YOU-HAH. Eighty years after the original Willys Jeep jeep installed the template, the Jeep Wrangler series of compact SUVs is selling as of tomorrow, accounting for three-quarters of record sales in a row in the U.S., including 118,666 units in the first six months of 2021.
Unfortunately, prices are rising like they were not yesterday. Our test car, the 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe, the first plugged-in Jeep hybrid car in the U.S., arrived last week with a pretty staggering window sticker price of $ 65,890. I may have urinated a little there on the porch.
But as it turned out, this is the old price. Since the construction of our car, it has been revised upwards by $ 3,360 to $ 69,250. That’s $ 9,905 more than the non-hybrid Rubicon with the same engine. The difference even exceeds the insanely generous $ 7,500 federal tax credit for PHEV. This should help cool sales.
For those who have swallowed a Jeep pill, I am not here to deny your desires. I mean, practically and objectively, there are some of the worst cars for average day trips and trips. But whatever it is, be yourself. By 2021, the Wrangler has five transmission options in the U.S., including the V8, V6, diesel V6, inline-4 and PHEV. I would recommend the I4 version.
As for PHEV, it is shameless environmental friendliness, unable to clear the lowest deckchair of skepticism. The EPA estimates the fuel economy of 49 mph (miles per gallon equivalent of gasoline, including electricity) sounds good; but this is so only for the first 22 miles of work, and only when the battery is fully charged, and only when you drive as if driving a funeral procession. Once the battery is down, the average mileage is reduced to 20 miles per gallon, and this is unfortunately the place where most consumers will find it.
As I said in the previous column, I am not against PHEV as such, only those meager systems that complicate the driving experience in the pursuit of regulatory credit and buyer incentives. Or those in which technology is largely dedicated to performance. A little bit of both here. The maximum power of the 4xe system is 375 hp. and 470 pound-feet makes it the second most powerful Wrangler after the Rubicon 392 (470 hp).
I’ve heard from some luminous creatures claiming that they plug their PHEVs short range at home or at work, thus moving miles on gas. Namaste. However, research shows that the lower the range of the fully electric PHEV range, the less likely it is that average consumers will worry about charging. Like most PHEVs, 4xe is not supercharged.
As expected, the 4xe is a beast that crawls, grabs claws and climbs, with knotty all-terrain tires at four corners, solid axles and a detachable front stabilizer to help the front wheels overcome obstacles. My concern with off-road – and off-lease – is less about the chassis than the parts. This car has all the complications of an exotic PHEV, like the Ferrari SF90 Stradale, mounted on top of Jeep’s most Byzantine multimodal full-wheel drive system, including a low-speed manual transmission with manual engagement.
It moves as part of futuristic agricultural equipment. The 4xe weighs 700 pounds more than its gas-only equivalent, of which 50 pounds is a control code.
Under the hood is a crowded 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 with stop / start mode and light electronic amplification thanks to the starter / generator with belt drive. The turbocharger and electric air conditioning pump are installed high in the engine compartment to avoid water ingress. There’s a bunch of baked snakes.
Inside the transmission case, a “binary” dual-clutch mechanism connects and disconnects the engine output to the high-voltage traction engine (134 hp / 181 lb-ft) located inside. At the stern of the electronic engine with eight-speed automatic transmission is another dual-clutch. We, by the way, have not yet left the transmission case.
From there, torque is delivered to the Rock-Trac NV241 two-speed low-range transfer case with a 4: 1 low-range transmission, and then south and north via bomb-protected cardan shafts to the Dana 44 solid axles with button activation. , algorithmically controlled differential lock.
Now to the electrician: under the rear seat is a 400-volt battery with liquid cooling and heating at 17.3 kW / h. The battery control scheme includes a heater and a cooler connected to the air conditioner refrigerant. Under the package is a module that combines a charger and a power inverter. All electricity is airtight, says Jeep, which gives 4xe the ability to pass water to depths of up to 30 inches. I brake for trout.
Speaking of which: the braking system is electro-hydraulic, which combines frictional braking with hybrid regenerative braking, like the steering system. So is hydraulics too. Coordinating all of these disparate systems required greater integration than Brown v. Board of Education.
4xe has one perfect and beautiful use option: the ability to work almost silently on trails in the open or in wildlife and bird sanctuaries. There’s actually a drive mode button that turns off the battery offline so the owner can save electrons until he or she reaches the park or trail. But the 4xe is far from going in EV mode, not with the 4×4 system involved. Whenever a terrain or driver requires more than electricity can provide, the engine comes to life. There are marriage spoons.
The jeep here is not entirely wrong. If the goal of off-road vehicle technology is to maintain perfect traction on all four tires with the highest degree of control, electric motion is inherently superior to internal combustion. First of all, 4xe makes me look for a more direct and short way: a fully electric Wrangler, without the need for a turbine, clutch packs and gear kits. Two high torque motors, one battery and inverter, and several moving parts. It just seems more reliable.
Unfortunately, Jeep doesn’t offer the EV Wrangler and won’t for a while, although e-adventure seems to be a growing market segment (Rivian, Tesla Cybertruck). Stellantis ’strategy to“ electrify ”the fleet for the 2020s relies on the sale of PHEV pickups and SUVs and many leaders behind what is happening in this case.
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 4xe 2021
Base price: $ 54,925
Price verified: $ 69,250 (including destination $ 1,495; discounts)
Engine / drive: 2.0-liter 2.0-liter DOHC in-line four with direct injection and belt starter / generator (39 hp / 44 lb-ft); eight-speed automatic transmission with built-in traction engine (134 hp / 181 lb-ft); battery 17.3 kW / h; regular all-wheel drive with two-speed transfer case; electric locking front and rear differentials.
Maximum power / torque of the system: 375 horsepower at 5,250 rpm / 470 lb-ft at 3,000 rpm.
Length / width / height / wheelbase: 188.4 / 73.8 / 73.5 / 118.4 inches
Equipped weight: 5222 pounds
EPA assessment for combined fuel economy: 49 mpg / 20 mpg (gas-electric mode / gas only)
Load capacity: 27.7 / 67.4 cubic feet (rear seat back up / folded)
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