FOCUS ON: Jeep
US off-roading brand is moving towards a more eco-led future
The American Jeep brand is one known for off-roading prowess rather than environmental credentials, but the current shift to a more eco-friendly future is moving the Stellantis-owned company rapidly towards plug-in vehicles.
The first electrified Jeep arrived in the UK late last year in the form of the Renegade 4xe plug-in hybrid, and a range of PHEVs is in the pipeline. Jeep also has plans for its first full EV, as well as some innovative infrastructure development to maintain its rock-crawling credentials.
✪ STAR CAR ✪
Jeep Renegade 4XE
WHAT IS IT?
Jeep’s first plug-in hybrid model, the Renegade 4xe arrived in the UK in the second half of last year.
The 4xe gets just under the 50g/km mark on the two lower trims, which means a lower company car Benefit-in-Kind banding. The EV-only range puts the lower trims in the 13% band for this year and 14% in 2022/23, with more powerful top-spec car one band higher.
HOW QUICK IS IT?
There are two versions, both pairing a 1.3-litre petrol engine with a 60hp electric motor, for a total of 190hp in Longitude and Limited trims, and 240hp for the range-topping Trailhawk. The latter shaves 0.4 seconds off the 7.5sec 0-62mph time of the other models but emits 51g/km.
WHATS THE RANGE?
The electric-only range of the Renegade 4xe is an official 26 miles.
IS IT TAX EFFICIENT?
Higher-rate taxpayers will pay £141 per month on the entry Longitude model, rising to £170 per month on the Trailhawk. That compares with £282 on the 150hp petrol Renegade in Longitude trim.
ANYTHING ELSE I NEED TO KNOW?
The two electric motors ensure all-wheel drive capability is always available.
The 4xe plug-in hybrid system appeared first in the UK in the Renegade (see Star Car, right), although left-hand drive markets already also have the mid-sized Compass SUV 4xe on sale. That car (see below) will arrive in the UK before the end of this year, with right-hand-drive production having been delayed by a switch from India to its factory in Milan.
A third plug-in hybrid Jeep will launch next year, with a new version of Jeep’s flagship Grand Cherokee arriving. The big SUV has already been unveiled in long-wheelbase form for the American market, but the smaller ‘regular’ Grand Cherokee will come to Europe during 2022. The Grand Cherokee name is not currently part of the Jeep line-up, but its return will herald the 4xe plug-in hybrid.
A fourth PHEV is also in the pipeline, although UK timings for the Wrangler 4xe are still to be confirmed. That vehicle is already available in the United States, and will arrive in Europe in left-hand drive form this year, with UK models likely in 2022.
Jeep has hinted that it is working on a full electric Wrangler, having unveiled an all-electric concept car called Magneto (above) in March. Although the company didn’t release range figures, it did say the electric powertrain produces 285hp, and that the concept, based on a two-door Wrangler Rubicon model, is fitted with four battery packs, totalling 70kWh of capacity, to help balance the weight distribution.
The Magneto maintains the Wrangler’s 30-inch water-traversing capability, and has unique mounts to protect the battery packs during harsh off-roading.
And that extreme off-roading will still be possible with the move to electrification, in the United States at least. That’s because Jeep is installing charging stations at the trailheads of its ‘Jeep Badge of Honour’ trails, including those at Moab, Utah, the Rubicon Trail in Pollock Pines, California and Big Bear, California. There’s no word yet on the Scottish Highlands or Welsh mountains though…
The Compass 4xe will join the Renegade PHEV by the end of this year, having been announced at the same time but delayed in right-hand-drive form.
Coming with a revised Compass later this year, the 4xe will have the same 190hp and 240hp alternatives as are fitted to the smaller Renegade model.
Where it’s already been on sale in left-hand-drive markets, the 4xe has accounted for more than a quarter of Compass sales, a model that makes up 40% of Jeep’s volume in Europe.
According to Jeep, “4xe is the new Jeep 4×4: it evolves the concept of capability, adding sustainability, efficiency and even more fun.”