Live Axles to Remain in Next Jeep Wrangler

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Live Axles to Remain in Next Jeep Wrangler

Fiat/Chrysler engineers are hard at work on the next-generation Jeep Wrangler, the alpha off-roader from this rough-and-tumble brand.

Rumors are swirling that it could feature a lightweight aluminum body, among other enhancements. It’s unclear how die-hard enthusiasts would react to this change but one thing they’re sure to love is the new model’s chassis. It’s reported the SUV will retain its solid axles, an archaic feature but one that’s beneficial out on the trail.

SEE ALSO: Jeep Mulls Aluminum and Turbos for Next-Gen Wrangler

The upcoming Jeep Wrangler will likely go on sale in 2017, sporting an improved ride, better fuel economy and probably a more comfortable interior. Solid axles allow the body to be lifted with relative ease, something that can improve the vehicle’s ground clearance and thus make it even more of an off-road beast.

In addition to these changes the new Wrangler will likely feature a lineup of smaller, turbocharged engines, a range that should improve both performance and fuel economy. Today’s version of this SUV features a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 that puts out 285 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque.

GALLERY: 2014 Jeep Wrangler Sport S

2014-Jeep-Wrangler-Sport-Front-Three-Quarter2.jpg2014-Jeep-Wrangler-Sport-Front.jpg2014-Jeep-Wrangler-Sport-Rear-Close-Up.jpg2014-Jeep-Wrangler-Sport-Rear-Close.jpg2014-Jeep-Wrangler-Sport-Straight-On.jpg2014-Jeep-Wrangler-Sport-Rear-From-Afar.jpg2014-Jeep-Wrangler-Sport-Interior.jpg

[Source: Automotive News]

Discuss this story on our Jeep Forum.

  • craigcole

    This is great news for hard-core off-road enthusiasts. Could you imagine if the next Wrangler was car-based and front-wheel drive? People would be rioting in the streets and gangs of angry fans would storm Auburn Hills with Molotov cocktails and sharpened pitchforks.

  • come on, chrysler, do the right thing! diesel!

  • Problem with diesel is that it adds about $6,000 in costs because the California (now US) diesel emissions standards are stricter than anywhere else in the world, and, given the small number of diesels sold in America, putting those stricter emissions only on US vehicles is ridiculously expensive. Fiat-Chrysler likes diesels, but is putting them only in their expensive “premium” vehicles for now because that’s the only way they can absorb those extra costs.

  • The Stig

    I realize it’s unfortunately popular, but really wish this 4 door minivan garbage would go away already.

  • Leigh Rich

    LOL FIAT

  • Rockydee

    I like to take 1 year at a time will 2016 get the PUG upgrade?-Rockydee

  • dragon5126

    strength, ability to climb rocks, safe lifts,,, Live axles are the only way to do it

  • dragon5126

    small number of diesels sold in America? no you mean the low numbers of SMALL DIESELS sold in America. Large Diesels sell 2 to 1 in large trucks and your 6 grand price difference isn’t due to emissions, its due to a completely different class vehicle that utilizes the large high torque output engines… They are putting the engines in commercial not premium vehicles because that is where the demand is and people are buying them for personal use because of lower fuel consumption per mile, higher resale values and longer life spans. Even here in the snow belt, where diesel isn’t as popular as elsewhere they sell at a 1 to 1 ratio to other trucks. The fact is the smaller diesel market hasn’t proven itself in the truck market yet. thanks to GM screwing up during the late seventies by trying to convert gasoline engines to diesel and doing a bad job of it, and claiming it was a good fuel saving move. The problem was the chevy small block they were basing it off (the GM corporate 8 cylinder) WAS NEVER DESIGNED FOR DIESEL, and failed fast. Just like the bail out vehicles GM brought out. It left a bad taste in America’s mouth and it needs to be shown a better engine. That is the long and short of it.

  • Fiat-Chrysler is shipping 20% of their RAM 1500 light trucks with their small EcoDiesel engines next year, up from 10% this year. The numbers I quote are straight from the Fiat-Chrysler CEO’s mouth — he states it costs $6,000 more for the emissions equipment for that RAM 1500 light truck as compared to a gasoline engine’s emissions equipment. Fiat-Chrysler is absorbing some of the cost otherwise they couldn’t sell those trucks and they need the MPG boost to meet federal fuel economy requirements, but they can only do that because the profit margins on their RAM trucks are so obscene to begin with. They run slimmer profit margins on the Jeep Wrangler — the top of the line Wrangler is around $40,000, which is where the bottom of the line RAM 4×4 starts, and it costs about the same to make both vehicles.

