Every year, the team at WardsAuto announces their list of the “10 Best Engines and Propulsion Systems” for that year. Over the 28-year history of the award, 10 powertrains produced by the Chrysler Group have made this an amazing 21 times. Those engines/propulsion systems have proven to be some of the most technologically advanced in the automotive industry and this year the WardsAuto made no exception with the announcement of the new Jeep® Wrangler Unlimited 4xe plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain making the 2021 list.
What makes the Wrangler Unlimited 4xe is so special is its electrified powertrain. It starts with the popular 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four-cylinder that features an engine-mounted generator unit. A new ZF-sourced 8P75PH 8-speed automatic transmission incorporates a transmission-mounted motor-generator unit integrated to the bottom of the transmission itself. A 400-volt, 17-kWh, 96-cell lithium-ion, nickel manganese cobalt battery pack allows the Wrangler Unlimited 4xe to store enough power for up to 25 miles of pure electric operation for daily commutes.
The Wrangler Unlimited 4xe’s powertrain delivers a combined 375 horsepower (280 kW), 470 lb.-ft. (637 N•m) of torque while delivering a certified 49 MPGe. On normal gasoline, the Wrangler Unlimited 4xe has an EPA rating of 20 MPG combined.
The Wrangler Unlimited 4xe hybrid system includes an Integrated Dual Charging Module (ICDM), which combines a battery charger and a DC/DC converter in a single unit that is more compact than two separate components, and a next-generation Power Inverter Module (PIM) that is reduced in size. These components are housed and protected from damage in a steel structure mounted below the battery pack.
All high-voltage electronics, including the wiring between the battery pack and the electric motors, are sealed and waterproof and allows the vehicle to be capable of up to 30 inches (76 cm) of water fording.
The electric charge port features a push-open/push-close cover located on the left front cowl of the Wrangler Unlimited 4xe for convenient nose-in parking at charging locations. The charge port includes LED indicators of charging status. An LED battery level monitor is mounted on top of the instrument panel, making it easy to check the battery state during charge.
“This is advanced, environmentally friendly technology that seamlessly fits into anyone’s daily life,” said Micky Bly, Stellantis Head of Propulsion Systems. “Then you take the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4xe off-road and it hits you that electrified propulsion and nearly silent running are unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. You won’t want to come off the trails.”
“Delivering a powertrain that manages torque from three sources and loses nothing from the Jeep Wrangler’s legendary capability is a challenge. We are energized by the response from our customers as well as the recognition from the Wards editors. We’re not finished, there is more to come,” Bly said.
That last comment might be a subtle hint at the upcoming Jeep Gladiator 4xe.
“The all-new 400-volt plug-in hybrid system makes the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4xe a whole lot more efficient and it compromises nothing on the trail, in its rugged, off-road element,” said Tom Murphy, WardsAuto Managing Editor. “And on the highway, you need to really pay attention to notice when the four-cylinder turbo shuts down and you’re sailing along in battery-electric mode. The Jeep Wrangler has always been about crossing difficult terrain to enjoy the great outdoors. With the Wrangler Unlimited 4xe, Jeep loyalists can feel good about helping preserve the great outdoors as well.”
The list of Chrysler Group powertrains to make WardsAuto “10 Best Engines and Propulsion Systems” include the following…
- 1999 – 4.7-liter SOHC PowerTech/Magnum V8 – Jeep Grand Cherokee
- 2003 – 5.7-liter HEMI® V8 – Ram 1500
- 2004 – 5.9-liter Cummins Turbodiesel I6 – Ram 2500/3500 Heavy Duty
- 2004 – 5.7-liter HEMI® V8 – Ram 1500
- 2005 – 5.7-liter HEMI® V8 – Chrysler 300C
- 2006 – 5.7-liter HEMI® V8 – Dodge Charger R/T
- 2007 – 5.7-liter HEMI® V8 – Chrysler 300C
- 2009 – 5.7-liter HEMI® V8 – Dodge Challenger R/T/Ram 1500
- 2011 – 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 – Dodge Avenger R/T
- 2012 – 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 – Chrysler 300S
- 2013 – 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 – Ram 1500
- 2014 – 83-kW Electric Motor – Fiat 500e
- 2014 – 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 – Ram 1500
- 2015 – 6.2-liter Supercharged HEMI HELLCAT V8 – Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat
- 2015 – 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 – Ram 1500
- 2016 – 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 – Ram 1500
- 2017 – 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 PHEV – Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
- 2018 – 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 PHEV – Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
- 2019 – 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 with eTorque – Ram 1500
- 2020 – 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 with eTorque – Ram 1500
- 2021 – 2.0-liter Turbocharged I4 PHEV – Wrangler 4xe
What do you think of the Wrangler Unlimited 4xe’s powertrain making the cut? Let us know in the comments below or in the MoparInsiders.com forums.