The 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe marries WWII handling with 50 mpg efficiency

It is not a hard-and-fast rule, but most cars would be better with the addition of some electric motors. There are always exceptions—heavy batteries and an electric motor would ruin a Caterham 7, for instance—but it holds true for most cars. Consider the Jeep Wrangler 4xe, the new plug-in hybrid variant of the nation’s favorite rock-crawler.

For non-car people, Wrangler might as well be synonymous with Jeep. The current-generation Wrangler only dates back to 2017, but it still carries plenty of styling cues that hark straight back to the original World War II Jeep. Big wheels project out from the body, protected in plastic arch extensions that house the LED daylight running lights up front.

But it’s not a particularly big SUV by the standards of 2021, at 188.4 inches (4,786 mm) long (including the rear-mounted spare tire). The doors signal to you that they’re removable by way of large external hinges. The only real clues that this is a plug-in hybrid are some electric blue bits here and there (like the tow hooks) plus the charging port that lives just below the A pillar on the driver’s side.

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