Jeep makes the Wrangler 4xe more affordable and a little bit cooler, all at the same time.
Jeep is adding its retro design package to the most high-tech Wrangler. Reminding buyers of the more than 80 years of the company’s history with a plug-in hybrid model that can ford 30 inches of water while delivering 21 miles of all-electric range.
Willys is the name of the company that designed and produced the original military rides during World War II. Willys-Overland built the Willys MB starting in 1941, launching the Jeep brand history. The company was folded into Kaiser Motors in 1953 and the Willys name was dropped in 1963.
Willys Name Is the Origin of Jeep
But modern-day Jeep hasn’t forgotten about its roots. The Willys name was brought back to the Jeep Wrangler in 2014. Since that year’s Willys Wheeler Edition, the package has been Jeep-speak for a model that gets more off-road kit without pushing you into more luxury features with it. Not quite up to the level of the Rubicon, the Willys is more of a middle ground between capability and drivability.
Not-Quite Rubicon-Level Capability
What does it come with on the 4xe? Start with the transfer case. A 2.72:1-ratio Select-Trac full-time four-wheel drive system that offers a good crawl ratio for the rocks but isn’t as extreme (or as beefy) as the Rubicon’s 4.00:1 unit.
The Willys 4xe gets a Trac-Lok limited-slip rear differential as standard, helping the Jeep give its electric motor enough traction when driving in sand, snow, and ice. Hill-ascent and hill-descent control modes work like off-road cruise control to help you maintain speed on slow climbs without you having to use the throttle, so you can focus on your line and your steering instead.
Jeep gives the Wrangler Willys a mild suspension lift right from the factory. The extra height gives the Willys 10.1 inches of ground clearance to get over rocks and ruts. Off-road-tuned shocks help control the body while you’re pounding down a trail.
Skid plates are also part of the Willys package. The Jeep’s underbody gets extra protection both front and rear. Lastly, at least on the mechanical side, the Willys 4xe gets 17-inch wheels with a black finish and mud-terrain tires.
Willys 4xe Cosmetic Upgrades
Jeep adds some cosmetic upgrades to the Willys package as well. It will wear a special Willys hood decal along with some other badging to show off. For the 4xe, the graphics package is upgraded with the signature electric blue Jeep uses on 4xe models. It will get the 4xe’s blue tow hooks and plenty of other bright blue bits.
The 4xe platform is Jeep’s plug-in hybrid Wrangler. It combines a 2.0L turbo-four engine with an electric motor for a combined 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. The driveline gives the Jeep massive amounts of torque for off-roading, and lets drivers head well off the beaten path in near silence thanks to its 21-mile electric range.
Adding the Willys package to 4xe gives the PHEV model a lower entry point. It’s priced from $53,995, around $2,000 less than a 4xe in Sahara trim. Buyers can add a Sun and Screen package with a one-touch power top and an 8.4-inch touchscreen with navigation. LED lights, an Alpine stereo, and all-weather mats are all standard.
Jeep says that orders for the 2023 Willys 4xe are open now. Deliveries are expected to start in the fourth quarter of 2022.