A new plug-in hybrid version of the Jeep Wrangler SUV may be able to take you to an off-road trail without even a whiff of tailpipe emissions — at least as long as that trail is less than 21 miles away.
The new Wrangler 4xe is the brand’s first plug-in hybrid, and it is arguably the first off-road-capable vehicle that can drive like an electric car for short distances. The 21-mile electric range rating from the EPA isn’t quite what Jeep initially promised; the automaker had previously estimated it would go 25 miles on battery power alone.
Still, the overarching 49 mpg-e rating — which is based on an energy-use equivalent formula devised by the EPA to allow for comparison with fuel-only vehicles — is impressive given the Wrangler’s brick-like shape and hefty curb weight.
Surprisingly, though, the Wrangler 4xe’s combined fuel economy figure of 20 mpg is less than that of a standard Wrangler without plug-in hybrid capability. The Wrangler 4xe uses a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder to provide motivation when the battery’s charge runs out. A non-hybrid version with the same engine and 8-speed automatic transmission rates 22 mpg combined.
However, the Wrangler 4xe may make sense for commuters who want an off-roader for the weekends but drive 20 miles or less between charges.
The EPA says the Wrangler 4xe will cost about $1,750 to fill up annually for the average driver, about $200 less than a non-hybrid turbocharged Wrangler. Jeep charges about $49,000 for the Wrangler 4xe Sahara, which comes only as a four-door model. That’s about $8,900 more than Jeep asks for a standard Wrangler Sahara four-door — but the 4xe may qualify for federal, state, and even local tax credits as a zero-emissions vehicle. In some cases, it may wind up being cheaper than an equivalent non-hybrid Wrangler. Find a Jeep Wrangler on Autotrader