Early EV adopters paid a hefty premium for the right to say “they got it first.” Tesla, for example, didn’t release its budget-friendly Model 3 until six years after the luxurious flagship Model S made its debut. New 48-volt mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid tech has followed the very same trend, often ending up in pricier versions of a given model. The BMW X5 xDrive45e, for instance, is the most expensive X5 you can buy outside of the M-branded performance models. Ditto the Toyota RAV4 Prime plug-in. Jeep is following much the same trend with the new Wrangler 4xe, and placing it near the tippy top of the already pricey Wrangler lineup.
The plug-in hybrid Wrangler 4xe will be available in two of the Wrangler’s nicer trims—either Sahara or Rubicon, and both will be available as “Launch Editions.” This leaves the door open for the 4xe treatment to be applied to lesser, more affordable models in the future. The Sahara model will start at $49,490 before an available $7,500 federal tax credit is applied (a regular Sahara starts at $40,755 with a gas V-6 engine). The off-road ready Rubicon 4xe is priced from $53,190, but the same $7,500 tax credit is applicable there, too. Like the Sahara, the Rubicon 4xe costs much more than its gas sibling, which starts at $43,710.
That means pre-incentives, the Wrangler 4xe Rubicon carries the highest base price of any Wrangler you can buy, the High Altitude trim included. Of course, fiddling around with the various engine options on the Rubicon and High Altitude surely can make them pricier than the 4xe Rubicon, but still.
While we expect the Rubicon 4xe’s bragging right, such as it is, to be one-upped once the eight-cylinder Wrangler 392 arrives on the scene next year, it’s still a very pretty penny indeed. That said, you do get a lot of kit in exchange for your hard-earned cash. The electrified 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 makes 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. Jeep says that it will take car of the 0-60 sprint in 6 seconds flat. That, according to our test numbers, would make it the quickest factory Wrangler ever, and by a margin of well over a second, too. Again, that’s before we factor in the V-8-powered Wrangler 392 . . .
Other standard niceties include 20-inch wheels, leather seats, led lighting, an 8.4-inch infotainment display, a nine-speaker Alpine audio system, Selec-Trac full-time 4WD system, and Dana 44 HD wide axles on the Sahara model. The Rubicon gets all the aforementioned goodies, but the Selec-Trac 4WD system is swapped for a more heavy-duty, 4:1 Rock-Trac full-time 4WD system. You also get blue stickers and blue tow hooks on the outside just so everyone knows you’re driving something electrified.
According to Jeep, Wrangler 4xe models will hit dealerships by March of 2021.