only available on four-door Unlimited models be and the battery pack’s placement under the rear seat allows the plug-in Wrangler to keep the same ground clearance and capability as non-hybrid models.
The newest lineup of Wranglers are still akin to a rolling box in terms of their design and overall form, but subtle touches that tend to increase their intrinsic appeal have been added without affecting the brand’s heritage and ruggedness.
CONNECTIVITY AND INFOTAINMENT
Wranglers may be fitted with only the basic essentials or they can be topped off with up to date infotainment features. The infotainment interface is dubbed Uconnect and is easy to use, readily responsive, and it can be displayed on a touchscreen, which is available in three sizes. Apple Car Play and Android Auto are optional, as is a nine-speaker Alpine audio system and navigation.
COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE
Wranglers are not the most spacious or accommodating SUVs available in today’s market[lace, but they offer a smooth combination of heritage and modern Jeep flavor. There’s a commanding view of the road—or off-road, which makes for ease of maneuverability, however the rearward view is hampered by bulky roof pillars, roll bars, and grab handles. The Wrangler offers enough room for groceries and gear, but the rear seats don’t fold flush with the floor.
DRIVER ASSISTANCE AND SAFETY FEATURES
Unfortunately, Jeep offers only a limited number of optional driver assistance features, but not high-tech gear that one expects to see on vehicles in their elevated price range. Key available safety features offered include: blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and rear parking sensors.
MY Jeep Wrangler tester was the Unlimited Sahara 4xe which wore a Billet Silver metallic exterior coat and came with a Black interior. The base sticker read $47,995. with the as tested price rising to $54,030. After factoring in the extensive list of optional fare. In terms of warranty, a standard package that includes limited warranty and powertrain policies, all 2021 models come with a limited warranty that covers 3 years of free maintenance or 36,000 miles and a powertrain warranty covering 5 years or 60,000 miles.
CHARGING, BATTERY LIFE AND RANGE
Electric off-roading? The 17.0-kWh battery pack is claimed to provide up to 25 miles of electric-only driving, which the folks at Jeep say is enough for a few hours of low-speed off-roading, and that when When the battery runs out, the turbocharged four-cylinder is capable of powering all four wheels like a conventional Wrangler, so there’s no need to be concerned about being stranded in the wilderness without charging capability.
The Wrangler 4xe is undeniably the most complicated Wrangler ever with its. 2.0-liter turbo-4 coupled with a 17.3-kwh battery pack, the motor generator, and an electric motor for a total combined output of 375 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque and also an 8-speed automatic transmission and full-time four-wheel-drive system with a 2-speed transfer case. Even with all this, the power is available on command while functioning in the background. Run in Hybrid mode and the system will default to Electric mode if there’s enough power in the battery pack and one isn’t calling for all the power. When the energy runs out of the battery pack, the 4xe runs like a typical hybrid.
The 134-hp electric motor incorporated in the 8-speed automatic transmission isn’t powerful enough for every situation. Even in electric-only mode with enough juice in the battery pack, the turbo-4 will kick on if the accelerator is fully depressed.
OUR FINAL TAKE
Even though the 4xe is a plug-in hybrid, but its form lacks efficient aerodynamics. A similar powertrain in a vehicle that sits lower, has better aerodynamics, and less capability would enable increased electric driving range. The Wrangler’s battery pack is mounted beneath the rear seat and does not compromise the Wrangler’s capabilities.
The majority of plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles place the charging port on the front fender behind the front wheel or in the rear quarter panel rather than a gas engine’s fuel filler. The Wrangler sensibly positions the charging port at the base of the driver-side A-pillar – a smart location that keeps the port away from off-roading damage.
The Wrangler 4xe likely will not appeal to the hard-core traditionalist, but it represents a progressive and evolutionary step forward.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara 4xe
Base Price: $47,995.
Price as Tested: $54,030.
Engine Type and Size: 2.0-liter, DOHC, 16-valve turbocharged and intercooled inline four cylinder – direct injection + 2 AC motors, 44 and 134 hp, 39 and 181 lb-ft (combined output: 375 hp, 470 lb-ft; 14.0-kWh lithium-ion battery pack -7.2-kW onboard charger)
Horsepower (bhp): 270 @ 6400 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 295 @ 4800 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic with manual shifting mode.
Drive Train: Front engine, front and mid-motor 4-wheel drive.
Suspension: Front – Live axle
Rear – Live axle
Brakes: Power-assisted four wheel vented discs.brakes
Tires: Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza – 275/55 R20 113T M&S mounted on5-“V”-spoke gloss black painted alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 118.4 inches
Length Overall: 188.4 inches
Width: 73.8 inches
Height: 73.5 inches
Curb Weight: 5,318 lbs.
Turning Circle: Not listed
Drag Coefficient: Not listed
0 – 60 mph: 5.5 seconds
Fuel Economy 16 MPGe – Combined/City/Highway 20/20/20 mpg – Combined Gas + electricity: 49 MPGe. EV range 21 miles. Highway range 430 niles.