The 2021 model year is going to be big for a lot of automakers, but few are going to experience quite as dramatic a change as Jeep. Jeep is an automaker that has been in the game as far back as the Second World War, developing vehicles that were capable of traversing over the battlegrounds. Today, Jeep is a manufacturer that specializes in civilian-centric cars that have a similar level of durability and capability. The Jeep family is changing and ever-evolving, as signs point to a renewed focus towards on-pavement driving. We have already seen a substantial transition in this direction through the introduction of fuel-efficient compact Jeep models like the Jeep Renegade. However, there are some Jeep rumors regarding their 2021 models floating around that point towards a more dramatic change. From plug-in hybrid electric powertrains to vehicles packed with a far more robust driver assistance package, the Jeep family lineup is changing, and we’re still unsure of what it’ll mean for the future of this rugged car manufacturer.
A Changing Flagship
For years, the Jeep Wrangler has been the centerpiece of the whole Jeep family. While other models may have been tailored towards the family or the daily commuter, the Jeep Wrangler was always the focal point; the core of what the entire Jeep brand represented. Off-road prowess has always been the name of the game for Jeep Wranglers, and models of the past have offered this in spades. However, for 2021, the most capable Jeep model is getting a surprising refresh.
Taking a look at the 2020 automotive trends, a reluctance towards gas-guzzling engines and a distaste for rising gas prices has pushed auto manufacturers to develop more fuel-efficient vehicles. In some instances, this has pushed towards the development of hybrid powertrains in vehicles that have historically been fuel-thirsty. The 2021 Jeep Wrangler is expected to fall in line with this growing trend.
Based on the growing rumor, the 2021 Jeep Wrangler will possibly sport a plug-in hybrid alternative to the beefy powertrains traditionally offered in the lineup. Sure, you’ll still likely get that same V6 powertrain that the Jeep Wrangler has always been known for, and possibly even the new 2.0-liter turbo-4 that graced last year’s model, but you’ll also get the chance at driving something a little more efficient on the pavement.
Still, we know little about this fourth-generation hybrid Jeep Wrangler, but we do know it will be called the Jeep Wrangler 4Xe, and have somewhat similar performance to the hybrid powertrain found in the Chrysler Pacifica. The hybrid powertrain in the Chrysler minivan is pretty substantial too, earning 33 miles to the gallon, and should boost the gas-savings of the Jeep Wrangler considerably.
Bigger and Better
The Jeep Wrangler isn’t the only model in the Jeep family that’s getting a complete refresh. The elusive 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee was spied recently, and it has shed some light on what we can expect from the largest of the Jeep models. For one, the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee is expected to be much larger than the outgoing 2020 model. While we still don’t have the specific measurements, the first photos show a much beefier version than last year’s version with all of its sloped edges and soft lines.
The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee will also ride on the platform of the Alfa Romeo Giorgio, which is bound to make for a completely different level of performance. While we still only have rumor to go off on, we can expect higher-tier trims like the performance-focused SRT and Trackhawk to benefit significantly from this change-up.
We also know that we can expect the Jeep Grand Cherokee to get a different baseline engine, and it’ll take the form of the turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four hybrid engines found in the 2020 Jeep Wrangler. In the modern Jeep Wrangler, this hybrid powertrain doesn’t do a lot for fuel economy but does make for some decent performance when put to task. And like the Jeep Wrangler, we can expect a plug-in hybrid version to grace the Jeep Grand Cherokee lineup later in the year. There will also be a new EcoDiesel V6 available, which like many of the new powertrains gracing the Jeep Grand Cherokee, has yet to receive a full rating.
The Newcomer on Campus
The Jeep Renegade entered the Jeep family with mixed reviews. Some loved it; others hated it. Although, regardless of what critics have said, what was thought to be a ‘flash in the pan’ moment has continued passed its previously thought expiration date. The Jeep Renegade, as it turns out, is the exact direction that Jeep ought to go. Focusing on cars that are practical in terms of power and fuel economy but can still be configured to handle the kind of rough and wild driving that so many Jeep drivers expect behind the wheel is perfect. The 2021 Jeep Renegade is going to make landfall with plenty of changes, and like other models within the Jeep family, it’ll likely get a hybrid electric powertrain.
For starters, much about the 2021 Jeep Renegade is going to remain the same as what was in last year’s model. You’ll still get that quirky styling that drivers have grown to love so much. You’ll also get the same standard gas-powered engine that you may have found in last year’s model. Although, what’s different this time is the fact that Jeep plans to pair that same engine with a rear-axle electric motor. This electric motor isn’t just meant to improve fuel economy either; it also has the central task of improving off-road capability. With this hybrid electric powertrain, you get to enjoy far quicker torque delivery, which is a must-have for any off-roading experience.
Beyond the addition of a new hybrid-electric powertrain, the 2021 Jeep Renegade is expected to look and feel relatively the same behind the wheel. While a little heavier, thanks to that hybrid powertrain, and a little beefier too, the 2021 Jeep Renegade ought to offer the same unique and rugged ride that drivers have come to expect from the runt of the Jeep model litter.
Following the Evolving Story with Jeep
The Jeep lineup is evolving, and that is hardly a problem. We’ve only scratched the surface on all the changes coming to the automaker’s line of vehicles. What’s happening in the next year or so should keep the Jeep SUV on top, allowing for the line of vehicles to focus on essentials like on-pavement performance and fuel economy. While this news of a new hybrid-electric line of Jeep SUVs may turn away the Jeep brand purists, it’ll undoubtedly attract newcomers to the brand. Vehicles that were once thought to be rather inaccessible due to their mediocre fuel economy and ‘off-road-only’ practicality will now open their doors to drivers who want a car to go from point A to point B reasonably well. While we’re still a long way out from seeing the full results of this change-up in direction, we’re certainly excited to see Jeep taking a course of moving towards the automotive trend rather than away from it. These evolvements will help Jeep’s business and the environment.