The 2018 Jeep Wrangler Hybrid Provides Effortless Thrust, Much Improved Fuel Economy (2024)

From the October 2018 issue
Every drive in a Jeep Wrangler feels as if you’re getting away with something. How can it be legal to drive on public roads in a vehicle with removable doors and a windshield that folds flat? The closest thing to it is the feeling you got when, at age four, you drove your Power Wheels out of the cul-de-sac. Mommy is going to be so mad, and it’s going to be so worth it.

Completely redesigned for 2018, the Wrangler is even more like a Power Wheels now that it’s available with an electric motor. It’s not the sole source of propulsion—a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder does most of the work—but a 22-hp motor does double duty as a starter for the stop-start system and contributes up to 71 pound-feet of torque for up to a half-second when pulling away from a stop.

We’ve previously tested the Wrangler’s largely carryover 285-hp 3.6-liter V-6 and would go so far as to say that that Jeep is quick for a 4469-pound body-on-frame machine that appears to have been designed to help Richard Leakey hunt for Australopithecus remains. That one needed 6.8 seconds to get from zero to 60 mph. With the turbo four—closely related to the engine in the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio—the Wrangler is even quicker. Despite being slightly down on power compared with the six, it hits 60 in 6.5 seconds. It seems relevant to mention that the four is built in Termoli, Italy, and that Italians hate losing races.

The 2018 Jeep Wrangler Hybrid Provides Effortless Thrust, Much Improved Fuel Economy (1)

From behind the foldable windshield, the bigger difference between the two engines is the 2.0-liter’s off-idle responsiveness. With the electric motor filling in for the moment it takes the twin-scroll turbocharger to wake up, the hybrid system’s torque delivery makes the Wrangler seem as if it has a 5.9-liter AMC V-8 under the hood. Peak twist, 295 pound-feet, arrives at 3000 rpm. That’s 35 more pound-feet 1800 rpm earlier than the V-6 manages. Technically, Jeep charges $1000 for the turbo four, but the eight-speed automatic is a mandatory $2000 tagalong, making the four-cylinder Wrangler $3000 more expensive than a V-6 manual and $1000 more than a V-6 automatic. Budget accordingly.

As a Sahara, the Wrangler Unlimited tested here rides on 255/70R-18 all-season tires with a street-friendly tread. The new-gen model (JL in Jeep-speak) is by far the best-handling and most refined Wrangler ever built, and while the Sahara’s cushiony sidewalls help soften the ride, they also contribute to the woolliness in the Jeep’s steering. Keeping a Wrangler in its lane at highway speeds is harder than solving differential equations, and the recirculating-ball steering does the thing no directional favors.

A widely accepted and helpful notion is to think of these off-road vehicles as family pets. Doing so will put you in a forgiving mood when yours inevitably and unpredictably feints toward a ditch as though the optional LED headlights have spotted a squirrel on the side of the road and the steering requires a corrective tug on the leash. Hey, these things are made to wander.

Vague steering aside, the JL now comports itself with the manners of a merely older SUV, instead of an ancient one. Despite its solid axles front and rear, the ride is civilized, even compared with cars that didn’t start out as military transport.

The 2018 redesign also brought the Wrangler’s interior quality up to current industry standards. The look is more modern but still rugged and commensurate with this Sahara’s $42,790 base price. Our example’s $1495 leather-seat option looks and feels good and brings stitched vinyl to the instrument panel. Also available is FCA’s familiar 8.4-inch touchscreen, which is easy to read and work, and there are power and USB ports aplenty. Completing the Power Wheels effect is the Sky One-Touch Power Top, which carves a massive hole in the hardtop roof over both rows of seats and covers it with a power-retractable canvas blanket. The $3995 roof leaves a view above that will fool you into thinking you’re in a traditional convertible. It will open or close at up to 60 mph, above which speed it would presumably go all America’s Cup on you.