    As for the situation with heavy trucks, that’s completely irrelevant to the subject. I was talking about light truck diesels — specifically, Fiat’s EcoDiesel, which is already used in the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 (both high-profit-margin products), and the problem with how much its emissions gear costs.

  • dragon5126

    I don’t see anywhere that you state what trucks you are talking about. you made an overall statement with zero qualifiers. As for The CEO’s mouth, you go right ahead and parrot him, but don’t forget, he was put in place by the Oval office, the home of the nation’s biggest liar. Now you are babbling in circles you have claimed that the emissions issues add excess cost, and then you claim the engines are in use in the high profit margin vehicles. that’s circular logic and contradicts what you claim. So pardon me and other people who have seen the real world and the invoices we purchased these vehicles off of because our wallets show you don’t know what you are talking about

  • KewlDawg

    Just how many per week are you going to commit to purchasing from Chrysler?

    The reality is that there are very few potential customers out there for diesels.

  • carl

    And my 2015 Rubicon would have even more amazing resale.

  • That Guy

    at some point FIAT will make this a full blown mall crawler, useless on the trail.. you can see it in the works…

  • Uhm, the CEO of Fiat (and now CEO of Fiat-Chrysler) was CEO of Fiat long before the current President of the United States was elected. I’m not sure what your problem is, I’m simply repeating what he said the emissions gear *actually* costs compared to the gas engine emissions gear (as versus what he puts on the invoices) when he was asked why he doesn’t put diesel engines into lower-margin vehicles in the US like he does in Europe. He stated that it was because he didn’t have to put that $6,000 worth of gear on it in Europe. Good luck with your court-ordered anger management classes, BTW!

  • Clifford Rudd

    Badtux is right. As the GM of a Jeep dealership, I would know.

  • Beedogz

    I hope they keep the transmissions and transfer case that allows it to be towed 4 wheels down behind a motor home. MANY RVers use the Jeep as the tow behind for it’s versatility in our travels.

  • NDean

    What do you have against minivans? Especially ones with 4 doors? They would be widely impractical if they had less doors? How would people get in them? What would set them apart from other vehicles if their ease of entry and cargo abilities weren’t utilized fully with 4 doors?

    oh wait, you’re commenting about 4 door wranglers… which you most likely don’t own… which doesn’t impact you or any other jeep owner at all…. so you’re a troll… an elitist Jeep snob… because Jeeps definitely aren’t about fun or anything… definitely about elitism and being better than others…. totally what the symbolic brand of America stands for… be ashamed man… and don’t use the username of something awesome in the automotive world to push yer jerk-ness

  • Jerry Normandin

    I got one for fiat….fix the stinkin galvanic corrosion with the door hinges! My 2013 hinges have bubbles in the paint on the edges now. Apparently the engineers at Chrysler flunked high school chemistry. Do you know what you get when you connect aluminum to galvanized steel and apply water with some sodium chloride ? You get a battery, a galvanic reaction occurs. If they didn’t flunk out of chemistry they would have known to make door hinges out of forged steel or stainless steel. I am still waiting for Chrysler’s reply.
    I don’t use my wrangler as a mall crawler. I take it on moderate trails, plus roads are full of potholes in New England, a wrangler is built to take it. I’m afraid to take the doors off this summer, the paint is probably going to peel off. The method they used to paint the hinges lead up the this. If they used the proper aluminum primer the reaction would not of occurred.

    It’s too bad. It’s the only vehicle of it’s kind that is also street legal

  • I don’t know what planet you live on, but the market for diesel engines is massive. Not only that, but chrysler offers a diesel V6 in the Grand Cherokee and the Dodge Ram. The next generation Nissan Titan will come with a cummins V8 and the new Chevy Colorado will have a diesel. Even regular old passenger cars are coming with diesels more and more these days, not including VW, which has been selling diesel engines for forever. You can get a diesel in just about every BMW and Mercedes Benz.

    That’s also not including how HD trucks people buy specifically for the diesel, which, frustratingly have not been available in 1/2 ton trucks until now.

