The 2021 Ford Bronco debuted yesterday in all its off-road and (sadly) unelectrified glory. Since the new Blue Oval offering slots into the automotive niche that's currently occupied by a single vehicle – the very popular Jeep Wrangler – the PR team at FCA was keen to herd some attention in its own direction.
On the morning of the big Ford reveal, Jeep dropped a fresh video and beauty shots of a new Wrangler Rubicon 392 concept: a variation of its much-loved machine packing a 6.4-liter 450-horsepower V8 under it bulging hood. Apparently, the gas guzzler is likely to go into production, hoping to draw buyers in with a 0-to-60 time under five seconds. Then, late in the day, the Jeep brand struck again with the Wrangler 4xe that made its debut appearance at CES this year.
Click play on the video above and you'll see a prototype in action. Instead of playing up the power angle of the plug-in hybrid (PHEV), this short video is all about the stealth abilities an electric drivetrain can provide.
Now, we appreciate that battery-powered cruising is quiet cruising but we have to say this promotional effort falls a bit flat, plot-wise. We're treated to some nice wilderness scenes and some ostensibly wild horses milling about. A vehicle, mostly obscured by trees, makes its way down a trail.
Then, it breaks cover and we get about a second of footage of the rear of the Wrangler as it crests a hill and disappears from sight. The next shot shows it moving toward the camera and we're treated to the text "The electrified Jeep Wrangler 4xe, so quiet it won't disturb naptime." A pair of horses lying down flashes on the screen, followed by the Jeep logo with a simulated electric charge running through it. Hardly gripping stuff.
Anyway, if you are curious about this upcoming plug-in hybrid, it was originally thought to launch sometime this year, but the pandemic and other factors may have altered that timeframe. There's no word yet on the specifics of the powertrain, but if the PHEV versions of Jeep's Renegade and Compass are any indication, we'll be lucky to see 25 miles of all-electric range (those more-aerodynamic vehicles are said to offer about 31 miles of AER).
It appears if electric vehicle fans want to wrangle up something with off-road chops, the Rivian R1T electric pickup and R1S SUV coming early in 2021 are the only near-term options. Of course, we'll let you know if something else decides to gallop onto the scene any time soon.