Drive Notes: 2023 Jeep Wrangler 4xe

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

I spent the past few days behind the wheel of a 2023 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe.

Notes? Oh, I have notes.


The 4xe pairs a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 270 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque with a starter/generator motor and a transmission traction motor for a total system power output of 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. The automatic transmission has eight speeds.

Some quick thoughts:

  • The 4xe may have neat tech, but you still make all the usual tradeoffs you do with Wranglers, especially a Rubicon. That means a lot of noise -- especially with the power soft-top and the 33-inch off-road tires.
  • Occasionally the transition when the gas engine kicks on is a bit trashy and jarring.
  • Adventures in charging continue. I had no problem getting juice from one outlet in my building -- 94 percent in about 12 hours -- but for some reason, another outlet in my building caused an error message to pop up on the dash. The message just said the system detected an error, or something like that, so I couldn't tell what was wrong. At least storing the charger is easy, as is plugging in/unplugging. And hey, since it has a gas engine, a failure to charge isn't an emergency.
  • I had no time to go off-road, but I'd love to have spent a day wheelin' with that torque available -- and in silence, if I had the chance to charge the battery beforehand. Which I might've -- the park I've used the most often appears to have a Jeep-branded charging setup at its entrance.
  • The torque is helpful around town, unsurprisingly.
  • UConnect remains great.
  • The tires struggled a bit with slightly wet streets -- I slid, just a tiny bit at low speeds, when approaching a stop during wet weather. Nothing scary or uncontrollable. It's just that these tires are meant for mud, sand, or rocks -- not rain-slicked streets. The easy fix was slowing down a tad and braking earlier and more gently.
  • I always feel like I am more engaged with driving when behind the wheel of a Wrangler, especially one with off-road rubber, because one has to pay more attention to the steering to keep it on track. It needs more constant adjusting, even during highway cruising, than almost any vehicle on the road. Even Ford's Bronco, the closest competitor, requires less effort to keep it on the straight and narrow.
  • Rear-seat room is tight, but I could fit back there. I just wouldn't want to hang out there for a long trip.
  • The e-save mode is nice but I hardly used it.
  • Even with the hybrid, fuel economy (at least in urban driving) isn't great. I was seeing just under 20 mpg. The window sticker suggests that in gas-only mode, one should get 20 mpg combined. Combined city/highway MPGe is 49.
  • For the record, the one trip I did on full charge, at 94 percent, got me 22 miles. I started out in urban driving, then in stop and go freeway traffic, and finally the battery ran out of juice and switched over to the gas engine right after traffic opened up.

Final thoughts: A PHEV Wrangler has some advantages over the ICE versions, but fuel economy still won't be great unless you can charge reliably overnight, and you still make all the usual Wrangler tradeoffs, especially in Rubicon guise. Oh, and the price is eye-popping at $69,385. The soft-top is a big part of that, it and some associated features cost over $4K. The base price, if you're wondering, is a still dear $58,595. Oof.

[Image © 2022 Tim Healey/TTAC]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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3 of 19 comments
  • El scotto El scotto on Dec 14, 2022

    Lemme see, 1940s technology stuffed with a big V-8. Yeah, that's state-of-the-art engineering!


    Meanwhile, over in Holland. Sir, what do we about North America? Stuff a V-8 in everything! Everything Sir? I said everything!

    Sir, what about quality control? Haven't most of them been given other opportunities?


    Up in heaven, Walter P Chrysler is drinking whiskey with the Dodge Brothers. All three are very sad.

  • Gimmeamanual Gimmeamanual on Dec 21, 2022

    Do the brakes do anything for regen? What pressure were the tires at? Some dealers have been known to prep them at 42psi, which is waaaaaay too high. I have a 2dr on the same KO2s at 34psi and have had no issues brake skidding in rain unless the run up to the stop line is super bumpy. Back end twitch in a corner? Of course. Also haven't seen any complaints on the forums including from people with the MTs included on the Willys models. Steering, yes, it's...engaging, but again tire pressure and road variation can contribute big time.


  • Philip I love seeing these stories regarding concepts that I have vague memories of from collector magazines, books, etc (usually by the esteemed Richard Langworth who I credit for most of my car history knowledge!!!). On a tangent here, I remember reading Lee Iacocca's autobiography in the late 1980s, and being impressed, though on a second reading, my older and self realized why Henry Ford II must have found him irritating. He took credit for and boasted about everything successful being his alone, and sidestepped anything that was unsuccessful. Although a very interesting about some of the history of the US car industry from the 1950s through the 1980s, one needs to remind oneself of the subjective recounting in this book. Iacocca mentioned Henry II's motto "Never complain; never explain" which is basically the M.O. of the Royal Family, so few heard his side of the story. I first began to question Iacocca's rationale when he calls himself "The Father of the Mustang". He even said how so many people have taken credit for the Mustang that he would hate to be seen in public with the mother. To me, much of the Mustang's success needs to be credited to the DESIGNER Joe Oros. If the car did not have that iconic appearance, it wouldn't have become an icon. Of course accounting (making it affordable), marketing (identifying and understanding the car's market) and engineering (building a car from a Falcon base to meet the cost and marketing goals) were also instrumental, as well as Iacocca's leadership....but truth be told, I don't give him much credit at all. If he did it all, it would have looked as dowdy as a 1980s K-car. He simply did not grasp car style and design like a Bill Mitchell or John Delorean at GM. Hell, in the same book he claims credit for the Brougham era four-door Thunderbird with landau bars (ugh) and putting a "Rolls-Royce grille" on the Continental Mark III. Interesting ideas, but made the cars look chintzy, old-fashioned and pretentious. Dean Martin found them cool as "Matt Helm" in the late 1960s, but he was already well into middle age by then. It's hard not to laugh at these cartoon vehicles.
  • Dwford The real crime is not bringing this EV to the US (along with the Jeep Avenger EV)
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X Another Hyunkia'sis? 🙈
  • SCE to AUX "Hyundai told us that perhaps he or she is a performance enthusiast who is EV hesitant."I'm not so sure. If you're 'EV hesitant', you're not going to jump into a $66k performance car for your first EV experience, especially with its compromised range. Unless this car is purchased as a weekend toy, which perhaps Hyundai is describing.Quite the opposite, I think this car is for a 2nd-time EV buyer (like me*) who understands what they're getting into. Even the Model 3 Performance is a less overt track star.*But since I have no interest in owning a performance car, this one wouldn't be for me. A heavily-discounted standard Ioniq 5 (or 6) would be fine.Tim - When you say the car is longer and wider, is that achieved with cladding changes, or metal (like the Raptor)?
  • JMII I doubt Hyundai would spend the development costs without having some idea of a target buyer.As an occasional track rat myself I can't imagine such a buyer exists. Nearly $70k nets you a really good track toy especially on the used market. This seems like a bunch of gimmicks applied to a decent hot hatch EV that isn't going to impression anyone given its badge. Normally I'd cheer such a thing but it seems silly. Its almost like they made this just for fun. That is awesome and I appreciate it but given the small niche I gotta think the development time, money and effort should have been focused elsewhere. Something more mainstream? Or is this Hyundai's attempt at some kind of halo sports car?Also seems Hyundai never reviles sales targets so its hard to judge successful products in their line up. I wonder how brutal depreciation will be on these things. In two years at $40k this would a total hoot.So no active dampers on this model?
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