    That’s not including the off-road world. Nearly every one who does any serious off roading would take a diesel. There are many outfits that specialize in diesel conversions for newer wranglers. I won’t even talk about how many shops swap diesels into older rigs, everyone and your uncle is doing that. I’m flabbergasted that you wuold think that. diesels are getting more and more popular every day.

  • the profits margins on jeep wranglers are slim? i thought it was the opposite. I heard that the wrangler plant can’t keep up with production.

  • Michael Haworth

    As the owner of a Diesel Wrangler Unlimited in Australia (I am a Yank living in Australia currently) I can testify to the greatness of the diesel. Much better torque and about 20% better fuel economy. In Australia, Diesels often command about a $3000 price increase but usually return more than that at resale so really no downside when you consider the whole ownership model (buying, using and selling). You do have to get used to a 2 second turbo lag from stop lights but one the turbo kicks in it moves nicely. Especially good in slow off-road situations and towing my camper trailer. It doesn’t move like a v8 on the highway but is about the same as the gas engine there. I find it very difficult to believe that there is $6000 worth of emissions there. I can replace both the catalytic and particulate filter for under $2000 myself. The bigger issue is more of scale. Once more and more diesels come out all the other cost equalise.

  • The lowest-priced Wranglers sell for barely $23,000. And yes, that’s not much profit margin for a 4×4 vehicle with as much steel in it as a Wrangler (which weighs around 4100 pounds), especially considering the deals that Chrysler made with its suppliers back in the Cerberus days to set up the Supplier Park that provides the parts for the Wrangler (something Fiat intends to undo for the next generation Wrangler). You’re right that demand for Wranglers is very high, and the Wrangler’s not a low-margin vehicle by any means, but Cerberus (who owned Chrysler while the current Wrangler was being designed) did not view the Wrangler as a high-content vehicle so Fiat-Chrysler wouldn’t be able to charge Grand Cherokee/Ram 1500 prices for it even if they wished to do so — people wouldn’t buy a Wrangler for Range Rover / G-class prices.

  • Australia has the same diesel emissions standards as Europe and can take advantage of the European economies of scale. Unfortunately the U.S. decided to go their own way on emissions standards. I do agree that the cost will come down significantly once economies of scale kick in, much as the cost of airbags came down from the 3-4K they originally cost to under $400 today (talking cost to auto manufacturers, not cost of you buying replacement airbags from your dealer). Until then, though, you’ll see diesels mostly in high-value vehicles unless you’re Volkswagen and design your diesel emissions systems for the North American market in the first place then amortize that cost across the entire planet to get those economies of scale. Fiat loves light vehicle diesels and ships them worldwide in Wranglers and other lower-margin vehicles, every time Fiat’s CEO is asked about hybrids he states that he wants to put diesels into Chrysler’s cars first because diesels rock, but Fiat’s diesels were designed before they’d even a glimmer that they were going to re-enter the U.S. market, so it may be a while before they can put as many diesels into U.S. vehicles as they wish.

  • Karl Kimball

    Wow! You sure went off on a tangent on a guy that just stated he wished 4 door long assed Jeeps would go away already. You must be a fantastic guy in person also Dean, I can only imagine what your family has to put up with! And I really can’t wait to see your explosive asinine reply, so I guess that would make me a “troll” also! But I guess being a troll is a hell of a lot better then being an over reacting first class idiot like you have shown yourself to be.

  • Karl Kimball

    I think the OP meant that the entire diesel engine upgrade from the gasoline engine would add a cost of around $6k due to the ridiculously stringent EPA laws that diesel engines have been saddled with here in the States. I don’t think he meant that just the emissions alone would set you back $6k more.

    The fact is a diesel Wrangler is not offered here in the States because of the reasons the OP stated, although I have seen one that was brought in from Canada, so they do offered them there where they do not have to put up with our stupid emissions requirements. I have wanted a diesel for a hell of a long time, but I am now not interested because of the Urea fluid that has to be added every three tank fill-ups, and when you add up all the other emissions that need servicing it’s just not worth the added cost and headaches.

  • Charlie

    There are a couple companies that have been able to swap a VW TDI into a Wrangler successfully. I have a JK and have had a couple YJs in the past. I also owned a VW Jetta TDI and I would love to have that engine in my JK or a YJ. The conversion costs about $14K (including all parts and labor) as I recall. That engine doesn’t need DEF and has plenty of torque for use in a trail rig. The mileage boost in the Wrangler might actually be worthwhile in a JK.

