Jekyll & Hyde Jeeps Aim to Steal a Certain Ford's Limelight
What’s an automaker to do when a well-off rival decides to throw its hat in the ring? Fight back with whatever’s at hand, then brainstorm new weaponry.
That’s what Jeep did Monday, revealing a concept Wrangler powered by a 6.4-liter V8 and hinting — nudge, nudge — that the potent off-roader might one day reach production. And as a certain vehicle that rhymes with Ronco premiered last night, Jeep pulled out its backup: an upcoming vehicle that’s the polar opposite of the Rubicon 392.
Using every tool at its disposal to draw eyes back to the dedicated off-road brand, Jeep released a short video titled Do Not Disturb — a spot that depicts a Wrangler traversing very Bronco-worthy terrain (and even passing herds of wild horses!) under electric power.
The vehicle in question is the Wrangler 4xe, which is Jeep’s preferred moniker for its upcoming electrified vehicle. The plug-in hybrid variant of the Wrangler isn’t an unknown quantity; it’s been talked up since Jeep introduced the current-generation JL for 2018. Now, it seems the electrified off-roader is drawing near.
Lest anyone miss the subtle swipe taken Ford in the video, Jeep issued a Twitter post that makes it a little more obvious. While Ford is expected to add a hybrid variant of the Bronco at some point, Jeep’s green Wrangler is closer to market. The Bronco itself doesn’t reach consumers until spring, 2021. The PHEV Wrangler will be in dealers by then.
“The vehicle will arrive in our showrooms in the [United States] by the end of this year and in Europe and China early next year,” Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Manley said during a recent shareholder’s meeting, per Motor Trend. Expected to pair a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylidner with an electric motor and battery capable of powering the vehicle for 30 or so miles, the Wrangler 4xe will be FCA’s biggest electrified product introduction since the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid (there haven’t been many of these, as the EPA and Tesla will be happy to tell you).
While one can roll their eyes at the Rubicon 392, the Wrangler 4xe is a bigger blow for Ford, a company that wears its eco-consciousness on its sleeve. Jeep might have the older vehicle, but for a while, anyway, it can at least best its rival in terms of technology.[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]
EBFlex on Jul 14, 2020
What will be nice is when Jeep drops the 5.7L in the Wrangler and Gladiator (nice to have a proper V8) and the tow rating will skyrocket. With the Ford Blazer only being able to tow 3500 pounds, Jeep has a wonderful opportunity to, yet again, one up Ford (which really is unnecessary as the Ford Blazer is clearly lagging behind the Wrangler as is).
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