Jeep® Wrangler Magneto 2.0 Concept

Jeep 4xe Plugin Hybrid Wins Adventure Vehicle Of The Year Award

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As much fun as I have with my front-drive Bolt EUV crossover on forest roads and other off-pavement places, there are definitely some hard limits to what today’s crop of EVs can do. We’ve seen Tesla’s weird silver truck-like thing struggle in off-road parks because that’s not what it was primarily designed for. Rivians and F-150 Lightnings do a little better, but there are places they’d get beat up and broken trying to get to. This isn’t a big deal, really, because the average person just wants to do very basic off-roading, and people trying to go on the tougher trails wouldn’t even consider a stock pickup.

The reason we’re not seeing serious off-road EVs coming from the factory right now isn’t that it’s not possible. EVs can be built with plenty of torque and smart computing to control the flow of power to not result in too much slipping. They can be built taller, with larger wheels and tires, more ground clearance, and built with tougher suspension parts. They can be built with more articulation, more underbody protection, and even more body protection.

But, doing all of this comes at the expense of range, and when EPA-rated range is a selling point that sets an EV apart from the competition, manufacturers go through a lot of trouble to get a better number. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise right now that a BEV (a full EV with no gas engine) isn’t taking the top spot when it comes to adventure vehicles. But, the next best thing did!

Jeep’s Wrangler 4xe (a PHEV) does come with some serious capability. Solid axles, rugged suspension components, a real 4WD system complete with transfer case, real ground clearance and articulation–all of this and more adds up to a true adventure vehicle that can go almost anywhere. That’s why Hispanic Motor Press named it Adventure Vehicle of the Year.

“As the 2024 Hispanic Motor Press Adventure Vehicle of the Year, the new 2024 Jeep Wrangler 4xe overwhelmingly meets the needs of the adventurous Hispanic community,” said Ricardo Rodriguez-Long, president and founder of the Hispanic Motor Press. “A majority of Hispanic Motor Press judges agreed that this SUV sets the adventure standard, able to get you to any destination, whether that’s the beach in Santa Monica or alpine lakes in the Sierras. The 2024 Wrangler 4xe’s new 12.3-inch screen and standard side curtain air bags, as well as its signature removable doors and top and efficient 49 MPGe, make it an easy choice as the best adventure vehicle.”

But, the vehicle only delivers around 20-25 miles of electric range in its present form. In my testing, it’s possible to exceed 30 with careful driving, and that’s good enough for many daily commutes. If you can stop at home after work before running more errands (or have L2 charging at work), you could get 40-60 miles by charging again. But, for long adventures, you’re back on gas power.

For people who hate PHEVs and only accept BEVs as good enough, there’s still some good news. When battery prices fall, expect to start seeing some more serious off-road vehicles that can win this prize with hundreds of miles of range. The 4xe at least shows us that it’s possible, even if the industry isn’t offering that just yet.

Featured image provided by Jeep.

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Jennifer Sensiba

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to get off the beaten path in her "Bolt EAV" and any other EVs she can get behind the wheel or handlebars of with her wife and kids. You can find her on Twitter here, Facebook here, and YouTube here.

Jennifer Sensiba has 1951 posts and counting. See all posts by Jennifer Sensiba