By on July 14, 2020


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]
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22 Comments on “Jekyll & Hyde Jeeps Aim to Steal a Certain Ford’s Limelight...”

  • avatar

    That e-torque controllability could be nice for off-roading, but does anybody take their 50 grand rig off into the serious boondocks?

  • avatar

    Dear Jeep, coming out with ever more optioned and expensive vehicles is not going to help you sell any more of them. What will the Rubicon 392 with everything including the kitchen sink cost? $70,000?

    • 0 avatar

      I still think the 392 is vaporware teased purely to steal Ford’s thunder. If Jeep has a V8 in the works, logic dictates that it’s the 5.7 with or without eTorque. ‘High speed’ and the solid-axle ‘Wrangler’ have no right to be used in the same sentence. Unless that sentence ends with ‘tragedy’, that is.

    • 0 avatar

      My understanding is jeep is one of the most profitable brands out right now with pretty big margins. Seems like Jeep has a pretty good understanding of their market and what they can sell at what price. Also- likely 392 is about same price as diesel.

      • 0 avatar

        So Jeep knows their market? Like the way they overpriced the Gladiator, and are now piling cash on the hood to move them?

        If the 392 is so affordable, why isn’t it offered in the Ram 1500 or in lower trims of the Grand Cherokee? Seems to me that some version of it would slide in nicely above the 5.7 if it were priced the same as the EcoDiesel.

        Jeep may very well surprise me and proceed with the 392, but if it has the Fox shocks, custom suspension, beadlock wheels and other goodies as reported, I promise you it will make the EcoDiesel upgrade look downright affordable.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          The 5.7 from the trucks makes sense. The 392 really doesn’t in this application.

        • 0 avatar

          @Rocket yes, absolutely. I can’t recall all the numbers- but in 2019 despite it being a fairly tough ending for the car year, Jeep was the best selling segment in FCA. IIRC Jeep and Ram had the most margin, and in particular the Wrangler and Gladiator. Practically everything has cash on the hood now. They sold something like a 1/4 million Wranglers which is amazing when you think about it. That’s close to Accord numbers for a vehicle that is often called overpriced.

  • avatar

    I know Jeep has been working on this for a while, but I love that Bronco and Jeep can push each other. Should be fun to watch.

  • avatar

    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).

    • 0 avatar

      Tow rating will likely drop unless they truly gut all the running gear.

    • 0 avatar

      You are assuming the current engines are what is holding back Jeep’s legal tow ratings and not pesky things like the chassis, gearing, or wheelbase (particularly for the Wrangler).

      More power does not automatically mean a higher tow rating.

  • avatar

    Why confuse him with logic

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