There’s Only 1 Truly Hybrid 2022 SUV
It might surprise you to hear that there is only one truly hybrid 2022 SUV. Here’s the fine print: While most car buyers refer to unibody crossovers (ex: RAV4, Defender, Grand Cherokee) as SUVs, the automotive industry classifies SUVs as vehicles with a passenger body atop a full frame. The only true hybrid SUV available in 2022 is the Jeep Wrangler 4xe.
Hybrid crossover vehicles are relatively common
Once upon a time, every automobile’s suspension, drivetrain, and body were all attached to a heavy-duty “ladder” frame. But by the 1960s, most automakers found they could attach a car’s components to a reinforced body shell, known as a “unibody.” This allowed cars to be lower, lighter, nimbler, and more efficient.
Automakers continued to build full-size and midsize pickup trucks on full ladder frames. This increased their towing and hauling capacities as well as prevented them from flexing while traveling off-road. Many offered these same chassis with passenger bodies, commonly called sport utility vehicles (SUVs).
While some drivers still prefer SUVs, improvements in engineering and manufacturing have improved every aspect of unibody vehicles. This has led to large unibody vehicles known as crossovers. Many modern crossovers are capable of towing, hauling, and have room for as many passengers as SUVs. Toyota, Ford, Land Rover, Volvo, and Kia are just a few of the automakers that offer capable hybrid crossover vehicles. But none of the above are technically hybrid SUVs.
Are the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer hybrid SUVs?
Stellantis re-entered the full-size SUV market with the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer. Not only do these Jeep-built vehicles share a full frame with the Ram 1500 pickup truck, but they combine the heavy-duty Ram’s 6.4-liter HEMI V8 with the Ram 1500’s “eTorque” mild hybrid technology.
The Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are technically only “mild” hybrids because of the placement of their eTorque electric motor/generator. This technology combines their V8’s starter and alternator into a single unit, attached to the front of the engine by a serpentine belt.
The eTorque system smooths out the Wagoneer’s engine start/stop function and is capable of some regenerative braking, but not as much as a full hybrid. So while the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are SUVs, they are not technically full hybrids.
The Jeep Wrangler 4xe is the only 2022 hybrid SUV
The Jeep Wrangler is steeped in tradition. It can trace its roots back to the full-frame, solid axle Willys 4×4 that Allied troops drove during WWII. Willys introduced the Civillian Jeep (CJ) in 1945. The off-road convertible was an instant hit. Over the generations, it evolved into the modern Wrangler, but always kept its full-frame, solid axle, convertible 4×4 personality.
Jeep rolled out its first hybrid, the Wrangler 4xe, in September 2020. This new powertrain sandwiches a 44-horsepower electric motor/generator between a turbocharged gasoline-powered 2.0-liter I4 and eight-speed automatic transmission. The result makes at much torque as the 392 cubic-inch (6.4-liter) HEMI V8. That’s 470 lb-ft of torque, to be exact.
The Wrangler 4xe also features a 17 kWh lithium-ion battery and a plug-in hybrid charging port. If you plug it in for a few hours, it offers 20+ miles of electric-only range before its gasoline motor even needs to fire up.
More hybrid SUVs will join the 2022 Jeep Wrangler soon
Other manufacturers are launching their own hybrid SUVs to compete with the Jeep Wrangler 4xe. Toyota has confirmed that every 2023 Sequoia features the hybrid i-FORCE MAX powertrain. We will likely see the same engine in a future version of the Lexus LX600 SUV. If the Ford F-150 PowerBoost hybrid drivetrain proves popular enough, Ford Motor Company could conceivably offer it in its Explorer and Lincoln SUVs. Finally, Stellantis has announced that the Grand Wagoneer will get its own hybrid 4xe engine option soon.
Next, find out whether the Jeep Wrangler 4xe is a good daily driver or watch the lone hybrid 2022 SUV reviewed in the video below: