Never underestimate the power of bored car enthusiasts. What might seem like an innocuous picture may actually preview a new model, as may be the case with Jeep and its Facebook page.
Jeep updated its Facebook page last week with a cover image showing a roofless Jeep product with what appears to be a hybrid powertrain displayed on its infotainment screen. While that might seem like a big ol' nothingburger on its own, the Jeep Gladiator Forum believes that this is, in fact, a teaser for an upcoming plug-in hybrid Gladiator 4xe, following in the footsteps of the Wrangler 4xe.
CarBuzz pointed out several items that forum users found interesting. Take the roll bar for example; according to one comment, its 90-degree positioning means this might be a Gladiator or a two-door Wrangler, but the presence of four window switches appears to cast doubt on a two-door plug-in. A Jeep spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment, but it's worth noting that automakers traditionally decline to comment on future products until an official teaser or preview is in place.
The Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid combines a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 with a starter/generator motor and an electric drive motor to produce a net 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. The 4xe is capable of operating entirely on electricity, with an EPA-estimated 21 miles of range coming from its 17-kWh battery. That battery is tucked beneath the rear seats, permitting 30 inches of fording depth, and its tried-and-true four-wheel-drive system means there's still oodles of capability waiting to be used.
There's a chance the Gladiator 4xe could debut at the upcoming Chicago Auto Show in July, or perhaps Jeep may carve its own path with an unveiling independent of any auto show. Since the vehicle hasn't even been confirmed yet, there's no potential pricing information to be found, but for context, acan be had for a hair under $50,000 including destination. The Gladiator is more expensive than the Wrangler, so it stands to assume that the plug-in's base price will be higher, too.