The 2018 Jeep Wrangler Hybrid Provides Effortless Thrust, Much Improved Fuel Economy (5)

Even the posh Unlimited Sahara model is a stick-axle, body-on-frame off-roader at heart. Don’t expect commuter-grade crossover manners.

In addition to its broad torque delivery, the turbo Wrangler also offers a meaningful fuel-economy improvement on the EPA’s score card, though it does want pricier premium fuel for maximum power. In EPA testing, a four-door Wrangler with the 2.0-liter earned 22 mpg combined versus the automatic-equipped V-6 model’s 20 mpg combined. We drove this Wrangler like a Volkswagen GTI, so we could only manage 18 mpg in daily driving. But in our steady 75-mph fuel-economy test, the 2.0-liter returned a fantastic 26 mpg, a 6-mpg improvement over the V-6.

While the four-cylinder’s improved mileage is useful, fuel economy wouldn’t be our primary motivator in opting for it. We’d spend the extra money because the turbo 2.0-liter and the electric motor make for a Jeep with effortless thrust. And that’s exactly how you imagined a Jeep would feel when you were four years old.

The 2018 Jeep Wrangler Hybrid Provides Effortless Thrust, Much Improved Fuel Economy (7)



2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara 4x4

VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, rear-/all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door convertible

PRICE AS TESTED: $54,395 (base price: $42,790)

POWERTRAIN: turbocharged and inter­cooled DOHC 16-valve 2.0-liter inline-4, 270 hp, 295 lb-ft + AC motor, 22 hp, 34 lb-ft (combined system, 270 hp, 295 lb-ft; 0.4-kWh lithium-ion battery)

TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic with manual shifting mode

Suspension (F/R): live axle/live axle
Brakes (F/R): 13.0-in vented disc/13.5-in disc
Tires: Bridgestone Dueler H/T, 255/70R-18 113T M+S

Wheelbase: 118.4 in
Length: 188.4 in
Width: 73.8 in
Height: 73.6 in
Passenger volume: 108 cu ft
Cargo volume: 32 cu ft
Curb weight: 4549 lb

Zero to 60 mph: 6.5 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 20.1 sec
Zero to 110 mph: 27.7 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 7.6 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 3.8 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 5.2 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 15.2 sec @ 90 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 112 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 194 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad:0.74 g*


Observed: 18 mpg
75-mph highway driving: 26 mpg
Highway range: 550 miles

Combined/city/highway: 22/22/24 mpg


The 2018 Jeep Wrangler Hybrid Provides Effortless Thrust, Much Improved Fuel Economy (8)

Tony Quiroga


Tony Quiroga is an 18-year-veteran Car and Driver editor, writer, and car reviewer and the 19th editor-in-chief for the magazine since its founding in 1955. He has subscribed to Car and Driver since age six. "Growing up, I read every issue of Car and Driver cover to cover, sometimes three or more times. It's the place I wanted to work since I could read," Quiroga says. He moved from Automobile Magazine to an associate editor position at Car and Driver in 2004. Over the years, he has held nearly every editorial position in print and digital, edited several special issues, and also helped produce C/D's early YouTube efforts. He is also the longest-tenured test driver for Lightning Lap, having lapped Virginia International Raceway's Grand Course more than 2000 times over 12 years.

The 2018 Jeep Wrangler Hybrid Provides Effortless Thrust, Much Improved Fuel Economy (2024)


What is the gas mileage on a 2018 Jeep Wrangler Hybrid? ›

The Jeep® Wrangler 4xe MPG in hybrid mode comes in at up to an EPA-estimated 49 MPGe1. There it is, but what makes it possible? This new hybrid model combines a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gas engine with a robust electric motor and battery setup.

What is the fuel economy of the Jeep Wrangler Hybrid? ›

The 2023 Wrangler 4xe PHEV is as quick as it is powerful, charging ahead with instant torque and effortlessly going from 0‑96 km/h in 6 seconds. In hybrid mode, enjoy 4.5 Le/100 km for city driving and 5.2 Le/100 km on the highway for a combined fuel efficiency rating of 4.8 Le/100 km or 42.2 kWh.