  • Charlie

    The market globally for diesels far exceed the market for gas powered vehicles. The problem here in the states is that our refineries are set up to produce 2/3 gasoline and 1/3 diesel. That is why diesel is more expensive here. In EU the numbers are reversed. That is one reason why diesel is much more prevalent across the pond.

  • Mike

    Diesel costs 4500 more on the grand cherokee. This is close to the surcharge MB and BMW get for thier diesels now world wide on thier larger cars. The reason is the engin costs a lot more to build and yes the emmisions controls are not cheap but they are not cheap for gas cars either. A good part of the cost is the engine itself , bearings tighetr machine tolerances not only to deal with the peak transitional pressures inherent in diesel ignition but the more expnsive vibration controls, the much more expensive high pressure fuel system and ultra high pressure timed injection system , . While us demand is not high it is not low either. Witness the demand of diesels for pick up trucks. They also cost a lot on the oredr of 6 K and do not have the emmision controls of smaller diesels.
    Now do not just blame Ca the whole US hold diesels to the SAME standards as IC ebgines. The isue is the CI engine puts out a lot more NOx which is very hard to clean out of exhaust. The main cause of this is the vry hig compression ratios. The EU only NOW recognize this componenet of smaog. In the past they only cared about unbruned HC and CO.

  • Michael Haworth

    Outside the U.S. the wranglers use a 2.8 liter diesel that is lower tech than the 3 liter found in the Grand to keep costs down. I don’t know how it compares with emissions requirements in the states but here there are no urea additives needed for Jeep vehicles. Just the DPF and catalytic. Having to deal with urea would be less enjoyable.

  • That 2.8L diesel is sourced from Fiat’s recently-acquired VM Motori division just like the 3.0, but only complies with Euro 5 emissions standards and has no hope of ever complying with the Euro 5+ or U.S. emissions standards that the 3.0 complies with. Urea injection is required on every diesel currently sold in the United States to meet the NO emissions requirements (the NH3 ammonia in urea is catalyzed with NO to produce N2 and H2O), where the excess NO is caused by the lean burn required in order to meet CO and soot emissions standards. The dirtier diesel fuel in America (15ppm sulphur vs 10ppm Euro spec) doesn’t help either. Even VW had to give up on attempting to deal with emissions without the urea, and has gone to the urea injection on their latest TDI diesels sold in the USA.

  • Michael Haworth

    I guess everyone can just start peeing in their tanks then.

  • Alas no. The concentration of urea in urine is too low, and the computer will light up a check engine light because the sensors will detect emissions too high post-cat. And yes, there’s people who tried substituting other fluids for the expensive DEF and found out for themselves that this is what happens. There’s always that person in any crowd.

  • NDean

    ha, I win

  • dragon5126

    So you as a salesperson are privy to the inner dealings of Chrysler… GMs are a dime a dozen… get a grip cliffy claven

  • dragon5126

    ummm you need to check that again

  • Sergio Marchionne became Fiat CEO in 2004.

  • Jerry Normandin

    lightweight aluminum body will not be a good idea. They can’t even handle painting the aluminum door hinges on the 2013 Wrangler properly. I’ve got paint bubbles all along the edges of all my hinges. My vehicle goes off road.

    Sure Chrysler is going to fix it but still.. it’s a problem. If they used marine primer.. same used on aluminum boat hulls, this would not have happened.

    The engineers at Chrysler must have flunked high school chemistry.

    aluminum hinge on galvanized steel door = galvanic reaction. congratulation they made a battery and the electrons are being drawn from the aluminum hinge resulting in the aluminum breaking down and corroding.

  • Karl Kimball

    You “won” the prize for being the biggest dick? OR the person who’s going to have a heart attack first? What exactly do you think you “won” Dean?

  • NDean

    I didn’t edit anything? I can’t tell if you are trolling or just a crazy person? Either way, good day to you “Crusader of saving people in comment threads” This world is a better place because of people like you… oh and it’s “having” not “being”

  • Karl Kimball

    No it’s “being”, as anyone that needs to get his jollies off of putting others down others online for what amounts to their own opinion suffers from pencil dick. And it’s amazing how you the only troll here thinks everyone else is a troll, you f’n hypocrite you.