A silver 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe Rubicon is shown from a high angle driving on a city street.

What Makes the Jeep Wrangler 4xe So Special

Ever since Jeep released their Wrangler 4xe in 2021, drivers who already loved the original gas-engine off-road SUV have been swooning over the electrified version. Or is it the hybrid version? There is actually no straight answer to that, and that’s part of the vehicle’s beauty. If you’ve been looking into a Jeep Wrangler 4xe for sale, you might be wondering just what you’re signing up for with this innovative beauty. Without question, it will still deliver all of the off-road fun drivers have always loved about the Wrangler.

You’ll get those terrific four-wheel drive systems for great traction when it counts. You’ll get that iconic Trail Rated badge from Jeep, which means you’re good to go crawling over boulders and forging through water. Of course, you’ll still enjoy open-air design options for closer interactions with nature. But what makes the 4xe specifically so exciting and different is its ability to operate as a gas-engine vehicle, a hybrid vehicle, or a pure electric vehicle. It’s exactly the type of freedom and versatility Jeep drivers love. Let’s take a look at just what “4xe” means and why you might want to snag one.

Why the 4xe Is Special

Traditionally, drivers have had three separate options: gas engine vehicles, electric vehicles, and hybrid vehicles. The three did not overlap, which has been kind of a bummer, because each has its own unique shortcomings.

Let’s start with gas-engine vehicles. Naturally, they rely on gas. If your adventurous heart refuses to sit out that next great exploration, you’re just a victim to whatever the fuel prices are this weekend. Plus, gas engine vehicles spit out a great deal of tailpipe emissions, which harm the environment and are not doing global climate change any favors.

When it comes to electric, it’s hard not to love that gas prices are no longer a concern. However, charging can take some time. If you have access to a Level 2 charger it can go pretty quickly, but nothing compares to the two-minute fill-up at a gas pump. You’re talking minutes versus hours between refueling and recharging.

Electric vehicles also have a notoriously poor freeway economy. There’s a lot of scientific jargon behind the issue, but basically, the higher wind resistance at freeway speeds takes a great deal more power to push through, and therefore a lot more out of an EV’s battery. If you have lots of long drives ahead of you, prepare for a lot of downtime pulling over to recharge. It’s just not practical.
Finally, there are hybrids. They rely on both gas and an electric drivetrain. That’s cool, but they do not give you the freedom to rely on only the battery beyond low-speed driving conditions. Plus, you still have to fill them up with gas, though certainly not as frequently as purely gas-powered vehicles.

In comes the 4xe, a plug-in hybrid that allows the vehicle to operate as a purely gas-engine vehicle, as a purely electric vehicle, or as a hybrid. It’s the best of all worlds. Below we’ll discuss the different modes and when to use them.

A gray 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe is shown driving through a tunnel.

Hybrid Mode

Hybrid Mode is going to harness the power of both powertrains together. That means you get the full performance of the Wrangler 4xe’s 2.0L turbocharged engine as well as its electric motors.. If you want a combination of good power and acceleration along with solid fuel economy, this is a good mode to go in.

Unlike many hybrid vehicles, in Hybrid Mode the Wrangler 4xe will use up all available battery power before starting the gas engine. This means that if you’re only making short trips around town and plugging in at home, you may not even need to run the gas engine even though it’s available to you in Hybrid Mode, so you won’t dip into costly fuel unless absolutely necessary. When the battery is depleted, though, it will automatically start the gas engine and operate like a traditional vehicle until the battery is recharged.

Hybrid Mode is good for road trips because it gives you versatility in how you refuel or recharge. When you’re driving long stretches of road, you’ll enjoy the fuel economy you can achieve at freeway speeds in hybrid mode.

Electric Mode

In Electric Mode, your Wrangler 4xe can run purely on the battery for up to 21 miles. That might not sound very far, but, if you’re mostly running errands around town this might work for you. If everything on your to-do list today will be less than a 21-mile round trip drive, then you can recharge once you’re at home between errands and enjoy a gas-free day. Where Electric Mode differs from Hybrid Mode is that it will not fall back on the gas engine automatically when it thinks it needs it.

Electric Mode is also a nice option if you’re trying to contribute to cleaner air where you live. In Electric Mode, you won’t be putting out any tailpipe emissions at all.

eSave Mode

eSave mode lets your drive your vehicle as if it is strictly a gas-engine vehicle. It relies entirely on the engine, conserving battery power for later. This can be a good mode to switch to if you’re on a long drive and find yourself in unknown territory.

When the Wi-Fi signal goes away and you can’t look up the nearest gas station, you might want to have your battery fully charged in case you run out of gas. If you have a fairly full tank of gas and simply do not know how long you have until the next station, switch to eSave mode. It’s like an emergency supply of “fuel” for times things don’t go as planned.

It can also be convenient to switch to this if you’re on the highway and know you’ll be transitioning into a lot of street driving later, without time to go home and recharge. Once you get into congested streets, you can switch to electric mode, and know the eSave mode reserved you plenty of battery power for the low-speed situations where electric excels.

Regenerative Braking Is Always Working for You

We’ve covered a lot about charging your 4xe, but it’s important to know that it also works like a regular hybrid in that it also gains battery power through regenerative braking. This feature is always enabled unless you choose to turn it off manually.

Regenerative braking lets your vehicle regain battery power every time you release the accelerator pedal and slow down. It is a separate system from your regular brakes, which you do still need for a full stop. If you drive smart and “coast” when you slow down, you can snag a little more battery power while you’re driving slowly around town.

The Jeep Wrangler 4xe Means Freedom in More Ways Than One

The Jeep Wrangler has always been for drivers with a restless soul who feel the need to explore points unknown. Those roads are usually far away from civilization, which means that making sure you have the fuel you need to get there and back is always a factor when planning your journey.

The Wrangler 4xe allows drivers the freedom to treat their vehicle like a traditional gas engine Jeep, a hybrid, or an electric vehicle. It provides more control over what you pay for gas and how often you pull over to refuel or recharge. If you have a long freeway drive before your off-road haven, drive in hybrid mode until you get there. Once you’ve arrived, you can switch to electric mode for good mileage during low-speed exploration. Plus, you won’t put out tailpipe emissions, so you can help keep the natural landscapes you visit clean and pristine. eSave mode is always there if you need to conserve your battery for later. If you want to just rely on gasoline once the battery runs low, you can do that, too. Your options are as flexible as the Jeep Wrangler itself.