Does the Wrangler 4xe really get 49 MPG? ›

Class-Exclusive Plug-in Hybrid Technology 4 gives you the freedom to go long distances without range anxiety. Whether you want to take an off-road adventure or simply get around town on all-electric power, the Wrangler 4xe features a manufacturer's estimated 49 MPGe rating 5.

Is hybrid Jeep fuel efficient? ›

Now, Beavercreek drivers can hit the trails with increased fuel economy with the 2024 Jeep Wrangler 4xe mpg. The Jeep Wrangler hybrid mpg can help you get raw Jeep power without too many trips to the pump. The Wrangler hybrid fuel economy is an impressive 49 MPGe, but there's a lot more to the story than that.

How many miles per gallon does a Jeep Wrangler 4xe hybrid get? ›

Electric Motor & Gasoline Engine Combined: 49 mpg combined city/highway per gallon/kilowatt. Gasoline Engine Alone: 20 mpg combined city/highway 20 miles per gallon.

How do I maximize my Jeep Wrangler 4xe MPG? ›

The Jeep Wrangler 4xe also allows you to maximize your fuel efficiency by choosing from three different driving modes: Hybrid, Electric, and eSave Modes. These modes allow you to customize your power usage by prioritizing either the gas or the electric battery for power.

Which Wrangler is most fuel efficient? ›

The most fuel-efficient Jeep model in the current lineup is the 2022 Jeep Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid, which offers up to 49 MPGe. Meanwhile, the 2022 Renegade is the most fuel-efficient Jeep SUV that features a regular gas powertrain.

How far can Jeep 4xe drive in hybrid mode? ›

Travel through remote landscapes with nearly silent performance when in Electric mode and take advantage of the 21-mile all-electric range( Disclosure4) on Wrangler 4xe.

Does Jeep 4xe charge while driving? ›

The 2024 Jeep Wrangler 4xe near Los Angeles is a PHEV, which stands for plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. The Wrangler 4xe does recharge itself while driving, but a full recharge isn't possible if it achieves optimal fuel efficiency. Charging the battery to full does require plugging it in.

Does Jeep 4xe need premium gas? ›

Does the Jeep Wrangler 4xe require premium gas? Jeep manufacturers recommend using 87-octane regular unleaded gasoline in the Wrangler 4xe. You can also use 91- or 93-octane fuel in your Wrangler 4xe model if you prefer.

What Jeep gets 50 MPG? ›

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

Is a 2018 Jeep Wrangler good on gas? ›

The EPA's fuel economy website has MPG figures for the 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited equipped with the 3.6-liter V6. When mated to a six-speed manual, the four-door Wrangler will achieve 17 mpg city and 23 mpg highway, compared to the outgoing car's 16 mpg city and 21 mpg highway.

Why does my Jeep Wrangler use so much gas? ›

Jeep Wranglers boast peak off-road performance and superior durability. Unfortunately, their rugged design elements aren't the most aerodynamic and can negatively affect your fuel consumption. For example, many Wrangler owners notice that their hood slightly flaps up and down at high speeds.

What is the range of the Jeep Wrangler 4xe in hybrid mode? ›

The 4xe is rated at 49 MPGe with a usable battery capacity of about 15 kWh. That means it stores 15/33.7 gallon equivalents of electrical energy. If we multiply that by the 49 MPGe rating, or 49*(15/33.7), you'll get the ~21 mile range.

How far can a Jeep Wrangler hybrid go? ›

The Wrangler 4xe can run on this mode for a distance of up to 21 4 total miles on a full charge.

How big is the gas tank on a Jeep Wrangler Hybrid? ›

Fuel & MPG

344.0/344.0 mi. 22 mi. 2.4 hr. 17.2 gal.

How many gallons does a Jeep Wrangler hybrid hold? ›

The 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe has a fuel tank capacity of 17.2 gallons and produces a combined fuel economy of 20 mpg and a combined range of 345 miles.

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