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Renegade 4xe and Compass 4xe Bring PHEV Power to Jeep

Autoweek logo Autoweek 7/21/2020 Jay Ramey
a car parked in front of a house: Jeep has launched the Renegade 4xe and Compass 4xe plug-in hybrids in Europe, ahead of the introduction of the Wrangler 4xe. © Jeep Jeep has launched the Renegade 4xe and Compass 4xe plug-in hybrids in Europe, ahead of the introduction of the Wrangler 4xe.

The reveal of not one but two new Ford Bronco models last week may have prompted an effort by Jeep to try to upstage the newcomers with a V8-engined Wrangler concept, but a far more concrete premiere actually occurred days later: Jeep launched plug-in hybrid versions of the Renegade and Compass SUVs in Europe.

Dubbed Renegade 4xe and Compass 4xe, the two models mark the kickoff of Jeep's electrification effort, which was first announced some time ago and will eventually include the Wrangler. The Compass and the Renegade, however, are the first out the door and will go on sale in Europe in just a matter of weeks, pairing 1.3-liter gasoline engines with electric motors positioned in the rear axles, skipping a mechanical connection between the two axles entirely.

That's right: These 4x4s don't have a propshaft linking the two axles and will rely on an 11.4-kWh battery and two electric motors. One electric motor will be up front, generating electricity when needed, and the other will power the rear axle. The gasoline engines alone paired with six-speed automatic transmissions will power the front wheels, generating 130 or 180 hp depending on trim, while the electric motors in the back will be responsible for the rear axles.

Combined, these plug-in hybrids will serve up 190 hp and 200 lb-ft of torque in Limited trim, for both Renegade and Compass, or 240 hp and 200 lb-ft in the S and Trailhawk trims.

a car parked in a parking lot: The Compass 4xe and Renegade 4xe will go on sale in Europe first. © Jeep The Compass 4xe and Renegade 4xe will go on sale in Europe first.

"Although production of the Jeep Renegade 4xe is in Melfi (Italy), the first full-cycle Jeep factory outside North America, the development process culminated at the Arjeplog Proving Grounds in Swedish Lapland," Jeep points out. "Up to 3,800 km of road tests were clocked up to put the Jeep Renegade plug-in hybrid through its paces in all conditions that customers might need to tackle. An array of activities were carried out to ensure quality, safety, reliability and comfort in all conditions."

The appeal for city dwellers will be a pure electric range of 31 miles in the WLTP cycle, which will let the Jeeps rely on the battery and the electric motor in the rear axle to do all the driving. The Jeeps will offer three driving modes, as it concerns their powertrains: hybrid, E-Save and electric. The first one will let the gas engine and the motor team up, while E-Save lets drivers order the vehicle to conserve battery juice or to use the engine to charge it up. Electric mode, as you've guessed by now, will let the Jeeps run on the battery alone, keeping the engine off.

The two Jeeps will still be off-roadable—they haven't lost their trail chops in the process of being turned into PHEVs—and the torque from the electric motors will probably surprise those who intend to take them off-roading, especially in Trailhawk trim.

But if there is one place you won't be able to take them in the coming weeks, when the Compass and the Renegade 4xes go on sale, it's the U.S. These two models will go on sale in Europe and the Middle East first, and will likely land in the U.S. months later. But whether it'll be later this year or early next year is still up in the air. Jeep has also promised the Wrangler PHEV, badged Wrangler 4xe for North America, due at a later date.


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