The EV genie is not getting back into the bottle at this point, and it’s evident the industry is making a radical shift when even an iconic vehicle like the Jeep Wrangler is buying in. Last year, the brand introduced a 4xe plug-in hybrid variant, and now the latest 2022 model receives a few minor enhancements.
“Our Jeep 4xe vehicles will be the most efficient, responsible and capable that the brand has ever created,” says Jeep CEO Christian Meunier in a media release. “We are committed to make Jeep the greenest SUV brand. The electrification of the Jeep lineup will allow commuters to travel solely on electric power, delivering an efficient and fun on-road experience and offering an ability to enjoy even more Jeep capability off-road in nearly complete silence.”
Stylistically, this Wrangler isn’t drastically different — customers may still choose from 10 different colours and the various types of tops — which personally I think is better than having the vehicle’s signature look altered. There’s Electric Blue accenting on the tow hooks, graphics and badging as well as the interior stitching. Our press loaner featured the optional one-touch fabric Sky Power Top requiring absolutely no unzipping or unbolting to open and close.
The interior is pretty much what one would expect, with the exception of additional content on the driver information display and Unconnect touchscreen. For example, Eco Coaching pages show how the regenerative braking is working, gives stats on efficiency, and allows the scheduling of charging times. The caveat is all the extra data is a bit busy making it hard to see how much battery energy and fuel is remaining.
Under the hood is where things really get interesting. A 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, is complemented by two electric motors and a 400-volt battery pack. The resulting performance is nothing to scoff at: a total of 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. A motor-generator replaces the traditional alternator resulting in near-seamless start-stop operation. Starting up the Wrangler to virtually complete silence is definitely a little strange the first few times.
Drivers are able to choose from three different operation settings via E Selec. Hybrid utilizes the internal combustion engine (ICE) and electric motors in tandem; Electric runs in zero emissions mode unless the battery is depleted and/or the accelerator is fully engaged; and eSave prioritizes the ICE saving charge for later use. The middle mode is particularly useful for in-city commuting, but rated at 35 kilometres plugging in after almost every trip is necessary.
Fortunately, Jeep proves going green and going off-road aren’t mutually exclusive. If anything, it makes hitting the trails even more fun as torque comes on instantly and smoothly helping exercises like rock crawling become more predictable. And depending on the trim, different 4x4 systems are available such as the Rock-Trac that includes a two-speed transfer case with 4:1 low-range gear ratio. Skid plates and front/rear tow hooks are standard equipment.
For 2022 Silver Zynith Metallic and High Velocity exterior paint is being offered, and buyers can bundle a factory-installed Jeep Performance Parts Corning Gorilla Glass windshield. The new Sunrider Flip Top also joins the array of roofs, combining a soft front section and hard rear.
MSRP: $55,321 (base)
Motor: 2.0-litre four cylinder + two electric motors
Horsepower: 375 @ 5,250 rpm
Torque (lb-ft): 470 @ 3,000
Gearbox: eight-speed automatic
Layout: front engine, four-wheel drive
Fuel economy: 10.3 L/100 km mixed city/highway (observed)