Hardly any other vehicle combines history and off-road characteristics as much as the Jeep Wrangler. Its terrain is clearly rough terrain and the special challenges are probably also the motivation for drivers to start the adventure with the legendary four-wheel drive vehicle. But the Wrangler also has to bow to the dictates of CO2 reduction. And so it follows downsizing and electrification with a current model as a plug-in hybrid. Does the Wrangler still have the off-road gene?
The first impression counts and so the Wrangler in a colorful "nacho" orange is already a visual eye-catcher. All the style-setting elements of the Wrangler generations are accentuated here. The round headlights, the rudimentary radiator handle and the idiosyncratic bonnet with the attached fasteners. The innovations are discreetly incorporated and carefully executed. The rearranged round LED headlights and the LED strips flanking the side of the mudguard are integrated and well protected. In the dual function, the strips are used for the daytime running lights and the indicators.
But not only this impression conveys robustness and durable off-road capability. A few rough details were also preserved. The compact doors with the chunky locks, the generous angles and short overhangs coupled with coarse off-road tires and the traditional spare wheel on the tailgate allude to the original task areas. With the 4xe, the focus is on a robust appearance. This also continues in the interior. Behind the mighty steering wheel there are the necessary displays and in the center the usual infotainment screen
There are hardly any limits in the terrain
Otherwise, fortunately, the painted sheet metal in the interior, a simple tool set in the storage compartment of the center console for screwing and the chunky gear and transmission selector lever for a rich selection in the field. An emblem of the pure Jeep Cabrio sits enthroned on the automatic transmission knob. Get in, adjust the upright seats briefly, and off you go off-road. Not a trace of noise reduction, all switching and all-wheel operations are easily audible for the true off-road fan.
With the new PHEV variant, consisting of your rough 2.0-liter in-line four-cylinder and, following the trend, an electric motor with 145 hp placed in the gearbox, you are already very well prepared. There is also a belt start generator with 45 hp, which ensures smoother start-stop phases. The overall package with a total of 381 hp and an impressive maximum torque of 637 Nm offers an attractive performance package for the off-roader.
Once you have arrived in the terrain, with the reduction and selection of the all-wheel drive, a fully-fledged all-wheel drive is available for propulsion. Inclines and steep descents can be tackled without any problems. The special feature compared to the conventional models lies in the selection of the driving modes. If the battery is charged, you can drive purely electrically via "E-Mode", the standard setting is "Hybrid" as a combination of both drives. In addition, the battery status can be maintained via "E-Save" or charged via the combustion engine.
flexibility in the field
If you're not using the deep-treaded off-road tires, the 4xe can also demonstrate a few advantages on paved roads. It is rougher to drive, but can exploit the advantages of all-wheel drive on wintry or rain-soaked roads. In addition, the driving safety systems such as the adaptive cruise control are integrated in our version and make driving fun on long journeys easier.
Back in the towns, a button can be selected for maximum recuperation if needed to recharge the battery. When activated, a one-pedal feeling is in effect, so that the jeep is braked immediately when the foot on the accelerator is released and energy recovery is maximized. With a full battery, the heavy Wrangler can be moved with moderate thirst. Here, under 6 liters are also possible in winter when driving culture is subdued. If the battery capacity is running low, the Wrangler takes the power from the petrol engine, then 10 to 12 liters of premium petrol are quite common in winter. Expect more for intensive off-road use or high-speed highway driving.
Charging at your own wall box is effective
Like other PHEV companions, it is optimal to charge the battery overnight in your own wall box in order to drive most effectively from a cost perspective. A bit of patience is required when charging with the type 2 connection at public charging stations, a good two and a half hours have to be allowed for. If the full capacity is reached, you can probably cover up to 50 kilometers electrically in summer under ideal conditions, in winter it is almost 30 kilometers in our test.
So what remains exciting about the Wrangler with the PHEV? The off-road impressions coupled with the driving safety systems and the flexible gear reduction make the Wrangler a companion on the outdoor terrain. A good overview and the reminiscences of traditional values make it still appear unique among all off-road vehicles.
It is currently only available as a five-door and the entry-level price is expensive or even slightly more expensive than the original prices without hybrid technology. The Sahara costs a whopping 77.500 euros and the slightly better equipped Rubicon costs 79.500 euros. That only pays off for absolute fans who remain loyal to the Wrangler. But at least a few hundred fans in Germany have already got involved with the BAFA-Premium for the Jeep Wrangler PHEV.
The future at Jeep is clearly defined by the new electric SUVs at Jeep. According to the company, there will already be four new electric models on the market by 2025.
The unique Wrangler PHEV is certainly not Habeck's flagship model when it comes to CO2 savings. In view of the expired premiums for plug-in hybrids, Jeep will now have to make a spurt when it comes to electric cars. If you put purely the off-road characteristics in the foreground, the Wrangler will remain the ultimate for a sworn Jeep fan base.
Test in winter 2022/2023
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