We see them more and more — hybrids, electric and eco-friendly cars. Technology is advancing to make these vehicles more appealing to the average driver; but what about Jeep?
Well, meet the future…
The Jeep Wrangler, not well known for fuel economy appears to be going green. Jeep has announced that it will debut plug-in hybrid versions of the Wrangler, Compass, and Renegade at CES 2020 in Las Vegas this month.
The three vehicles — all united under the brand’s new “4xe” hybrid branding — will spearhead a movement that will see every Jeep model offer a plug-in hybrid variant by 2022.
According to our friends at GearPatrol:
Jeep has provided no 4xe-specific powertrain details. That said, the Wrangler already shares its 3.6-liter V6 with the Chrysler Pacifica minivan, so porting over the Pacifica’s 3.6-liter V6 plug-in hybrid powertrain — which gets 32 mpg combined and offers 33 mpg of pure electric range — seems like a natural move.
Pricing for the 4xe cars remains unclear as well. The Pacifica’s hybrid system bumps the starting price from $33,745 to $39,995 –although the Pacifica is also eligible for a $7,500 federal tax incentive, which makes the effective cost of the hybrid lower than the gas version. That federal tax rebate could be the Wrangler 4xe’s trump card; as in the minivan, it could offset the price of the plug-in hybrid hardware. Theoretically, it could even make the PHEV model the cheapest Wrangler.
Adding hybrids to the strong-selling Jeep lineup is a necessary step for FCA, which has been lagging behind other automakers when it comes to meeting increasingly-stringent fuel emissions standards. Bringing average fleet-wide emissions down was a major reason for FCA’s merger with PSA; prior to that, FCA paid Tesla to pool its fleet in Europe in a bid to avoid emissions fines in 2019.
We will be watching to see if a Jeep Wrangler hybrid will tackle the Rubicon Trail with the ease of the Jeep JL.
The $64,000-when-fully-loaded question is: will Wrangler buyers accept a hybrid? Probably. The off-roading icon does have a strong enthusiast base that drives some corporate decision-making, like adding a diesel engine. But a base that may be skeptical of a hybrid has become less important as the Wrangler has become a more mass-market family vehicle.
Nine out of 10 buyers opt for the four-door version that was once sacrilegious. A similar percentage choose the once-anathema automatic transmission. If anything, the increased fuel efficiency from the hybrid will probably increase the car’s appeal.
As always, ModernJeeper will stay tuned and keep you informed as we enter the future of Jeeping.