Is the Hybrid Jeep Worth It?

What with all the buzz, you’ve likely heard of the Jeep Wrangler 4xe, which is powered by a plug-in hybrid powertrain. This thing melds a formidable I-4 powerplant, electric motor, and battery to deliver up to 49 miles per gallon equivalent and 22 miles of dedicated electric driving range.

Okay, okay, but is the hybrid Jeep worth it? Well, yes, in fact, it is.

Here’s why.

Jeep Wrangler 4xe

This year’s 4xe is basically the same as the first iteration and is the first plug-in hybrid sport-ute that has true off-road ability. It also has a battery that can be plugged into an outside source or be recharged by a process called brake energy regeneration.

All told, the vehicle produces 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque, meaning

it’s almost as bad (read: good) as the V8-propelled Rubicon 392, but for less cash.

And it’s true: the hybrid can indeed run for 22 miles on the battery alone, plus you can get around three hours of off-roading in, emissions-free. You also continue to get the 30 inches of stream fording the Jeep Wrangler offers, in addition to a waterproof lithium- ion battery pack.

The 4xe can get from a standstill to 60 mph in six seconds on a straight, regular road, with just a tad of wind and road noise. Yes, some other crossovers offer a more refined ride quality, but most fans of the rough-and-tumble don’t care that much about that.

The Inside

Folks in the front sit tall in the saddle, and comfortably, to boot. You also get split- folding rear seats plus 38.2 inches of rear legroom. Cargo space is reduced somewhat by the plug-hybrid electric hardware, but not by much. Depending on whether the rear seats are folded, you still get between 27.7 and 67.4 cubic feet. Don’t take our word for it; check out the latest Jeep incentives and put a hybrid to the test.

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Exterior Aesthetics

You won’t mistake the hybrid for a four-door Wrangler, thanks to Electric Blue tow hooks and a 4xe hood decal as well as a fuel tank-like flap that’s on the left front. What is Wrangler-like, in addition to superior off-road capability, are the removable doors and roof and foldable soft top (the latter has a sunroof). There’s also a hardtop available with a defroster, rear wiper, and washer, and skid plates to protect the fuel tank and transmission transfer case.

Standard Offerings

If you get the Sahara trim, which is the 4xe base model, you’ll get as standard tinted glass, 20-inch alloy wheels, side steps, heated side mirrors, power windows and locks, keyless entry and ignition, ambient LED footwell lighting, dual-zone auto climate control, a 115-volt outlet, and fabric upholstery. Infotainment-wise, the system offers Bluetooth, satellite radio, three USB ports, and a seven-inch touchscreen.

Engines

As we say, there’s the souped-up, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that takes regular gas, plus a couple of electric motors that rely on a lithium-ion battery set. While one of the motors is a starter/generator, the other one is incorporated into the tranny.

Charging

You only need two hours on what’s called a level 2 charger to juice the hybrid up. And if you go off road a good deal, many Jeep trails now have chargers. Also, many schools, hospitals, and public buildings offer free charging. And you surely won’t have to run to the gas station as much.

So, ultimately, the hybrid Jeep is totally worth it. If you have access to charging, be it at work or at home, you will certainly wind up saving a bunch of cash over time. Plus, you can forget about any range anxiety: if you’ve exhausted the electric range, the vehicle begins performing like a conventional hybrid with a combustion engine. You’ll get where you’re headed — AND raise your miles per gallon. That’s a whole lot of value in one vehicle.