2023 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 4xe Review

A new twist on a legend

Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief

Positives: Efficiency where you don't expect it, still just as rugged as the gas version, iconic styling.
Negatives: Rough gas-electric transition, requires constant charging for daily use, pricey.
Bottom Line: The Wrangler Rubicon 4xe offers a fresh approach to an off-road beast. It's not as practical as we would've liked, but it continues the Wrangler's rugged reputation with a dose of efficiency.
Believe it or not, the Wrangler 4xe is the best-selling plug-in hybrid sold in America today. That's saying a lot, given the fact that it's kind of a dedicated off-roader, especially when it's in rugged Rubicon trim. Nothing really competes with it, unless you consider the sibling Grand Cherokee 4xe. Released in 2021, the Wrangler 4xe ("four by e") combines serious off-road toughness with actual efficiency. It supposedly can run 21 miles in all-electric mode on a full charge, which means it can be driven on a short commute without gas and then charge at night. We drove it for a full week, and you can read our full impressions below.

Driving Experience



The Wrangler Rubicon 4xe is as good as the gas Rubicon off-road, and that's saying something. You can even put it into an E-Save mode that defers to just the gas engine for off-roading so you can maximize efficiency on pavement. In terms of on-road manners, the Wrangler Rubicon 4xe is just ok, which isn't a surprise. It's too bad the transition between electric and full hybrid mode is unrefined and rough. The gas engine kicks in awkwardly and there are weird pauses before acceleration happens.

Ride Quality: The ride is firm, just like you expect a Wrangler to be. The longer Unlimited wheelbase helps, but it's still a Wrangler.

Acceleration: 0-60 mph comes in just under 7 seconds, which is pretty good for a heavy PHEV SUV. It's too bad the powertrain is rough almost all the time, except for purely gas mode when the battery has run out.

Braking: The regen brakes lack feel, but at least they're progressive and devoid of mushy spots.

Steering: There's some weight to the steering, but it's still on the vague side.

Handling: Although driving the Wrangler 4xe into turns is never thrilling, the lower center of gravity in the PHEV makes it feel more stable in the turns.




As much as we appreciated the JL's updated infotainment system a few years ago, it has grown dated over the past couple of years, largely due to the small-ish screen size. Uconnect works pretty well, but the Jeep could use an updated system..

Infotainment System: Uconnnect's 8.4-inch screen is fine, but it feels small compared to some of the competition. It responds well to inputs, but the look is getting dated.

Controls: All HVAC controls are well-laid out buttons and knobs, and the on-screen controls for infotainment are lined up at the base of the screen.




The Wrangler Rubicon 4xe ups the look with blue highlights inside and out, and the added flashes are nice additions that change up the classic Wrangler look.

Front: The front end remains true to the model with its 7-slat grille and round headlights that cut into the outboard slats ever so slightly. The addition of blue tow hooks and blue hood decals look great.

Rear: Again, blue tow hooks show up that pop with contrast against the white and black on our tester. The hourglass LED taillights look good, as does the little blue Jeep easter egg on the full-sized spare.

Profile: The long wheelbase offsets the huge fenders and chunky wheels of the Wrangler Rubicon 4xe. We like the blue badging and the blue outline on the Rubicon hood graphics.

Cabin: The utilitarian Wrangler interior gets dressed up with blue stitching on the seats and dash, as well as the bright blue Rubicon lettering on the seatbacks. Everything is still very much vertical and blocky, but it get smoothed out on the JL.




The Wrangler will never be accused of being luxurious, but it does have fairly good accommodations for five. It's by no means roomy, and ingress and egress are still challenged by the removable door setup and the overall configuration of the cabin.

Front Seats: The front seats could use more cushioning and bolstering. We like the seating position, which makes you feel like you're sitting in the seats rather than on them and makes for good off-road navigation at slow speeds.

Rear Seats: The additional two inches of rear legroom thanks to the longer wheelbase is a welcomed change.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): Though there's still some noise at highway speeds, the wind that made the front end loud and rattly is mitigated by the functional front fender vents that help air circulation by reducing turbulence.

Visibility: The pillars are thick in the back, and the rearward view is also compromised by the rear-mounted spare tire.

Climate: The climate system works well, and the heated seats are excellent.




Suffice it to say that the Wrangler has never really been a very safe SUV. It doesn't perform well in crash tests, receiving poor and marginal scores in key categories. There's also a dearth of safety tech (automatic emergency braking, 360-degree camera) that competitors like the Ford Bronco have as standard equipment.

IIHS Rating: The Wrangler did not score well for 2022 with "poor" in the Moderate Front Overlap crash test, and "moderate" in the Small overlap front: driver-side and side crash tests. It also didn't do well in the headlight category.

NHTSA Rating: Not tested.

Standard Tech: Backup Camera, Automatic Headlamps, Tire Pressure Monitoring Display.

Optional Tech: None.




Though there's not a ton of overall space in the Jeep Wrangler 4xe, but there are some smart storage options in the cabin that render the interior quite useful. Cargo space gets dinged by the battery, so it's a tad smaller in the back than gas Wrangler Unlimited owners are used to.

Storage Space: Door pockets and storage options are good, but the rubberized bin at the top of the dash wins for best storage feature. It's moderately deep and very long, so it can keep small items in place without them sliding around when you take a turn.

Cargo Room: There's 27.7 cubic feet behind the second row and 67.4 cubic feet with the second row folded flat. It's smaller than the gas Wrangler but not by a ton.

Fuel Economy



The fuel economy scores are a mixed bag. We give the Wrangler 4xe props for being really the only seriously rugged PHEV off-roader on the planet, followed by the less rugged but still capable Grand Cherokee 4xe. The issue comes when the Wrangler 4xe has to be charged pretty much every night because it's actually tough to drive in just electric mode because you have to set it that way each time you start up the SUV. When the battery dies, you get a paltry 20 mpg with the gas engine, which is worse than the gas-only Wrangler. The added weight is likely the culprit.

Observed: 17.3 mpg (gas); 20.5 MPGe.

Distance Driven: 132 miles.




Our tester came with the Premium Audio group as standard equipment. It sounds good with the subwoofer's added bass, and the clarity was pretty impressive in a fairly noisy cabin.

Final Thoughts

It's hard not to like the Wrangler Rubicon 4xe because it really is quite unique in the SUV set. It can manage pretty much whatever you can throw at it off-road, and it's also a decent family vehicle. It's just too bad that Jeep didn't flesh out the powertrain better because it's off-putting in daily driving conditions. The efficiency is so-so, but the added convenience of electric-only driving is appealing if you have a home charger you can rely on every night when you come home.

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