Jeep has introduced two new additions to its electrified range at this year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit: the ‘heritage-inspired’ Willy Wrangler 4xe and a special edition Grand Cherokee 4xe.
Said to boost “the ultimate combination of capability and electrification, with a vintage twist,” orders for the new Wrangler Willys 4xe begin today, with customer deliveries scheduled to start during the fourth quarter. Ironically, with a starting price of US$53,995 (not including destination fees), plus tax credits of up to US$7,500 in the US, the heritage-inspired Willys is now the ‘cheapest’ Wrangler available.
Assembled at parent company Stellantis’ Toledo Assembly Complex facility in Ohio, the Willys’ most notable cosmetic tweaks are the bespoke decals. These, along with the front and rear tow hooks, the front Jeep badge and the Trail Rated badge, are all accented in Electric Blue, a reference to the electrified powerplant hiding beneath the bodywork and a signature of the 4xe range.
On that note, the Wrangler Willys is said to boast “the most advanced powertrain ever developed for a Jeep Wrangler,” though power and torque figures remain the same as the current Wrangler 4xe. A 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder has been mated with two electric motors: a 44 hp ‘generator’ that also provides 39 lb-ft of torque, and a ‘traction motor’ integrated with the eight-speed transmission that produces an additional 134 hp and 181 lb-ft.
Combined, the Willy Wrangler 4xe features a combined output of 375 hp and 470 lb-ft, available across three different drive modes: ‘Hybrid’; ‘Electric’; and ‘eSave’ (prioritizes ICE propulsion saving battery charge for EV off-roading or urban areas). All modes remain available when the vehicle is driven in 4Lo four-wheel drive.
Said to provide “new levels of off-road performance” (take that as you will…), the Willys PHEV is also equipped with a factory suspension lift kit (providing 10.1 inches of total ground clearance, and good for up to 30 inches of water fording), heavy-duty Dana 44 axles, and 17-inch bespoke alloys clad with 255/75R 17C mud-terrain. This, plus immediate electric torque to maximize the vehicle’s off-road capability. Despite this, Jeep states the Willys Wrangler is capable of 49 MPGe (4.8 Le/100 km) and a steady if unspectacular 21 miles (just under 34 km) of all-electric range.
Alongside the Willys Wrangler, Jeep has also pulled the silks from a special edition Grand Cherokee 4xe, one that celebrates the 30th anniversary of the SUV that debuted in 1992 and has since sold “more than seven million” examples. Available as a package, the Anniversary model is available from US$4,700 and is due to hit dealerships in early 2023.
The hybrid system at the heart of the Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe 30th Anniversary edition is unspecified, though is presumably the same 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder / two electric motor combination as found in the standard 4xe, with an unchanged 375 hp and 470 lb-ft total output. With an available 25 miles (around 40 km) of electric range, fuel efficiency stands at 56 MPGe (around 4.2 Le/100 km). Cosmetic changes meanwhile have been applied with the lightest of brush strokes, and include new 20-inch black wheels, a modified front fascia, signature badging, Electric Blue tow hooks, and black ‘Capri’ leather seats on the inside.