You’d be forgiven for wondering whether this is indeed the new Jeep Wrangler, so recognisable is the design. But then that’s always the thing with automotive icons - when the styling is so much of the appeal, why go changing it (or worry about releasing more than one picture, for that matter? For this 2024 car, the more substantial changes are under the skin, including the introduction across Europe of the plug-in 4Xe powertrain.
The Wrangler PHEV already existed in some markets, but for 2024 it’s being rolled out more extensively. Jeep says that only a ‘limited batch’ of purely petrol, 272hp 2.0-litre turbos will be offered for markets like Poland, Germany, Italy and Spain; the rest of Europe will get the electrified engine. The combination of the four-cylinder and 17kWh battery makes for 380hp in total, alongside 470lb ft, with drive going through an eight-speed auto. New for 2024 is the Jeep 4Xe Power Box to charge devices; charging rates for the battery pack haven’t been released, though given the modest size it won’t take too long wherever it’s plugged in. The EV range is rated at up to 31 miles on the WLTP city cycle. Drive modes are Hybrid, Electric or eSave, the latter of which prioritises the engine and saves the battery for when it might be needed later in the journey.
Jeep even suggests EV off-roading as part of that, which would normally be scoffed at, but this is a Wrangler and off-roading is its raison d’etre - with the engine running or without it. For 2024 it’s been further upgraded to deal with the rough stuff. Every model gets Dana solid front and rear axles, a two-speed transfer case and four skid plates. For Wrangler Rubicons, that rear axle becomes a full-float assembly, the kind of hardware usually seen - Jeep’s words, not ours - on ‘heavy-duty commercial trucks’. It’s a stronger and more robust axle than standard. The top-of-the-range Rubicon also features an anti-roll bar disconnect, Tru-Lok axle lockers and BFGoodrich mud terrain tyres. At its best, the 4Xe is capable of fording in 760mm of water, and comes with 253mm of ground clearance.
The Wrangler remains a body-on-frame SUV, albeit with multi-link axles for ‘unrivalled capability’ and ‘refined on-road dynamics’, however, that’s not really the focus for this latest update. Instead, it’s centred much more on interior and assistance tech to make it more appealing, presumably, to family SUV folk who might not have thought of a Wrangler before. We’ll spare you the lowdown on more than 85 available advanced safety and security features, but the interior now benefits from a redesigned dash, a new 12.3-inch touchscreen with Uconnect 5 infotainment, standard Amazon Alexa, over-the-air map updates and a suite of connected features. That probably would save you time if anyone bothered to learn about them.
This Wrangler does get a fresh look, too, though even if it doesn’t deviate too far from what’s known and loved. The seven-slot grille has been ever so slightly tweaked, the wheel designs are new and there’s a more compact antenna fitted because the last one could snag trees and whatnot on the trail. In a world of SUVs that seemingly prioritise neither style nor substance, the Wrangler’s unashamed focus is refreshing. And the option remains for a roofless Wrangler, should buyers wish.
“The new 2024 Jeep Wrangler is enhancing his role has the ‘hero model’ of Jeep line-up by combining the legendary capability with more technology, comfort, and safety features. This is a no-compromise combination enhanced by the freedom of our 4xe technology,” said Eric Laforge, Head of Jeep in Europe. The Wrangler 4Xe will launch in Europe in either Sahara or Rubicon specs, and is expected on the continent in the first half of next year, though there’s no word yet on UK pricing or availability. Given the popularity of the current model, they’d surely be daft not to bring it; buyers have proven themselves amenable to 2.0-litre turbo power, and an electric boost to that sounds ideal. We’ll keep you posted.