Wrangler PHEV Marries Tech with Tradition

CHATHAM, Mass. – Go anywhere. Do anything® has been the Jeep brand’s slogan for decades and on this night in the pitch-dark Pocono Mountains of Eastern Pennsylvania the capabilities of the 2024 Wrangler Altitude 4xe provided confidence in my ability to find my way “home” regardless of road conditions.

We had ventured away from our “home” hotel for dinner in daylight on a day which saw 70 mile-per-hour winds sweep through the region. Luckily, the redesigned Wrangler’s Uconnect 5 navigation system was able to keep rerouting us as seemingly every new road traveled ended with downed trees blocking our path.

I was never worried because I knew if the roads became more challenging than pavement or we had to go a bit cross country, the Wrangler 4xe’s off-road capabilities would carry us through.

Eventually, the SUV’s navigation system returned us to our hotel, none the worse for the experience which was accomplished in the comfort of the Altitude’s standard leather seating (thankfully, the air temperature did not require the use of the seat heaters).

Plug-in hybrid powertrain

The 4xe at the end of this Wrangler’s name indicates the inclusion of Jeep’s plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain (which can also be found in the 2024 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe models).

A 2.0-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder internal-combustion engine (ICE) is the heart of the powertrain. The 16-valve, direct-injection powerplant produces 270 horsepower and 295 pounds-feet of torque.

Joining the ICE in motivating the Wrangler Altitude 4xe are two motors: an eTorque belt start generator/motor capable of 44 peak hp and 39 lbs.-ft. of starting torque, and integrated transmission traction motor capable of 134 peak hp and 181 lbs.-ft. of peak torque.

The overall powertrain can produce up to a combined peak 375 hp and 470 peak lbs.-ft. of torque, amongst the most powerful in Jeep Wrangler history.

And with this power comes unprecedented fuel economy. The motors, powered by a 17.3 kWh Lithium-ion battery, can provide more than 20 miles of pure, near-silent electric mobility.

Daily operation resulted in 23.3 miles per gallon when combining electric operation with gasoline power. Thanks to the garage-mounted Autel MaxiCharger AC Wallbox Home Level-2 charger, I began every day with a full charge, thus making many short journeys under electric power.

No off-road compromises with PHEV

The Wrangler Altitude 4xe shares its basic off-road-capable-designed chassis with others in the Wrangler family. The components include a solid axle, link coil, leading arms, track bar, coil springs, stabilizer bar up front and a solid axle, link coil, trailing arms, track bar, coil springs, stabilizer bar in the rear.

These pieces, combined with the 275/55R20, on/off-road, black sidewall tires (mounted on 20-inch aluminum wheels), provide 10.1 inches of ground clearance and a 42.2° approach angle, 22 breakover angle, and 35.2° departure angle.

Rounding out the suspension is the Hydro-electric anti-lock (ABS) braking system with fully blended regeneration capacity. Vented rotors front (12.9×1.1 inches) and rear (14x.86 inches) are grabbed by twin-piston floating calipers up front and floating single-piston ones in the rear.

The powertrain’s eight-speed automatic transmission flows the power through the standard full-time Selec-Trac multi-speed transfer case (two-wheel drive high; 4WD auto; 4WD high; neutral; 4WD low).

Technology brings ADAS to Wrangler

The Jeep Wrangler Altitude 4xe might look a lot like the very simple four-wheel-drive machine which played a pivotal role during World War II, but inside, outside and underneath it is very much a 2024 machine.

The Altitude’s long list of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) is one indication of the SUV’s modernity. The features include forward-collision warning with automatic-emergency braking (AEB); blind-spot monitoring; rear park assist; rear backup camera with dynamic guidelines; electronic roll mitigation; electronic stability control; Selec-Speed Control, cross-path detection.

Major modernization inside with a unique guide to off-road trails

The basic Wrangler heritage is some 10 decades old, evolving from a 1930s concept for a 4WD general-purpose military vehicle to today’s very capable and comfortable four-door (two-door versions remain part of the family) SUVs. I owned a 2013 two-door Sahara model which I enjoyed; to say the 2024 Wrangler Altitude 4xe is improved and modernized when compared to that version, is a major understatement.

The most startling changes in the 2024 Wrangler come on the interior beginning with the redesigned dashboard. The 12.3-inch color LCD touchscreen is the most radical new feature bringing (standard for the Altitude) the Uconnect 5 multi-media system with navigation.

The system includes wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a nine-speaker (including subwoofer) premium sound system.

Unique to the new Wrangler are built-in off-road adventure trail guides integrated with the navigation system through the introduction of Trails Offroad. Trails Offroad offers detailed trail guides for the 62 Jeep Badge of Honor trails, which include the Rubicon Trail in California, Hell’s Revenge in Utah and Jericho Mountain in New Hampshire.

Owners can upgrade to a premium subscription that unlocks Trails Offroad’s catalog of 3,000-plus trail guides which spans a wide variety of difficulty levels and terrains with information like: 

  • Trails Offroad experts rate all trails based on real-world evaluation
  • Consistent difficulty rating based on 14 inputs
  • Route description
  • Key waypoints for turns, obstacles and points of interest

Owners will also be able to navigate directly to the trailhead of their chosen off-road adventure and to keep track of their progress by following integrated trail route maps.

A complete package

The new 2024 Jeep Wrangler Altitude 4xe brings the iconic vehicle squarely into the 21st Century without compromising its off-road capabilities. It is more comfortable and occupant friendly than any previous Wrangler and more fuel efficient, without sacrificing power, than predecessor versions.

There are six flavors of the 2024 Jeep Wrangler 4xe, from the $50,695 Sport S to the $70,990 Rubicon. The Altitude 4xe I drove came with a $66,995 base price and as tested $70,580 price. Not an insignificant amount, but the new 2024 Jeep Wrangler 4xe exhibits innovation and capability making it a solid buy for a unique experience.

Next week TBR Drives the 2024 Nissan Sentra SR subcompact sedan.

Mike Geylin
Mike Geylin

Mike Geylin is the Editor-in-Chief at Hagman Media. Geylin has been in automotive communications for five decades working in all aspects of the industry from OEM to supplier to motorsports as well as reporting for both newspapers and magazines on the industry.