Jeep has a relatively strong hybrid SUV lineup: it offers the mild-hybrid Wagoneer as well as a “4xe” plug-in hybrid drivetrain in both the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee. Here are strong competitors for each of Jeep’s hybrids.
The Toyota Sequoia gets better MPG than the Wagoneer
When Stellantis decided to build a full-size, truck-based SUV, it resurrected the Jeep Grand Wagoneer nameplate. The latest Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are technically a sub-brand under the Jeep brand but carry no Jeep badges.
Even though the Wagoneer is built on a Ram 1500 chassis, it enjoys upgrades such as independent rear suspension and a larger, 6.4-liter V8. This V8 also gets Ram’s eTorque mild hybrid system.
This mild hybrid system combines the gasoline engine’s starter and alternator into a single motor/generator unit connected to the V8 by a serpentine belt. This motor, and its 48-volt battery, are capable of some regenerative braking and can launch the vehicle without the V8 to smooth out its engine start/stop function. In the Ram 1500, eTorque adds up to three mpg in the city. But the 2WD Wagoneer still only gets 16 city/22 highway mpg (18 combined).
The all-new Toyota Sequoia is a full hybrid. This means it has a larger electric motor/generator than the Wagoneer, sandwiched between the gasoline engine and automatic transmission. It also has a larger battery. As a result, the Sequoia is capable of more aggressive regenerative braking than the Wagoneer and can accelerate up to 18 mph on electric power alone.
The 2WD Sequoia earned a government fuel economy rating of 21 city/24 highway mpg (22 combined).
The Ford Explorer hybrid costs less than the Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe
Jeep’s plug-in hybrid Grand Cherokee 4xe has it all: this SUV is capable off-road, offers luxurious features and interiors, and is a plug-in hybrid with over 20 miles of all-electric range. But all of that comes at a price. The base trim 4xe starts at $62,095. If you want the highest trim Grand Cherokee, it will set you back $78k. It is a truly premium Jeep.
If these prices seem high, take a look at the Ford Explorer hybrid SUV. This SUV leverages the technology Ford built for its all-electric F-150 Lightning and its hybrid F-150 Powerboost to offer 27 city/29 highway mpg and a third row of seating. It is similar in size to the Grand Cherokee and Ford even takes a swing at Jeep with its off-road-ready Timberline trim.
Best of all, the Ford Explorer Limited starts at $47,070 and ordering it with the hybrid option brings that to $52,060. MotorTrend estimates that the full cost of owning an Explorer hybrid for five years will come out to just $57,228. Unfortunately, Ford is not offering its Explorer as a plug-in hybrid in the U.S. Here, buyers looking for a plug-in hybrid must upgrade to the Lincoln Aviator, starting at $69,875.
Will the Jeep Recon replace the Wrangler 4xe?
The stiffest competition for the plug-in hybrid version of the iconic Wrangler SUV may actually come from inside of Jeep itself.
At Jeep’s 4xe day, it unveiled new fully electric vehicles, including the Wagoneer S and all-new Jeep Recon. Jeep admits the Recon’s squared-off body and features are “inspired” by the Wrangler. You can even remove the Recon’s doors to off-road in the open air (and complete silence).
When this new SUV debuts, will anyone bother with the Jeep Wrangler 4xe? Probably, because its internal combustion engine will offer a longer range in a pinch. But depending on the Recon’s range, some 4xe buyers may think twice. Read more about whether the Jeep Recon could replace the Wrangler or see how the Explorer hybrid stacks up to the competition in the video below: