Zero emissions and off-roading are usually mutually exclusive, but not if Jeep has anything to say about it. Cue the 2023 Wrangler Willys 4xe, an extra-rugged variant of the PHEV honouring Willys-Overland Motors that manufactured World War II and later military vehicles. And as if the special Electric Blue detailing isn't eye-catching enough, the optional bright Punk'n orange exterior colour should be.
The limited-edition model is fully loaded, featuring LED head and fog lamps, Alpine nine-speaker premium audio, rear limited-slip differential, rock rails and 17-inch black wheels shod in BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain 255/75/R17 tires.
A 2.0-litre turbocharged inline-four mill and two integrated electric motors combine to generate 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. A 400-volt, 17-kilowatt-hour nickel manganese cobalt battery provides a maximum of 35 kilometres of EV operation. While not super impressive compared to some competitors, at the same time, only a few can claim to traverse difficult terrain sans fuel. And the instant-on torque makes for more precision in exercises like rock crawling.
Although the AJAC event focused primarily on dry paved surfaces, the Willys utilizes full-time four-wheel drive, heavy-duty Dana 44 axles all around, a Selec-Trac two-speed transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio and a Trac-Lok rear LSD to tackle traction-challenged surfaces including sand, gravel, snow and ice. It's also capable of fording water up to 76 centimetres and packs multiple skid plates to protect vulnerable underbody parts.
MSRP: $65,173 (base)
Motor: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder + two electric motors
Horsepower: 375 (net)
Torque (lb-ft): 470 (net)
Gearbox: eight-speed automatic
Layout: four-wheel drive
Fuel economy: 10.0 L/100 km (observed)